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Austria: Wastewater and garbage reduction Workshop

How everyone can make a significant contribution to waste prevention and wastewater issues

Research question: What was the research question? What are the underlaying regional problems?

The project was split in two sections. The research questions were:

– How does a sewage plant work and what are the main challenges in the treatment of wastewater.

– How can a person reduce food packaging.

 

regional problems:

  • Section 1:

– Wastewater treatment plants face significant challenges in removing drug residues and dissolved substances in wastewater.

  • Section 2:

– A lot of unnecessary food-packaging in supermarkets.

– There’s still little awareness of packaging-free shopping among the population.

Approach: How did you proceed?

As already mentioned, the project was divided into two parts. The first part started with a short brainstorming on the topic of (waste-)water.

A wastewater workshop served as an additional kick-off. Here, the students had to clean wastewater with simple household products. They became aware of how difficult it is to filter invisible substances, such as drug residues, from waste water. This led the students to think about the global (drinking) water problem as part of a discussion.

In another section of the project, the focus was on food packaging. The students had to shop in a supermarket for a joint breakfast an pay attention to plastic-free and especially sustainable packaging. Another focus was placed on regionality and seasonality.

At the breakfast, they reflected and considered how the topic could be disseminated. The students had the idea to create and conduct questionnaires and interviews for teachers, families and friends.

Solution: What are your findings?

Everyone can make a significant contribution to waste prevention and wastewater issues. From saving water to everyday shopping. Packaging-free shopping needs some time, but to know, that you have done something good for the environment motivates.

The awareness of a sustainable approach to our environment is already anchored in people’s minds. However, the results of the survey showed, that it is often the implementation that fails.

Recommendation: What solutions have you developed for the regional problem(s)?

  1. Do not pollute wastewater unnecessarily, for example with grease residues.
  2. Expired medications and food scraps do not belong in wastewater.
  3. Look for sustainable packaging and avoid plastic packaging, when you buy food.

Dissemination: How did you promote your recommendations?

  1. news contribution for school homepage
  2. questionnaires for students and teachers
  3. conversations and awareness raising within the families
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