Ideas for reducing waste

Over coming years there will be a greater emphasis on reducing waste, part of national and European strategies to produce less and to stop valuable  resources ending up in landfill. Many businesses and organisations have already seen the benefits of assessing their production processes or reviewing the materials they use on a day-to-day basis. Less waste going to landfill means lower costs as well as ensuring that materials or products have their life extended for a few more years.

A pan-European campaign running in the middle of November aims to target key activities or common actions to highlight the real impact on waste reduction. The European Week for Waste Reduction, running from 17 November to 25 November, will measure and provide feedback on the impact these activities have on reducing waste. Though primarily aimed at public organisations  there’s no reason why businesses should also get in on the act, using the week as an opportunity to kick-start your waste prevention plans.

The five common actions focus on a number of different areas that could be implemented in most organisations:

  1. Waste paper
  2. Food waste
  3. Repair or reuse
  4. Excessive packaging waste
  5. Clean-up days

If you’re stuck for ideas check out the EWWR website which includes case studies and examples of previous activities. In 2010 Gleneagles Hotel organised a ‘Supplier Take-Back initiative’ to raise awareness with the suppliers about the need to reduce the packaging on their goods. It asked suppliers to take-back the packaging received with all the goods delivered, highlighting to them how much waste was produced and asking them to think more sustainably about how goods are packaged and delivered.

Last year the Glasgow Film Theatre ran a series of events to communicate the importance of waste prevention to staff and consumers, including information on waste prevention measures, using providing tips and recipe ideas on making the most of food and a reuse swap shop.

Like all campaign weeks, the idea is not to just focus on activity for a short burst but to get people thinking, to see what can be achieved over a small  period of time and to generate some long-term goals. Let us know how you get on.

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