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From Portugal to Bulgaria: People join the fight against wasteful products

by Lucia di Paola
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Have you ever counted how many products in your life need replacing every year? It is true that some stuff will always need replacing: you break a plate or outgrow some clothes. But how many others, from packaging to the things you use, have been designed to have a short life and be thrown away?

The People’s Design Lab: a participatory approach to identifying the worst culprits

Last July, citizens from all over the world took part in the People’s Design Lab’s Redesign Europe online challenge, which aimed to identify the most wasteful products in the market. The most “hated” items were plastic bags, styrofoam containers, coffee capsules and cups, straws and many others single-use “stuff”.

The People’s Design Lab, a Zero Waste Europe project, was created with the objective to raise awareness about the increasing production of wasteful items that cannot be reused, repaired, recycled or composted. With more people becoming aware of this problem every year, the Lab allows citizens to be part of the growing movement against the waste of the planet’s limited resources for products designed for trash.

People taking action

This year’s People’s Design Lab has gained momentum, resulting in people from all around Europe taking action by going further than identifying bad product design. Workshops from Portugal to Bulgaria are taking place, empowering people to challenge the way things are being designed and identifying the available solutions to our current levels of wasteful consumption.

In Portugal, via the NGO ZERO, people are targeting wasteful practices in restaurants and supermarkets and engaging with  enterprises so that waste is reduced in their premises. In Spain, Friends of the Earth Spain held a workshop in Madrid on how to live a zero waste lifestyle during the European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR). Zero Waste Slovenia carried out three workshops in three different cities to help citizens to reduce their waste by providing tools (including details of where to shop packaging free to how to make their own products) and empowering them to make such a transformation to a zero waste lifestyle. Friends of the Earth Cyprus is involving municipalities to commit to concrete waste reduction targets. In Lithuania, the NGO Ziedine Ekonomika just held a conference at Vilnius Gediminas Technical University to discuss the ban of coffee cups in the university cafeteria. Finally, Za Zemiata in Bulgaria is working on greening kindergartens which heavily rely on disposable and single use products.

Be inspired!

Positive change is contagious and these activities are sure to draw many people in. Stay informed of and be inspired by the great work of like-minded people! We will bring you the highlights via the People’s Design Lab website, Instagram profile and other social media such as Facebook.

Stay tuned, great things are coming up!

“Positive change is contagious and these activities are sure to draw many people in”

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Lucia Di Paola

Lucia Di Paola

After a working experience with the Zero Waste Italy Research Centre, in Capannori, Lucia joined the Zero Waste Europe team in February 2017. Lucia graduated from Maastricht University and now holds Bachelor in European Studies. Thanks to her studies in Maastricht Lucia and the Green Office of Maastricht University Lucia discovered a deep interested towards sustainability and environmental policies. In September 2017, she will start a Master’s programme in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science in Lund, Sweden.
Lucia Di Paola

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