The United Kingdom Without Incineration Network (UKWIN) stands in solidarity with fellow campaigners as part of the international coalition of citizens’ groups calling for an end to government support for burning waste in incinerators.

UKWIN, the UK’s network of 80 local anti-incineration groups, is issuing this Statement of Solidarity as part of the 1st December 2010 9th annual GAIA Global Day of Action against waste and incineration.

The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), comprising of over 650 members from 92 countries, is urging governments to formally commit to genuine “zero waste” policies. That means designing waste out of the system – placing greater emphasis on prevention, reduction, reuse, recycling and composting, instead of incineration and landfilling.

The incineration of household waste:

According to Christie Keith, International Co-Coordinator of GAIA:

Ten years of working together across continents to stop incinerators has made it clear that zero waste is a much better alternative for the climate, the environment, our health and our economies. As negotiators gather at the United Nations climate summit in Cancun, we urge them not to be deceived into accepting landfill and incineration schemes as green energy.

UKWIN’s Chair, Tim Hill, adds:

Zero Waste has significant climate benefits by conserving resources, saving energy, and cutting greenhouse gas emissions, at the same time zero waste creates many jobs and strengthens economies.

UKWIN National Coordinator Shlomo Dowen says:

In the short time since UKWIN affiliated with GAIA in 2008 we have enjoyed some major successes at home and abroad – with many local planning committees in the UK voting to refuse planning permission for waste incinerator applications. Our biggest victory has been to inspire a sense of community amongst the diverse people and groups who share a vision of a UK without incineration. Learning through networking is the key to a successful anti-incineration movement.

People oppose incineration for many reasons, and although we may have little else in common apart from wishing to stop incineration we have the opportunity to forge lasting friendships based on mutual respect. We are part of an amazing global family. UKWIN appreciates that we are all working very hard, struggling against well-resourced vested interests that care little about our planet. The stakes are high. Still, we need to make time to celebrate and enhance our sense of community and camaraderie. Campaigning against incineration and for more sustainable alternative approaches can be richly rewarding and a lot of fun! UKWIN’s message to the GAIA family is: take pleasure in the struggle. Outcomes may be temporary and uncertain, but the joy and friendship we generate is forever. Don’t give in to fear and despair, celebrate our collective achievements and feel the power involved in being part of something big, something global.

UKWIN and GAIA’s call to end incineration is made in conjunction with this year’s Global Day of Action against Waste and Incineration, which coincides with the UN-sponsored talks on climate change that commenced 29 November 2010 in Cancun, Mexico. Communities across five continents will celebrate with street actions, public conferences, special radio programs, and other events.

This year, GAIA celebrates its 10th Anniversary since its foundation in 2000 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Throughout this decade, public interest groups and individuals have been showing the toxic impacts of waste incineration and other unsustainable management methods and advancing the implementation of safe and just alternatives based on Zero Waste and Clean Production. This year, the growing movement calls on to governments to learn from the experience and abandon this wasteful technology and embrace better strategies based on Zero Waste.

Both UKWIN and GAIA share the hope that governments join communities across the world in making landfills and incinerators obsolete by heeding the call to “stop trashing the climate” and instead support “Zero Waste for Zero Warming”. Governments around the world are being lobbied to direct mitigation funds in the waste sector toward recycling and resource recovery projects that do not entail burning discarded resources.

Watch the video about the Global Day of Action against waste and incineration

Investments in landfill and “waste-to-energy” incineration disposal technologies also undermine efforts to reduce waste and threaten the recycling economy, particularly waste pickers in the informal economy.

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