Is it possible to live by predominantly reusing everything already available?
Is it possible to live mainly by reusing everything that is already available?
Is it possible to reduce waste by reusing products and materials?
What will the reuse system look like and how does it work?
Many cities, businesses and communities in Europe are seeking solutions to these and many other problems in order to find ways to reduce waste pollution. This approach is also at the core of the #WeChooseReuse campaign led by Break Free From Plastic.
The #WeChooseReuse event aims to further inspire individuals, organizations, companies and cities to work towards a more sustainable future. #WeChooseReuse does this by sharing, supporting, and promoting existing and new reuse solutions that address the waste crisis directly at the source.
Take a quick look at the current situation
Although the increase in the recycling rate is a positive sign - indicating increased awareness and encouraging better consumer behavior to help solve the ongoing waste crisis - there is growing concern about the types of waste that end up in landfills or landfills . incineration.
In the past ten years, many cities have regarded incineration as a waste management option. This can be seen from the increase in the amount of waste sent for incineration, which has reached 285 kg per capita in 13 years. However, the practice of incineration greatly affects biodiversity and leads to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, making it an environmental problem.
The problems caused by incineration activities have led to the need to address waste issues from the source and put them at the forefront of the environmental agenda-especially the issues at the core of the material life cycle and the concept of reuse.
Why choose reuse
When something is reused, it means that the item will not become a source of pollution, from production to continuous use (to prevent it from appearing in landfills, incinerators, and waterways). Through the practice of reuse, we can promote the recycling and redesign of materials, and promote reusability, repairability and even conversion to alternative use systems as the mainstream choice. In short: through repeated use, we encourage the development and integration of a true circulatory system.
But... what is the possibility of reusing the concept?
Fortunately, this is not a purely theoretical exercise—reusable systems have actually been established in many countries and cities in Europe, spanning multiple lifestyles and cultures. Reusable systems have even become the core of business creation, not only showing tangible results, but also proving to be truly accessible and adaptable to the unique global environments.
European best practice business examples
There are many inspiring examples of reuse on the European continent, which demonstrate the added value of reuse systems to citizens, organizations, and businesses.
The Depo store in Vrhnika, Slovenia has developed a business model that provides plastic-free and packaging-free refills for cleaning products.
The Italian cooperative Eta Beta developed the Lavanda project to promote washable diapers through a collection and washing service system. Details of these two inspiring business cases can be found in the State of the Zero Waste City 2020 report.
When it comes to e-commerce waste, the Finnish company RePack has created a reusable packaging service for businesses and consumers with a seamless and convenient system.
As the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent lockdown measures have led to an increase in restaurant takeout and delivery activities, this means an increase in the proportion of disposable food containers. Although this is usually a bad result, it allows Recircle's Reboxes (Switzerland) and other initiatives to show that reuse is still possible in this unique environment. The deposit refund program was originally established in 2016 and has now provided services to more than 1,360 restaurants in Switzerland and Germany, providing customers with reusable take-out meal boxes. In turn, this business is the result of the Refill activity carried out by the City of Bern.
#WeChooseReuse needs you!
If you are inspired by the above examples and want to participate in expanding how European companies are committed to developing and implementing reuse habits and systems, the #WeChooseReuse campaign and its website are a good starting point.
This activity takes into account that different people can do different things at different levels to promote reuse habits and systems. For example, by encouraging municipalities, businesses, and communities to commit to reuse practices. To help share the #WeChooseReuse campaign, we provide an online toolkit with a library of resources such as promise letter templates, social media images and text, and video of ideas on how to take action. There are also many business case studies that can be used as a good source of evidence to prove that reuse practices are feasible and have occurred.
#WeChooseReuse is here to support the transition to a zero waste circular economy. The more people join, the more people who have the power to change our current system can hear us-can we count on you?
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