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Empowering Our Communities To Redesign

Join the 3rd of July International bag-free day!

Can you imagine a Zero Waste world in which we continue to use single-use plastic bags? It is just not possible, right? There are several reasons why we should phase out single-use plastic bags in Europe.

Europeans overwhelmingly support a ban on single-use plastic bags and the European Commission tried to push such a measure during 2012 but it was stopped by the interests of some member states and a part of the industry. Yet another reason to continue asking for such a ban at national and international level.

On July 3rd takes place the  third international Plastic Bag-Free Day organised by GAIA, Zero Waste Europe and the Fundació Prevenció de Residus i Consum.

In Brussels EEB, GAIA and Seas At Risk have issued a Press Release asking the European Commission to ban single-use plastic bags.

What can you do?

Be creative with the way you want to put forward your demands. If you need some inspiration here you have some hints:

If you are an association/organisation:

* Organise a “Your bag or your life” action and  let us know here. We will be compiling the actions taking place all over the world and collect pictures, stories, etc to share with all and we will coordinate a global press release.
* Spread the 3 July Statement, International Day Free Bags
* Refuse to take disposable bags and promote the use of reusable bags: Everyday but especially on July the 3rd!
* Upload the logo of the campaign to your website/blog. See Section Artwork
* Joint press release of July 3 (soon to be published in the Press section).
* Promote the action in your facebook page.
* Organize a workshop for your associates promoting the cloth bag.
* Organise a workshop with children on the topic. Promote it in schools.

If you are a local/regional/national authority

* Make public statement on 3 July Statement
* Approve an ordinance to ban/reduce the use disposable bags
* Upload the logo of the campaign to your website/blog. See Section Artwork
* Tell media to cover events. Promote the action in your facebook page/blog.
* Take a picture of someone important in the institutions taking the plastic bag out of his/her head and use it as a promotion tool.
* Distribute reusable bags to shops and a flyer proposing alternatives to the use of single-use plastic bags.
* Joint press release of July 3.
* Organise a workshop with children on the topic. Promote it in schools.

If you are an individual

*Give your support to the action by signing up this statement. We will be gathering global support in favour of phasing-out plastic bags.

* Get together with your organisation, friends, family, neighbours, etc and organise a “Take the bag out of your head” action. If you do so please let us know here. We will be compiling the actions taking place all over the world and collect pictures, stories, etc to share with all and we will coordinate a global press release.

You can find graphic resources and ideas for your actions here.

You can join the facebook campaign here.


The actions will take place from 1st till 8th of July, however the bag-free day stays on the 3rd of July. Please let us know beforehand if you are planning to organise an action.


There are many reasons! Here you have some:

Please join this global action and promote it among your friends. Together we can get rid of single-use plastic bags and get closer to Zero Waste!

David Andersen Copenhagen; designing waste out of fashion

Waste is a human invention and as such it is up to us to design it out of the system. David Andersen is a good example of how zero waste can be built into a production process and at the same time bring added value to the project.

The Zero Waste philosophy has many applications in the production process and fashion is one of them. Zero Waste & clothes design can be approached from the quality point of view; i.e. better quality + good design = longer lasting clothes which should reduce the shopping frequency and hence reduce also the waste associated clothes production. Good quality fabrics also allow for refurbishment and reuse of clothes to give a second life to garments.


Another way to approach Zero Waste & clothes is from the point of view of the design. Most clothes-production processes involve lots of cutting the by-product of it being lots of unused fabric that go to waste. These fabric-rests can and should be reduced to zero and this can be done with good design.


David Andersen Design, a successful Copenhagen design label since 2007, has decided to go follow the Zero Waste path. As David Andersen puts it ’’Sustainability is an integrated part of how we work at David Andersen, and has been it for a long time. It is a simply a natural thing for us, to be concerned of the origin, production and maintenance of clothes. It should be a common and decent behavior, and not something new and fashionable.’’


Implementing Zero Waste to cloth design means creating a strong garment whilst efficiently utilising the 100% of the fabric used in production. Indeed, the idea is to design in a way that enables to use every single square millimeter of the fabric. It is the virtue of the designer, to create simple designs, so even the thinnest part of the fabric, will be integrated in the final design, thus eliminating waste.


’’It is all about minimizing waste already in the design and production phase, and about applying the approach for the next design process. In the end, the final result will signal both a design and social point of view’’ says David Andersen about the design experiment, which will be an integrated part of the designer’s SS 13 collection. The collection will go under the name of zero-waste by David Andersen.


With this project and building on smart designs, which are based on the sustainable principles from the beginning, David Andersen aims at creating a new trend within fashion. Unlike the fashion industry, which operates in secrecy, the zero-waste project is open for anyone, who is interested in following and commenting on the project. To follow the project just follow the blog:


On the Road to Zero Waste: Lessons from around the world

Zero Waste is happening all over the world. To prove it GAIA presented a serie of success stories from around the globe in a Side Event in Rio+20 negotiations.

The publication On the Road to Zero Waste: Successes and lessons from around the world compiles 9 examples of how to make Zero Waste happen regardless of the geographical, socio-economical and political context.

It shows that when there is political will there is always a way to reduce waste generation, increase recycling and continue to shrink the fraction that cannot be composted or recycled. There are many reasons for the success of these case studies but what they all have in common is intensive prevention and source separation policies and flexible and decentralised, low-tech waste treatment systems. They are all more cost-effective and generate more employment than systems built around big incineration and landfills.

Here you have some highlights of the studies:
• Through incentives and extensive public outreach, San Francisco has reduced its waste to landfill by 77 percent—the highest diversion rate in the United States—and is on track to reach 90 percent by 2020.
• A door-to-door collection service operated by a cooperative of almost 2,000 grassroots recyclers in Pune, India, has been integrated into the city’s waste management system and diverts enough waste to avoid 640,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.


• Aggressive standards and incentives for both individuals and businesses in the Flanders region of Belgium have achieved 73 percent diversion of residential waste, the highest regional rate in Europe.


• In Taiwan, community opposition to incineration pushed the government to adopt goals and programs for waste prevention and recycling that were so successful that the quantity of waste decreased significantly even as the population increased and the economy grew.


• An anti-incinerator movement in the Spanish province of Gipuzkoa led to the adoption of a door-to-door waste collection service in several small cities that has reduced the amount of waste going to landfills by 80 percent.


• In Alaminos, Philippines, a participatory, bottom-up approach proved that communities have the ability to solve their own waste management problems.


• In Mumbai, India, and La Pintana, Chile, a focus on organics has produced real value from their largest and most problematic portion of municipal waste.


• In Buenos Aires, by organizing into cooperatives and taking collective political action, grassroots recyclers called cartoneros have gotten the city to adopt separation of waste at source, an essential step toward its goal of 75 percent diversion by 2017.


The exercise to compile these world best practices will continue in the GAIA website and hence this list is not exhaustive. There are a lot more Zero Waste practices around the world. In Europe there are many communities that are driving the change to a zero waste society and which this website is presenting little by little.


To download the publication and learn how these communities managed to change the status-quo and become best practices click here.