The Catalan Minister for Territory and Sustainability, Josep Rull, accompanied by ACR+ president and Catalan Waste Agency director Josep Maria Tost, presented the eighth European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR) Awards Ceremony held earlier this month in Casa Llotja de Mar, Barcelona. The ceremony, which was held within the framework of the European Week for Waste Reduction, singled out three Catalan initiatives as some of the most successful models in Europe.
During the ceremony, Rull reiterated that “the government is committed to the three Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle”, and said that this was “a no-brainer that has to be conveyed to the public”. Nevertheless, he insisted that “if we are not willing to do something now, it will cost us dearly in the long term”. “We have a commitment now, a generational duty to push for a revolution in good waste management”, he added.
Award for Caprabo
The jury awarded Catalan company Caprabo a prize in the ‘Business’ category for its campaign ‘I’m Committed!’, during which the conglomerate carried out a number of information and awareness-raising activities for both the general public and members of its Club Caprabo customer loyalty scheme.
Its recycling activities for the general public include the workshops ‘Give Clothes and Shoes a Second Life’ and ‘I Heard It on the Washing Line’, which focus on extending the useful life of textile products and are organized in partnership with the Humana Foundation and the Ropa Amiga Cooperative; the workshop ‘The Art of Recycling’, which is run by Ecoembes to promote the importance of separating waste properly; and the second-hand market that seeks to give products a new life.
As part of Caprabo’s micro-donation programme to fight food waste, food that is fit for human consumption but cannot be sold is transported from Caprabo stores to food bank and Red Cross benefactors.
Two Catalan finalists
In the ‘Citizens’ category, Rubí-based Javier Ruiz Rojas was recognized for his personal initiative ‘Junk Hunter’, which seeks to improve the state of forests and the environment and raise public awareness to prevent future environmental damage. Since 2013, Rojas has organized 16 clean-up days, mobilized 1,400 people and collected 3.5 tonnes of waste. On each occasion, he also organized educational activities and games for young people to raise awareness.
In the ‘Schools’ category, green school Escola Lluçanès in Prats de Lluçanès was named a finalist for its project ‘We are a sustainable community’, which seeks to promote cooperation and compare waste-generation data between schools in the United Kingdom, Bulgaria and other countries. During European Week for Waste Reduction, the students participated in joint actions, including ‘Waste Diary’ and ‘Smart Shopping’, to promote a reduction in packaging waste among the educational community and its environment.
Support from the European Commission
The prizes were awarded based on the criteria of an independent European jury in six categories: Administrations and Public Authorities; Educational Institutions; Associations and NGOs; Companies and Industries; Citizens; and Others. The awards recognize initiatives for their originality, level of innovation, duration and adaptability to other contexts at regional or local levels, as well as the degree of involvement of their target audience.
The eighth edition of the EWWR Awards Ceremony was supported by the European Commission’s LIFE+ programme.
The European Week for Waste Reduction
The awards ceremony was held as part of the European Week for Waste Reduction, an initiative funded by the European Union through the LIFE+ programme. Forty-three regions from 32 European countries participated in this eighth edition. Through this initiative, Europe aims to lay the foundations for countries to develop actions to raise public awareness of the need to generate less waste. It does so through the ACR+ international network of cities and regions, an organization that aims to promote responsible consumption of resources and sustainable management of municipal waste through prevention at source, reuse and recycling.
Catalonia participated in the eighth European Week for Waste Reduction with 262 organizations that undertook projects and organized 1,030 initiatives. In the eighth edition of the awards, 9 Catalan initiatives received prizes and another 12 initiatives were named finalists. All of these initiatives enjoyed significant public involvement.
The Catalan Waste Agency, within the framework of two LIFE+ projects (EWWR and reWINE), held this international conference to share experiences, compare points of view and explore new methods to prevent waste, especially qualitative prevention. This conference coincided with the 15th Workshop on Waste Prevention.
Qualitative waste prevention is defined in the European Waste Framework Directive (WFD) as reducing the hazardous content of waste to reduce human and environmental exposure to hazardous materials. Reducing or restricting the use of hazardous substances is also a prerequisite for establishing a circular economy, as it enables material loops, simplifies the process of establishing industrial symbiosis in a territory, and lowers the costs associated with separate collection and waste recycling processes.
The event provided an opportunity to look back at the origins and main results of the eight EWWR projects organized to date and review a selection of European best practices on waste prevention. New awareness-raising and management strategies aimed at achieving waste prevention were explored during two practical sessions with experts and stakeholders.