Waste impacts of the Transition movement

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Waste and pollution reduction provides a variety of opportunities for Transition groups to deliver practical impacts and engage with the wider community in their locality. Just over 60% of respondents to the Transition 2020 survey reported that they had achieved some or meaningful or significant impacts on waste or pollution reduction. These include activities such as Repair Cafes, Give and Take events, working towards Zero waste, and community composting. The examples demonstrate that alongside waste reduction, some events also contribute to social cohesion. The examples below were reported in the Transition 2020 survey.

Repair cafes

Transition Town Worthing (UK) that their “Repair Cafe - running for 2 years, our most successful project so far - average 35 repairs done at each session - also a great project for bringing the community together, tackling social isolation and skill sharing.”

Give and Take / swap shops

Give and take events - or 'swap shops' - enable people to pass on what they no longer need, or obtain something that they do. Kirkbymoorside Environment Group (England) report that: "Give or Take Days have had the widest interest and impact, both in the town and the surrounding area. Everybody loves a bargain, especially when it is free of charge! The oddest cast-offs can bring immense delight to someone, somewhere - even a clockwork singing lobster... ".

Plastic free communities and addressing microplastics

Some Transition groups have focused on issues such as reducing plastics and addressing the problem of micro-plastic pollution. For example: "Our towns “Plastic Free and Litter Free projects came out of transition and they too have engaged another section of the community" (Transition group, England), and “Our Plastic Free communities project resulted in the local council declaring it wants to make the whole of the district plastic free and there are on-line meetings with other relevant groups to further this. Also the teracycle project (a one-man band initially!) has really taken off” (Transition Town Letchworth, England).

Zero waste and waste reduction

Waste reduction and zero waste projects include a 'Community cup'. Some groups have a Zero Waste project, for example Zero Waste Helden (Germany) and DieWiese (Nürnberg). In Sète en Transition (France), the zero waste group has "contributed to the reduction of cigarette butts on beaches, development of collective composting, and raised awareness of waste reduction amongst traders”.

Examples from the USA include "Gleaning local grocery stores and distributing the produce”.

Community Composting

Waste reduction from organic waste can provide valuable compost, and reduce methane production. For example:

We've had most success with activities that focus on how the public/community can improve their own lives, at a very low cost or no cost to them - eg. urban gardening, home composting, designing sustainable food growing systems, utilising wild plants, swapping unneeded items etc” (Croatian Transition Hub); and “working with local farmers' markets, promoting short-chain, preserving biodiversity.. Closing loops - composting” (Barcelona, Spain).

Transition Granja Viana, (Brazil) reports that "Implementation of the Community Composters Project in Vila Mariana – Sao Paulo. Since the beginning in March 2019, until Nov / 2020, 3 tons of organic waste have been composted."[1]

See their youtube video here: