Following on from the success of last year, the 20th-28th November 2010 again saw a collaborative effort from organisations across Europe, undertaking specific actions to help minimise waste production and promote waste reduction behaviours. The European Week for Waste Reduction aims to raise awareness of the issues associated with waste production, and more specifically, on the act of preventing the production of waste in the first place, focusing on developing initiatives that reduce waste and thus minimises the negative impacts associated with waste production.
During the European Week for Waste Reduction, local authorities, businesses, educational organisations and community groups are all given the opportunity to help promote sustainable waste reduction behaviors by running different awareness raising campaigns and events. Last year, over two thousand six hundred actions were implemented across fourteen different countries. This year saw a great deal of interest from Scottish organisations with over ninety groups taking part, this figure represents a threefold increase in the number of Scottish organisations that took part last year. The actions varied considerably and included local authority events with a focus on furniture reuse, essay writing competition in schools, eco-fashion shows from textile groups and events by businesses including The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS), Wiseman Dairies and the Gleneagles Hotel amongst others.
Focussing on employee engagement RBS ran regional awareness activities and have set up internal means by which staff can make pledges to reduce the quantity of waste that they are producing, looking at paper and disposable items in particular. Prizes have been used to incentivize staff participation. The success of this initiative will be measured by examining the number of employee who participate, as well as measuring the quantity of waste diverted from landfill.
Throughout European Week for Waste Reduction, Robert Wiseman focussed on reducing plastic waste. Robert Wiseman has a zero landfill target for 2015 and consequently it is important for the dairy to work with its employees to further educate people about how waste is a resource that can be utilised rather than being sent to landfill. By raising awareness amongst the staff through the use of small focus groups, Robert Wiseman will have increased employee understanding which will, in the long run lead to increased resource efficiencies.
Throughout the course of the week, The Gleneagles Hotel worked with its one thousand suppliers in order to raise awareness of the need for suppliers to reduce the packaging that comes with their goods. This was done by asking suppliers to take-back their packaging, consequently highlighting how much waste is produced and asking them to think more sustainably about how goods are packaged and delivered.
This is just a few examples of what business have done in order to reduce waste and promote resource efficiencies. These examples highlight how important it is for businesses to work with their suppliers, customers and employees in order to promote sustainable business and reduce waste production. The European Week for Waste Reduction produced many ideas of what organisations can do to raise awareness about waste and the advantages of waste reduction. You need not wait another year to take action you can visit our business website for further business case studies and to find out how reducing waste makes good business sense.