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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Students at the University of Freiburg are organizing a waste reduction campaign week

Freiburg, Nov 15, 2019

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Photo: Pixel-Shot –

What happens to our electronic waste? Where can we buy unpackaged noodles? These kinds of questions are being increasingly posed by the general public. Students at the University of Freiburg will address these issues in the premier European Week of Waste Reduction in Freiburg November 16-22, 2019. Below you will find out more about how the campaign arose and what people who wish to get involved can expect from the week’s activities.

Food, metal or plastic: waste has different colours and shapes.
Photo: Pixel-Shot –

It all began at lunch. Students from the International Master's program in Environmental Governance were discussing ongoing projects on sustainability and environmental protection at their regular mid-day meetings when they got the idea to organize a series of activities in Freiburg on the topic of waste avoidance. During her research, Margaux Savin found out that there was already the European Week of Waste Reduction and a German branch of it. Since 2014, however, only a few activities had taken place in Freiburg, according to the student. In July 2019 the Environmental Governance students, their fellow student Marina Bauer and five others started to prepare for a Freiburg week under the European motto “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!”

The first and most important contact point for the team is the Environmental Protection Unit at the University of Freiburg. The students are supported by the sustainability manager Lora Gyuzeleva and Dr. Jürgen Steck, the head of the staff unit, in booking rooms, establishing contacts with the cafeteria, the Freiburg biogas plant and Süddeutsche Recycling GmbH. They got in touch with other cooperation partners such as the Greenmotion Festival, Cradle to Cradle e.V. and the Glaskiste themselves.

“The motto 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle' shows that there is much more to it than just recycling water bottles. People can enter into dialogue about different aspects of life: Why not just repair those torn socks instead of throwing them away? Does it always have to be furniture from that Swedish furniture store?”

Marina Bauer Photo: Jürgen Gocke

To kick off the Greenmotion Film Festival on November 16, the team will be showing the film Microplastic Madness, which shows worldwide waste pollution from the perspective of New York students in the US. Martin Quernheim from Cradle to Cradle e.V. will lead a workshop on how to solve Freiburg’s waste problems using creative methods. During a guided tour through the cafeteria, visitors can learn more about the processes in a canteen kitchen, followed by a discussion on the subject of “Designing a Cafeteria Sustainably.”  Lisa Schairer will offer a guided tour through the packaging-free supermarket Glaskiste. On the same evening, Klaus Müllenschläder from Süddeutsche Recycling GmbH will talk about what happens with electrical waste. Finally, during a guided tour through the Freiburg biogas plant, participants will learn more about the production of river and heat energy from liquid manure.


"Waste is created everywhere. Solutions to waste reduction are neither trivial nor clear. It helps to inform yourself and to examine various questions. This is the only way to decide for yourself what the right conduct is."

Margaux Savin Photo: Jürgen Gocke


Bauer notes that the general interest in the topic in Freiburg is very high. “Some of the partners have been willing to get even more involved. Next year, there could probably be even more activities,” explains the student. Savin and Bauer are not interested in prescribing stringent solutions for the participants. “It is more important for us to create awareness for waste avoidance and to facilitate a dialogue between civil society, business and public institutions,” Savin emphasizes. For this year, the two of them have already involved the next generations of students in the organization. They hope that the Freiburg campaign week will become an annual tradition.

Patrick Siegert


European Week of Waste Reduction

The European Week of Waste Reduction will take place in Freiburg from November 16-22, 2019. Space is limited for some events. Interested parties should therefore register in advance by e-mail ( , stating their name and telephone number.

Program in Freiburg (in German)

European Week of Waste Reduction in Germany (in German)

Facebook (in German)