European action to reduce waste through re-use

Organisations and individuals in Scotland are being encouraged to get involved in European Week for Waste Reduction (16-24 November) by promoting ways to re-use items rather than throw them away. 

16 Oct 13

The annual week of action is delivered in Scotland by Zero Waste Scotland and aims to raise awareness about how people can reduce waste and the benefits to everyone of doing so. The focus on re-use this year highlights what people can do to prolong the life of goods and their materials and lessen the impact of a throwaway culture.

Re-using, repairing and renting items can save much more energy and valuable resources than making or buying a new product.  Zero Waste Scotland estimates that if people in Scotland re-used their t-shirts, sofas or washing machines 10% more than then do at present we could save £1.2 million, and 2,000t of CO2 each year, the equivalent to around 300 flights around the world.

In Scotland, businesses and organisations delivering re-use services and products currently divert 450,000 tonnes of previously unwanted material from landfill, generate over £20 million a year, and create over 700 jobs and over 5,000 volunteer posts or supported placements.

Free information materials are available to download to support organisations across Scotland to take part in the week and promote their activities which could include:

  • Arranging a repair workshop or craft event, where people can mend or ‘upcycle’ used items such as bicycles or furniture;
  • Hosting a swap shop or donation day for people to swap unwanted items with each other, including books,  or clothes, or anything else that could have a new home; or
  • Highlighting services available such as Scotland’s National re-use phone line – 0800 0665 820 – which helps people to donate unwanted household goods including furniture and electrical items by identifying local collecting organisations.

Iain Gulland, Director, Zero Waste Scotland said:

“European Week for Waste Reduction is a great initiative, and getting involved gives the opportunity for organisations across the continent to highlight what can be done to have a positive impact on reducing waste.
“It’s great to see re-use in the spotlight this year – in Scotland increasing re-use is a key priority, and Zero Waste Scotland is dedicated to improving the capacity, professionalism and consistency of the sector through Revolve, our national re-use quality standard.

“But we can always do more.  Making even the smallest changes in our daily lives can make a big difference to the environment and our communities, and help to move Scotland towards becoming a zero waste society.”

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

“If everyone in the world used the same amount of resources as an average European we would need three planets to sustain us. We have set ambitious targets to cut all waste in Scotland by 7% by 2017 and 15% by 2025.

“The challenge is to minimise the resources we need to deliver the quality of life we have come to expect, while reaping the economic benefits. Our Safeguarding Scotland’s Resources action plan encourages people to save money by wasting less and reusing more - helping to preserve our environment for ourselves and for future generations.

“By taking part in this European initiative, organisations across Scotland can highlight how we can all make better use of our resources.”

Anyone can get involved in the week, including local authorities, businesses, community groups, schools and individuals. 


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