Kaunas Region Waste Management Center (Kaunas RWMC) directly deals with waste that comes from households across the region. The large dimension waste collecting sites (LDWCS) accumulate more waste than planned. Kaunas RWMC widened the network of “Giveaway” spots in LDWCS to encourage the exchange of unnecessary items that are in good shape. Giving them a second life by bringing them to reuse is considered a better way to discard things than recycling. Still, many don’t know about this publicly available free option. Kaunas mechanical-biological waste treatment plant (MBT) sorts mixed household waste and extracts more recyclable materials from it each year so they wouldn’t end up in landfills. That means people still do not sort waste correctly.
The efficiency of waste management depends on multiple factors but the most obvious one is the quality of primary waste sorting at home. The national environment protection exam held for the first time in 2022 confirmed the fact that the public’s knowledge of waste and circular economy is mediocre. Exam organizers stress the importance of environmental education at schools but adults should know more too – both groups answered exam questions incorrectly. We believe that we can shape sorting habits starting from the school bench and creatively encourage children to understand the importance of household sorting which is: less non-recyclable products end up in landfills; cleaner environment; encouraging creativity through reusing materials; energy consumption reduction.
The goal of the challenge is to find innovative ways to educate children about problems related to waste, its management, and circular economy. While some initiatives are teaching about sustainability, waste management and prevention are not fully addressed. Kaunas Region Waste Management Center seeks to become a constant provider of educational information on the issue and hopes to become an inspiration for others. Student teams are encouraged to come up with an interesting, informative, and continuous education at schools about waste management.