null Joint Statement of Commissioner for Fundamental Rights and Ombudsman for Future Generations on European Week for Waste Reduction

Commissioner for Fundamental Rights Dr. Ákos Kozma and Ombudsman for Future Generations Dr. Gyula Bándi welcome the campaign called European Week for Waste Reduction to be held between 20 and 28 November, whose goal is to draw attention to the importance of sustainable consumption and circular economy through the different aspects of waste prevention.

In our consumer society, the life cycle of the goods that we purchase is becoming shorter and shorter, while the supply chains are growing increasingly longer. We tend to buy too many, often unnecessary products, and we get rid of them too quickly. Repair is getting more and more difficult or even impossible, due to the complexity of the goods, or to the lack of intention to repair them, while consumers are strongly encouraged to buy more and more products. These processes put an ever growing pressure on our natural resources, both from the perspective of exploitation and production, and the rising amounts of waste.

The European Week for Waste Reduction, which is held in November each year, is aimed at implementing as many practical and attitude-shaping activities as possible in the area of sustainable resource and waste management. This is why voluntary activists are encouraged to call attention to the importance of reducing waste, recycling and utilisation, conscious waste management and consumer behaviour, economising on the use of our resources, through their creative initiatives. In this context, it is important, among others, to share goods with each other and to promote the zero waste approach. Whereas buying second-hand items is already a well-established practice, there are still many challenges when it comes to passing them on to others. This year, the organisers put special emphasis on the significance of composting, and repairing goods.

The Ombudsman and his Deputy underline that conscious consumption and responsible waste management hold key significance not only this week but on every single day of the year. What is more, it is especially important to shop responsibly at this time of the year, in the season of the Christmas shopping fever and major discount offers. Instead of handing out unnecessary objects as presents, we should give quality time, attention, or shared experiences to our loved ones, or we can make useful objects or edible gifts from the materials that we can find in our household. We should strive to buy products that are durable, high quality and reparable, which can thus remain in circulation for a long time. The real value of a gift is not its price. We may make those in need happy by donating them our objects which have become redundant for us but which are still usable, for example, through charitable organisations. The Commissioner for Fundamental Rights and the Ombudsman for Future Generations encourage all citizens to work together for these goals, and find partners, e.g. among their family members, friends and colleagues, for realising these objectives.

The priority theme of this year’s European Week for Waste Reduction, i.e. so-called “circular communities” strive to emphasise the role of small local communities in the transition to circular economy, i.e. to sustainable consumption and production. This initiative is an excellent opportunity not only for private individuals and civil society organisations but also for companies, public administration organs, municipalities and educational institutions to take steps towards the creation of a more liveable future through implementing innovative ideas. Pursuant to Article P) of the Fundamental Law of Hungary, natural resources and cultural assets form the common heritage of the nation, and it is the obligation of the State and everyone to protect and maintain them, and to preserve them for future generations. Therefore, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights and the Ombudsman for Future Generations encourage everyone to use these natural resources responsibly.