Who we are
The European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR) is the biggest campaign to raise awareness about waste prevention in Europe. Driven by local and regional public authorities, we bring together all sorts of other actors — citizens, schools, businesses, NGOs, associations — who organise activities to raise awareness about waste reduction.
The Week, as we otherwise call it, is just that — a week in November; normally the penultimate or last week of the month. What makes it special are the efforts and passion invested by the thousands and thousands of volunteers who spread the word about sustainable consumption and circular economy in their communities.
What are the EWWR’s objectives?
- to raise awareness about waste reduction, product reuse and material recycling strategies, and related European Union and Member States policies,
- to highlight the work accomplished by EWWR participants,
- to mobilise and encourage European citizens to concentrate on four key action themes,
- to reinforce EWWR stakeholders’ capacities by providing them with targeted communication tools and training.
Our message: 3Rs…
The actions carried out under the EWWR address the 3Rs: Reducing waste, Reusing products, Recycling materials — in this order. These are the main Rs (though there are many others) to have in mind when reevaluating consumption habits.
It is no coincidence that the 3Rs are at the top of the waste hierarchy, because the EWWR bases its activity precisely on this hierarchy. In practice, this is how the waste hierarchy should inform personal (or organisational) decisions:
Reduce: ask yourselves whether you really need the goods you are about to buy before buying them. That also goes for the packaging in which some products come as well. Can you perhaps repurpose things or borrow from a friend or fix broken objects or share a neighbour’s tools? If the answer is yes, then you can — and should — REDUCE.
Reuse: this is the part where conscientious consumers can really make the difference. Swap single-use items for reusable ones in every area of your life! That’s the case not only for plastic, but for all other single-use items and products! Convince your employer, classmates, family, friends, or neighbours to do the same!
Recycling: is better than landfilling, but it’s not our preferred option. Why? If you need to recycle something, it means that you’re already generating waste. If you’re serious about reusing and reducing, recycling should only constitute a small part of your efforts.
…and a clean-up
Unfortunately, littering continues to affect our cities and nature. In order to counteract its adverse effects, the EWWR encourages participants to educate their peers about waste prevention; and to clean up those areas where littering is impeding the well functioning of natural and human habitats. Learn about Let’s Clean Up Europe.
The European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR) was born in 2009 as an EU-funded LIFE+ project. The initiative came from public authorities around Europe willing to join forces on waste prevention. The funding partners were:
- ACR+, the Association of Cities and Regions for sustainable Resource management;
- AICA, the International Association for Environmental Communication (Italy)
- ARC, the Catalan Waste Agency (Catalonia, Spain)
- Bruxelles Environnement/Leefmilieu Brussel (Belgium)
- NWMD, the National Waste Management Directorate for Hungary
- ADEME, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency
After four successful years, the project was further funded until 2017. For an overview of the project during this period, you can consult the EWWR Layman’s report.
Since 2017, the project has been financed and coordinated by a Steering Committee.
The EWWR Steering Committee makes all the strategic decisions about the project and finances it. For instance, they decide on where the EWWR awards ceremony takes place, the annual theme, and the communication strategy. The members of the EWWR Steering Committee in 2022 are:
- ACR+ – Association of Cities and Regions for sustainable Resource management;
- ADEME – French Environment & Energy Management Agency;
- A.I.C.A. – International Association for Environmental Communication in Italy;
- A.R.C. – Catalan Waste Agency in Catalonia, Spain;
- Balearic Islands – Ministry of the Environment and Territory;
- Bruxelles Environnement – Leefmilieu Brussel – public administration for environment and energy in the Brussels Capital Region, Belgium;
- EIT Circular Economy Community – consists of five Knowledge and Innovation Communities – or “KICs” – namely EIT RawMaterials, EIT Climate-KIC, EIT Food, EIT Manufacturing and EIT Urban Mobility;
- EMWR – The Eastern-Midlands Regional Waste Office, Ireland;
- European Commission;
- European Committee of the Regions;
- Lipor – Intermunicipal waste management of Greater Porto, Portugal;
- The Principality of Monaco, Environment Directorate;
- VKU – German Association of Local Utilities;
- WasteServ Malta – waste management company in Malta
Watch the video about the Steering Committee 2021.
The benefits of being a member of the ESC:
- Being part of a network that promotes and upholds authentic actions towards waste reduction, reuse and recycling;
- Getting more visibility across Europe (EWWR website and all EWWR communication);
- Shaping the future development of the EWWR;
- Setting the annual thematic focus of the EWWR;
- Deciding on the location of the EWWR awards ceremony;
- Collaborating on waste prevention, reuse, and recycling with leading public authorities and exchanging ideas and strategies;
- Being part of the Steering Committee of one of the biggest European initiatives on waste and the 3Rs.
Help us raising awareness about waste reduction!
