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Empowering Our Communities To Redesign
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Creating Local Jobs
& Recovering Resources

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Optimising Waste Collection for Quality Recycling

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Returning Organic Material to Our Soils

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Advocating for a Zero Waste Future

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Supporting Local Groups to Drive Change

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Closing the Loop of Materials,
Phasing Out Toxics & Emissions

Alternatiba: grass-roots alternatives to climate change

After 5,637 km of cycling, the Alternatiba Festival finally arrived in Paris on the 26th September, having left Bayonne in early June and travelled through Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium and most of France and gathered in these four months, more than 300,000 people in 187 cities and towns.

Zero Waste France's stall at Alternatiba Paris
Zero Waste France’s stall at Alternatiba Paris

Alternatiba was born two years ago in Bayonne, in the French Basque Country, hoping to present real and grass-roots alternatives to climate change. Two years later, it has become the largest ever environmental festival in France and it has raised awareness about climate change as a systemic problem, requiring systemic changes.

The weekend in Paris consisted of 14 different “neighbourhoods”, from ‘Energy’ to ‘Zero Waste’, but also ‘Banking’,and ‘Agriculture’, emphasizing that the fight against climate change is diverse in itself and requires efforts from all sectors. More than 60,000 people visited the stalls of NGOs, associations and civil society, attended talks, ate ‘un-wasted food’ at the Feed the 5000 event, and generally enjoyed the good mood and atmosphere of the people mobilized and engaged for the betterment of the planet, our present and our future.

Alternatiba Paris
The Alternatiba Festival in Paris

Zero Waste was particularly visible aspect of the Paris Alternatiba Festival thanks to the efforts of our friends at Zero Waste France who provided their expertise on how to minimize waste at the event: deposit and return cups, increasing the segregation of biowaste and compostable products, ensuring proper information, etc. At the same time, the Zero Waste neighbourhood stressed the importance in the fight against climate change of shifting from wasteful societies to zero waste societies. Zero Waste France presented their Plan B’OM, a citizens-led alternative plan to the construction of a big incinerator in Ivry (Paris region), organized workshops on how to make fabric bags and another on the importance of buying in bulk, and how to do so. Their rubbish autopsy was also a success, showing that there are still many non-recyclable products that need to be re-designed.

Les Amis de la Terre (Friends of the Earth France) presented a guide on re-use and participated in a debate on ‘planned obsolescence’ along with HAP, a new organisation created to fight the artificial limiting of a products life. Other stands offered training in composting and vermi-composting or presented warnings about the most useless big investments in waste facilities in France (mostly MBT plants and incinerators). Repair café demonstrated how to empower citizens re-use their products and other groups showcased upcycled objects.

Waste management at Alternatiba Paris
Waste management at Alternatiba Paris

The Zero Waste neighbourhood was very well complemented by the ‘Water’ neighbourhood, where Surfrider highlighted marine litter and plastics, the ‘Banking’ neighbourhood advocating for the divestment from environmentally toxic projects, such as incinerators, and by the ‘Housing’ neighbourhood that underlined the importance of green building and recyclable construction materials.

Overall, the Alternatiba Festival was successful in making the case that there are alternatives to climate change in addition to energy transition and that without them, it will not be possible to mitigate the effects of climate change.


Zero Waste France on its Way to COP21

France is preparing to host the 21st session of the Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), a.k.a. the COP21, and so does Zero Waste France.

 

The COP21 will take place in Paris from November 30th to December 11th, and the French government will be in charge to facilitate this high-level international negotiation to bring governments to agree on a plan of action to tackle climate change; not an easy job, but certainly one that can’t be postponed, given the urgency to mitigate climate change and support vulnerable  countries and communities that are already suffering the consequences of climate change on the ground.

 

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In this context, Zero Waste France is taking the chance to put waste issues in the climate change agenda and underline the important linkages between these two fronts of action. The team has published a monthly newsletter with a thematic focus on climate change and waste, a brief for MPs is on its way out, and since last week, it has started a series of training for communities and general public.

Delphine Lévi Alvarès, in charge of  Zero Waste France’s Institutional Relations said “Climate change and waste have been treated conceptually as two separate issues within environmental thinking, but in practice they are closely linked. We believe that it is essential for citizens and policymakers to understand better these linkages and the COP21 is an excellent opportunity to work in that direction ”.

Last 25th April 2015, three members of the Zero Waste France team, Delphine, Manon and Anna travelled to Lyon to provide training on Waste and Climate to a newly formed local Zero Waste group.

 

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The aim of this training was to show the impacts of waste management on the climate and how zero waste strategies can help reducing GHG emissions and build a resource-efficient society to stop climate change. In a more practical sense, the training provided communities with tools to reduce waste while fighting climate change.

The training was attended by sixteen members of Zero Waste France Lyon. First, they were given a general explanation on the impact of waste management on climate change, particularly looking at waste disposal options (waste incineration, landfill and related transport), over-consumption and food and product waste. The potential of Zero Waste strategies to reduce  GHG emissions was also underlined. After breaking up in small groups, participants worked on the climate impacts of a product (a mobile phone, a plastic bottle, amongst others) and followed up with a planning session of actions to be carried out in Lyon.

