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Meet our members – Zero Waste Austria

Meet our members-Austria Zero Waste

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 Lorraine, can you give us a brief introduction to the focus of zero waste in Austria?

Austria Zero Waste was founded as a project by Helene Patterman in 2015. We have been a registered association since 2017.

In short: We are promoting the concept and company of zero waste, and are carrying out online and offline real-life network projects in Austria to connect and strengthen the Austrian zero waste community. Through monthly seminars and lectures, we spread the word zero waste and show how people can easily integrate waste reduction practices into their daily lives.

Currently, we cooperate with more than 40 different companies and have about 200 members. We have been organizing countless seminars and are currently working on four larger projects.

How long have you worked in this field and what caused you to fall into (zero) waste?

It all started with watching a documentary about plastic pollution and food waste. Later, I was in a mess and decided that if there is no help from the above, I would act on my own.

So I started a true zero-waste lifestyle two years ago. After literally organizing my daily life and finding solutions for routine and waste reduction, I want to become an active member of the movement. This is how I met Helene and started zero waste in Austria.

What is your current role in the organization?

Public relations (online and offline) and communications.

Tell us more about an activity/event you are doing?

One is Austria’s first zero-waste household challenge, where five households reduced waste by 50% in half a year. This is an offline challenge. We provide seminars and help and answer questions there. The project will end this summer, with a movie summarizing it all. We will transfer the challenge to an online project and then open it to everyone. This is an Austrian zero waste project representing MUTTER ERDE.

The other is a zero-waste hotel guide in cooperation with different hotels across Austria. We are developing strategies to reduce waste, water and plastics. In short: relax on the resources of the tourist area. The guide will be published in 2020.

If you want your organization to be known for one thing, what would it be?

As the number one port for Austrian municipalities, politicians, companies and individuals.

How would you describe the development of the zero waste movement in your country? What is your view of the future?

Especially as politics starts to take action, the whole topic is in the spotlight and is growing every day. In any case, a metropolis like Vienna still has a big advantage: there is a proposal to implement zero waste in daily life. If you live in a rural area, reducing waste will be much more difficult. Usually there is no store with free packaging. It is almost impossible to buy shampoo sticks or bamboo toothbrushes without driving many kilometers.

This is why my personal utopia policy is finally awakened. Of course, this is very good, and it is the only way for people to take action on their own, but this is not the solution to the problem. The solution is to reform the industry and lobbying so that zero waste becomes the norm rather than the exception. To some extent, the environment and the inhabitants of the world are now treated as money. They better let this change happen as soon as possible.

You can find more information about Zero Waste in Austria and its work here.

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