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Pan-European push to cut waste starts at home

Yesterday (Monday) marked the start of the European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR), a pan-European effort to raise awareness of the importance of reducing waste. 

Iain Gulland | 24 Nov 15

As the co-ordinating body for this initiative here in Scotland we decided, what better waste reduction issue to focus on in 2015 than food waste.

Efforts to tackle the vast volume of waste food in Europe are stepping up with an expectation that the forthcoming EU package on the Circular Economy will set out details of how food waste might be tackled through legislation. Here in Scotland our very own Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Richard Lochhead, at our conference last month, has already signalled his intention to introduce a food waste reduction target for Scotland.

What really makes special ‘weeks’ like EWWR come alive though, is the local activity that spreads the important messages about wasting less food, and how we go about doing that, at grass roots level. This week my team are supporting hundreds of volunteers up and down the country to deliver over 100 events where they will be getting out into their communities organising workshops, cooking demonstrations, and waste free-lunches in all sorts of places. One committed volunteer is even having a ‘waste-free wedding’ this week!

I’d like to say a big thank you to these hugely committed and knowledgeable community advocates who are taking food waste messages out to their neighbours, friends, and contacts at a local level. Word of mouth, and peer influence, is one of the most effective ways of spreading the benefits of a seemingly huge task – which can be achieved through more of us planning what we eat, eating local, and having the skills and knowledge to use up what we have, rather than throwing it out.

Without the dedication, imagination and perseverance of these volunteers, change just won’t happen. With more and more attention being placed on the impact both at home and globally of food waste, people are wanting to take action. Having access to people who can help with practical tips and support is a huge help in turning people’s desire to act into actual action. So this is week to get involved and join the growing ranks of people who are doing all they can to reduce food waste. And if you haven’t yet signed up for an event, find out if there’s one near you here.

As well as doing all I can to help I’m also looking forward to seeing some of the volunteer activities in action!

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