 

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Some of the participants expressed: “It’s very interesting to picture the lifecycle of everyday items” and “There is a lot to be done, it’s a huge responsibility but the COP will be a good opportunity to change things”.

The Zero Waste France team were very happy with this first experience and are planning to repeat this Waste and Climate training in May near Paris and Nantes.


New book about Zero Waste in France

On the eve of the European Week for Waste Reduction 2014, Zero Waste France unveiled its scenario for zero waste territories and described it in a book. The book, published by Rue de l’échiquier, is a toolkit for all those willing to take action at different levels: citizens, associations, companies, and of course elected officials in charge of public policies for waste prevention and management.

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THE ZERO WASTE SCENARIO: AN ANTIDOTE TO INACTION

“We thought this book as a gateway to action, allowing everyone to become aware that a change is needed, but also to see what is already going on in many places in France, Europe and beyond” says Flore Berlingen, Zero Waste France director and book coordinator. “The obstacles on the road are not few, but they are not as insurmountable as we may think.” The proof: some are already achieving extraordinary results, close to us in Italy and Spain. These achievements are widely highlighted in the Zero Waste Scenario, which also presents many French exemplary initiatives.

The excuses for inaction are many ignorance of existing solutions, the stubborn prejudice that changing behaviors is impossible, the transfer of responsibility to the public administration, the enterprises, or even the citizens, but they can no longer be accepted. Waste reduction requires a strong commitment from all stakeholders, but we should not forget that there are also many benefits: lowering pollution and greenhouse gases emissions, protecting natural resources, but also creating employment in new industries, which can contribute to revitalize the economy.

The European Week for Waste Reduction is the opportunity for Zero Waste France to strongly reaffirm this ambition, and to contribute, through the publication of this book, to reach this goal.

More info: http://lescenario.zerowastefrance.org /

Launch Party, Friday, November 21 at REcyclerie: practical information and registration

A BOOK AWAITED BY SEVERAL HUNDREDS OF FINANCERS

The book was financed through a crowdfunding campaign which reached more than 250% of its original goal with 858 financers supporting its publication. This is a proof of the curiosity and expectations of the general public on the topic of waste reduction, as well as a sign of a growing interest in the Zero Waste approach.


Succesful launch of Zero Waste France in Paris

“Zero Waste is a journey more than a destination” and more and more people are joining us in this inspiring adventure. The annual meeting of Zero Waste Europe took place in Bobigny & Paris during last weekend –February 1/2 -and it represented one more landmark of the expansion of the movement in Europe.

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More than 400 people attended the public event organised to introduce Zero Waste to the French public. This event was also instrumental to launch the Zero Waste France platform which brings together many organisations and initiatives. The event was widely covered by French and international media.

 

 

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Representatives of Zero Waste groups in 15 European countries participated in the internal meeting that took place after the event and which served to coordinate the activities that the network will be organising in the continent during 2014.

Local NGOs such as CNIID, Collectif 3R, Arivem, Environement 93 or Adenca highlighted the many problems associated to the current system of waste management in France. Namely big and polluting incinerators and landfills, the worst initiatives of mechanical biological treatment in Europe, insufficient separate collection and a long etc… This is one of the main reasons behind the creation of Zero Waste France; to unite efforts to promote a new waste & resources paradigm for a country that has been lagging behind for too long. Like in so many other places if the politicians and experts cannot not make it happen the citizens will take lead.

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The event also brought together many local initiatives from the French civil society and entrepreneurs. The Repair Café in Paris, the community composting experiences, reusable nappies, take-back schemes for packaging, etc…

The public event was closed by the screening of the film “Trashed”.

 

The presentations of the conference can be found here: http://fr.slideshare.net/ZeroWasteFrance

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Zero Waste Europe Annual meeting – Bobigny/Paris 31.01 – 1/2.02.2014

bobigny program

A big Zero Waste gathering will take place in Bobigny, France on January 31, and February 1 and 2.

On 1 February a big public event will take place in the Hotel de Ville of Bobigny . More than 300 people are expected to participate in this event in which the participants will learn what is Zero Waste about, with concrete examples from Zero Waste communities around Europe.

Public authorities, waste experts and representatives of the civil society will share best practices in a meeting which intends to serve as a platform to launch Zero Waste in France and represents a new point of departure for resources and waste management in the country.

On January 31 and Sunday 2 Zero Waste groups from all over Europe will have an internal meeting to prepare the working plan for 2014.

If you wish to participate in the Annual meeting of Zero Waste Europe please register here.

To check the agenda of the public event on February 1 click here.

 

 

Previous annual meetings:

2011 – First meeting of ZWE in Brussels
2012 – Annual meeting of ZWE in Gipuzkoa
2013 – Annual meeting of ZWE in Brussels