The issue of waste production in Europe is a growing one. Statistics indicate that the European community generates around 2,000 million tonnes of waste each year, of which over 40 million tonnes is classified as hazardous. Over the last six years, the amount of waste generated grew by 10 % a year.
Europe is not only generating vast amounts of waste however, it is at the same time wasting rich and valuable resources – material and non-material – which encompass food, people, knowledge & skills, housing, public spaces, everyday items/commodities, and more. This is at a time when unemployment levels are unsustainably high, when people are going hungry or have been forced to live on the streets.
The issue of waste therefore, is multi-dimensional and needs to be approached as thus: while it is imperative that people “reduce, re-use & recycle” waste, it is also important to consider new, alternative ways in which (unused or less used) resources could be better utilised, thus avoiding them being waste.
- Below are some examples of the types of actions (in orange) and policies (in green) that aim to avoid waste.
- These projects provide an insight into how waste production can be reduced as well as the ways in which the many resources available can be used in order to avoid waste.
Picture by Alan Cleaver
A co-operative ("co-op") is an autonomous association of persons who voluntarily co-operate for their mutual, social, economic, and cultural benefit. Co-operatives may include non-profit community initiatives or businesses owned and managed by: the people who use its services (a consumer cooperative); by the people who work there (co-working spaces) or; by the people who live there (a housing co-operative).
Co-operatives are typically based on the co-operative values of “self-help, self-responsibility, democracy and equality, equity and solidarity” and the seven co-operative principles:
- 1. Voluntary and open membership
- 2. Democratic member control
- 3. Economic participation by members
- 4. Autonomy and independence
- 5. Education, training and information
- 6. Co-operation among co-operatives
- 7. Concern for community
Use of public spaces
Systems of exchange
Recovery of goods
All Examples of Actions and Policies
Project to promote cycling among all those visiting Berlin without the rental fees. "Two wheels good, free wheels better!"
Lutherie Urbaine is dedicated to musical creation and instruments made from recycled materials. The social, ecological and multi-cultural aspects are part of each project, from its roots to its creation.
Conversion of an abandoned factory into a space for sustainable production, co-housing and co-working.
Rejuce: redirecting food surpluses from local markets/supermarkets and transforming it into healthy socio/enviro/eco friendly soups and smoothies.
Urban fruit for urban communities – developing a skilled community of Londoners to plant, care for and harvest fruit trees, thereby connecting urban communities and increasing access to fresh fruit.
Bretz'Selle was born around a simple idea: to promote the use of bicycles by learning how to repair bicycle in self-repair workshops.