Meet our members-Belgium 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 Marc, can you give us a brief introduction to the focus of zero waste in Belgium?
Zero Waste Belgium is a non-profit association that has been raising awareness of waste issues in Belgium since 2016. Our vision is to jointly build a zero-waste society. This is why we work with different players: citizens, companies and public authorities.
The association hopes to encourage change through action, because we believe this is the best way to achieve it! This is why we prioritize communication with consumers who can immediately adjust their behavior.
How long have you worked in this field and what made you fall into (zero) waste?
I have always been interested in this topic. As early as 2009, I watched the documentary "No Impact Man or Recipes for Disaster". The idea of reducing waste slowly formed in my mind, but what really allowed me to achieve zero waste was my desire for challenge. In 2016, I tried for a whole year without generating any waste. In the end, all my waste was put into a jar. This prompted me to achieve zero waste at full speed and made me decide to cooperate with Belgium Zero Waste.
What is your current role in the organization?
After starting to serve as a volunteer for the organization, I transferred to the project manager in 2018. However, our structure is very horizontal, so we work closely together on different projects. I am also very interested in policy changes that may apply to Belgium. We stay up-to-date, but we don’t have dedicated time to focus on these projects.
Tell us more about an activity/event you are doing?
In Belgium, youth sports are very important. They have become one of our main audiences because working with young people and future consumers is very interesting (and rewarding). In 2020, 30 new groups participated in reducing waste during the summer camp. Some of these groups successfully achieved an astonishing 90% reduction in waste while truly enjoying the experience. This is a very interesting project!
If you want your organization to be known for one thing, what would it be?
In 2018 and 2019, we organized the Zero Waste Expo in Brussels, which was a huge success. In the last exhibition, 15,000 people attended conferences, booths, food, seminars, and generally learned more about the zero-waste lifestyle. The atmosphere is incredible. This is an activity that fills you with hope!
How would you describe the development of the zero waste movement in your country? What is your view of the future?
Since 2018, zero waste has been and will continue to be popular in Belgium. There are new articles, blogs and events about it every day. At this point, it feels like we have reached most of the people who are "ready to be persuaded." Now is the time for society to take action to help the remaining citizens and companies to pass DRS goals, phase out incineration, eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, etc. to transition to zero waste...
I am optimistic that we will achieve this goal because of the political will to advance this process. Although the recent COVID-19 crisis seems to have shelved some of these good intentions. Let us hope this is only temporary. Again, the best way to get there is to start on your own.
You can find more information about zero waste in Belgium and its work here.
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