Contact the EWWR Secretariat to join the EWWR Steering Committee!
The EWWR Awards
The annual EWWR Awards Ceremony is organised to reward the most outstanding actions carried out during each edition of the EWWR. Every year, coordinators, action developers, and those interested in the EWWR gather during one day to celebrate the EWWR and its participants. A jury comprising European professionals working in the environmental sector selects finalists and winners among all the many inspiring EWWR actions! The Awards Ceremony is an amazing opportunity to put the spotlight on some of the most committed EWWR action developers.
In 2023, coordinators and action developers met in Dublin on 1 June. You can read this article to get a vibe of the EWWR 2022 Awards Ceremony.
Hugh Coughlan, Regional Coordinator at Dublin City council, Luca Menesini, member of the European Committee of the Regions, and Françoise Bonnet, Secretary General at ACR+, opened the ceremony and welcomed the 70 participants present in the hall, and the nearly 50 participants who followed the ceremony online, to this great celebration of the European Week for Waste Reduction. Maria López Modesto, communications officer at MedWaves, introduced participants to the Euro-Med Weeks for Waste Reduction (EMWWR) were introduced and we presented the winners actions of this 1st edition of the EMWWR. Afterwards, we met the finalists and discovered the winners of the 2022 edition, as well as the next steps of the campaign. Finally, we presented the new thematic focus of the new edition: “Packaging”.
The EWWR Awards Ceremony
In 2023, the EWWR Awards Ceremony took place in Dublin, if you missed it, check the recording video here.
Previous EWWR Awards Ceremonies took place in Brussels (2022, 2018, 2017 and 2015), Barcelona (2016), Budapest (2014) and Rome (2013).
The EWWR Awards Ceremony was held online in 2020 and 2021.
The EWWR rewards one action organised by the following types of action developers:
- Public administration and organisation;
- Association/NGO and body/organisation of public interest;
- Educational establishment;
Additionally, a European Special Prize is awarded to the action that best contributes to the European spirit, for instance by enabling cross-country collaboration on waste reduction.
Action developers interested in submitting their action for consideration for the EWWR Awards have to indicate so upon registering their action. They are asked to fill in the designated fields related to the qualities of the action(s) they organise. After each edition of the EWWR, EWWR coordinators then pre-select a maximum of 6 great actions that took place in their area (one per category).
The pre-selection is based on the following criteria:
- Visibility and communicational aspects;
- Quality of content;
- Originality and exemplarity;
- Lasting impact & follow-up.
The EWWR jury is composed of professionals working in the environmental sector who are recognised at the European level. They are in charge of examining the shortlisted actions (those pre-selected by the EWWR coordinators) and of designating a winner in each of the 5 categories, according to the above-mentioned criteria.
Discover the jury for the EWWR Awards 2022:
- Public administrations and organisations: Luca Menesini – the European Committee of the Regions;
- Associations/NGOs: Andrea Gonzalez, European Environmental Bureau (EEB);
- Business/Industry: Julia Blees – EuRIC;
- Educational Establishments: Noelia Cantero – European Association of Regional & Local Authorities for Lifelong Learning ;
- Citizens: Franc Bogovič – European Parliament (EP);
- European Special Prize: Françoise Bonnet – ACR+
Each year, several virtual trainings are organised by the project partners. These trainings aim at:
- informing about the process and the specifics of the EWWR as well as about its’ new features,
- introducing the new features of the project (3Rs, European Clean-Up Day, Prevention Thematic Days, awards competition, etc.)
- training participants on how to organise and implement actions related to the Prevention Thematic Days
- training participants on how to organise clean-up activities in the scope of the European Clean-Up Day
Depending on the programme of the trainings, they are set up mainly to inform and train current and potential future EWWR Coordinators and Action Developers.
There are not upcoming trainings
- 8 September 2021 : Training session for Coordinators
- 2 July 2021: EWWR & Erasmus+ CEYOU in Putting youth at the core of circular economy
- 5 May 2021: How to organise a clean-up action by AICA
- 10 September 2020: Training session for EWWR Coordinators
- 8 April 2020: EWWR & UNEP Webin@r on Sustainable Lifestyles
- 15 July 2019: EWWR Webin@r – Training Session 11
- 7 September 2018: EWWR Webin@ar – Training Session 10
- 15 June 2017: EWWR webin@r – Training Session 9
- 28 June 2016: EWWR webin@r – Training Session 8
- 9 June 2016: EWWR webin@r – Training Session 7
- 16 July 2015: EWWR webin@r – Training Session 6
- 4 March 2015: EWWR webin@r – Training Session 5
- 2 October 2014: EWWR webin@ar – Training session 4
- 10 July 2014: EWWR webin@ar – Training session 3
- 1 April 2014: EWWR webin@ar – Training session 2
- 10 October 2013: EWWR webin@ar – Training session 1