Meet our member-Environmental Solutions Center
Zero Waste Europe is pleased to introduce the blog series "Meet Our Members". Through this series of monthly interviews, we hope to give you the opportunity to learn about our members and the work they do.
Hi Maria, can you give us a brief introduction to the focus of the Environmental Solutions Center?
The mission of the Environmental Solutions Center (CES) is to promote environmentally friendly lifestyles and sustainable development principles and international cooperation to protect the environment.
CES supports sustainable waste management, advocates the idea of preventing excessive waste and reuse, and advocates the concept of zero waste in production and consumption. We are committed to promoting the separate collection and recycling of waste in Belarus. Currently, we are still conducting trials on wastes that have not been collected in Belarus before, such as organic waste, pharmaceuticals and textile waste.
How long have you worked in this field and what made you fall into (zero) waste?
When I was working on an online project called greenmap.by, I started to achieve zero waste. I quickly understood that recycling does not solve the waste problem. Therefore, Anna and I tried to find the source of the problem and realized that we must first take measures to prevent the generation of waste. This is why I have been working on the theme of zero waste in Belarus for the past 4 years.
During this period, dozens of zero-waste shops or zero-waste shelves have appeared in Belarus, which shows that there is a growing need to change and adopt a zero-waste lifestyle. Chain stores are also launching activities to promote alternative packaging, such as reusable or biodegradable bags. In addition, activities to reduce the use of plastics are also very popular in various communities. Today, more than 20 schools are implementing a plastic-free school program. The idea of abandoning single-use plastics was also developed on the basis of the Sunday church schools in the church diocese. Some cafes have completely eliminated the use of plastic at the customer and corporate level. Therefore, in Belarus, due to the efforts of individual activists and small businesses (currently), infrastructure for a waste-free lifestyle is gradually being formed.
What is your current role in the organization?
Currently, I am mainly focusing on the plastic-free initiative and related legislation. Although there has been a trend of restricting the use of plastics in public gatherings and events since 2020, the amount of waste has not been reduced because many alternatives are still tableware made from non-recyclable or completely non-recyclable compostable items. Medium degradable. Therefore, there is still a lot of work to be done to go further on the road of zero waste and make reuse and refilling mainstream.
Tell us more about an activity/event you are doing?
Currently, we are carrying out a campaign to make refills in Minsk popular and easy to use. We not only work with the public, but also with representatives of small businesses, cafes and restaurants, which can be complementary points. The target groups of the campaign are also governments and local authorities, who can establish more public water replenishment points within the framework of their activities to obtain public water, such as fountains. We are currently collecting examples from other countries in the region.
If you want your organization to be known for one thing, what would it be?
Our organization has always been known for raising awareness of new topics in Belarus. For example, we are the first to talk about microplastics, the need to collect expired drugs separately, and the urgent need to prioritize zero-waste methods for waste management. We want to be regarded as professionals and innovators in the Belarusian environmental field.
How would you describe the development of the zero waste movement in your country? What is your view of the future?
In the current social and political situation in Belarus, it is difficult to talk about the development of the movement. But the work that has been done and the community of like-minded people that have been created will soon be restored to the results achieved. I think in the future we will pay more attention to zero-waste cities and develop cooperation with global networks, especially on the topic of refilling and reuse.
Everyone’s contribution is important, and only by working together can change be achieved
You can find more information about CES and its work here.
About the latest post
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