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Guiness records in environmental effort


Detailed description of the Good Practice

Grästorp in Central Sweden has tried new ways of raising people's awareness on environmental issues. Once a year, the council arranges a combined environmental and culture week with lots of exciting activities. Every year from 1994 to 1998, the inhabitants set new world records, which were duly recorded in the Guiness book. They include the record number of used light bulbs, crown corks, plastic bottles and the record amount of toxic waste collected in one day, as well as the world's biggest building made of old milk cartons.

The record attempts are always chosen to highlight a real issue. For instance, the mountain of light bulbs was collected to bring the attention of the Minister of Environment to the fact that the lead at their base makes them a toxic waste problem. It succeeded: the Minister did in fact come to Grästorp, and later announced the introduction of a source separation scheme for light bulbs.

awareness raising
ecological education

Objectives of the Good Practice

to raise people's awareness by setting new records in environmental issues

Participants of the Good Practice

municipality of Grästorp

Target group of the Good Practice


Funding of the Good Practice

municipality of Grästorp

More Details of the Good Practice

Grästorp has a clear strategy: the message must be easy to grasp and fun to be part of, but still deal with serious issues. Children's theatre performances, an "eco-relay" in which people compete at green shopping and sorting their waste into the right categories, and "environmental fairytale walks" are just some of the many creative ways used to communicate about Local Agenda 21. During the latter, it is for examle the duty of the municipal Chief Engineer to climb onto the roof of the Town Hall, dressed as "Karlsson on the Roof" - a figure known to all Swedish children - with a propeller on his back, and shower the children down below with organic sweets.

The serious side of Grästorp's effort to help build a more sustainable world appears above all in the twinning link it has established with Maruppa - a community in on of the poorest parts of one of the world's poorest countries, namley Mozambique. The efforts have also yielded important results at home. In eight years the amount of unsorted waste in Grästorp has been halved, CO2 emissions have been reduced by replacing district heat for heating oil, train traffic has increased by 50 % just in the last three years, and an effective market for locally produced food has been established.

Documentation and documents

Stiftelsen Idebanken http://idebanken.no/english/Goodexamples/hoved.html

Available files

Contact details

Gunnel Lundmark
Grästorp municipality
Address S-467 80 Grästorp
Description Municipality in Västra Götaland County (pop. 6100)
Telephone +46-514-58 000
Telefax +46-514-58005
E-mail grastorps.kommun@grastorp.se
WEB-address http://www.grastorp.se

Data sources and references

Stiftelsen Idebanken http://idebanken.no/english/Goodexamples/hoved.html (Accessed April 13, 2009)