What is “waste reduction”? For the purposes of the European Week for Waste Reduction project, which aims to address the largest possible audience, the term “waste reduction” is used synonymously with the term “waste prevention”. Waste reduction involves the first two legal concepts of the new waste framework directive: “waste prevention” and “preparing for reuse”. In keeping with this hierarchy, the European Week for Waste Reduction aims to raise awareness more specifically on the act of: preventing the production of waste, i.e. everything that can and should be done to prevent throwing an item away, so as to reduce the amount of waste that is submitted for collection, and to reduce the harmfulness of the waste generated.
So, the best waste is the waste that isn't produced!
Waste reduction can be defined as the complete range of measures and actions taken up before a substance, material or product becomes waste.
These measures aim to reduce :
* the quantity of waste produced, including through the intermediary process of reuse or by lengthening the lifespan of products
* the harmful effects of waste produced and treated, both on the environment and on human health
* the content of harmful substances in materials and in products
Why is waste reduction important ?
Waste reduction is an emergency for the European Union as a whole. Household waste has doubled in weight in 40 years and has been growing steadily at a rate of 1 to 2% per year. In 2009, 512kg of municipal waste was generated on average per person in the EU Member States. (Source: Eurostat). This waste is the result of non-sustainable modes of production and consumption. Furthermore, the consumption of products (including their production, transport and distribution), represents nearly 50% of emissions contributing to climate change.
This increase in the amount of waste to be managed requires more collection and treatment infrastructures, the cost of which puts a strain on the budgets of local and regional public authorities.
In this context, prevention has become a simple and essential concept in the area of waste management: it is a fundamental technical factor in waste management at local level but also a notion that should remind us of the scarcity of natural resources.

The purpose of the European week for waste reduction is to raise awareness about waste reduction strategies and about the policies of the European Union and its Member States:
* To promote sustainable waste reduction actions across Europe
* To highlight the work accomplished by various actors, through concrete examples of waste reduction.
* To encourage changes in the behaviour of Europeans (consumption, production) in everyday life.

The week is aimed at:
* Public authorities across Europe that have competence in the field of waste prevention
* “Project Developers” interested in carrying out awareness raising actions on the subject of waste prevention during the Week, with the aim of informing the greatest possible number of citizens.
* European citizens who participate in actions set up by Project Developers during the Week and learn about the kind of waste reduction habits that they can take up in everyday life.

Waste Reduction Habits: 12 good habits for reducing waste!
* Opt for reusable bags
* Put a « No Junk Mail » sticker on your letterbox
* Avoid food waste
* Buy in bulk or in large-size packaging
* Buy eco-rechargeable or refillable products
* Drink tap water
* Limit use of the printer
* Restrict printer usage
* Start composting
* Donate old clothing
* Borrow or hire tools
* Repair goods and appliances
Find out some concretes actions to reduce waste in your everyday life. You will also find out more ideas for activities to be implemented during the European Week for Waste Reduction on this website.