Slide background
Empowering Our Communities To Redesign

The European Parliament votes in favour of almost Zero Waste for 2020!

Today -24th May 2012- the European Parliament (EP) passed a resolution on a Resource Efficient Europe which, if implemented, could put the EU on the road for Zero Waste for 2020.


In this resolution the EP joins the European Commission in expressing the need to bring residual waste close to zero and consequently calls on the European Commission to make proposals by 2014 with a view to gradually introducing a ban on landfill in Europe and for the phasing-out by 2020 of incineration of recyclable and compostable waste (point 33)


As you can see in the graph on the left, currently 80% of the municipal solid waste in Europe is recyclable or compostable and if the ecodesign directive is boosted in the way the EP asks for in point 5, it is likely that non-recyclable, non-compostable products by 2020 will be less than 5% of total MSW. Hence, this practically means the end of waste disposal in Europe.


It also urges the European Commission to agree by 2013 on clear, robust and measurable indicators for economic activity that can take account of climate change, biodiversity and resource efficiency from a life-cycle perspective. (point 2)


This resolution paves the way for radical changes in how waste is managed in Europe but let’s not forget that no legal binding measures have been taken yet. Currently:

implementation of EU waste legislation is rather poor in most member states,

– the market incentives and subsidies in Europe go to finance incineration and not prevention or recycling,

energy generation has priority before energy saving (i.e. if you burn paper you get subsidy for renewable energy if you recycle it there is no prime or subsidy),

it is not compulsory to separately collect biowaste or even guarantee the quality of the compost


So, institutionally now we have all the declarations of intentions on the side of Zero Waste, time to make the EU waste legislation fit for the challenge!



Succesful ZWE congress in Donostia!

Last weekend the Congress of Zero Waste Europe was held in Gipuzkoa. Representatives from all over Europe together with guests from the US and India came together to exchange best practices and define next steps for the Zero Waste movement in Europe.

The event was a success of participation and also media coverage; 30 international representatives from all over Europe, more than 30 mayors, including the mayor of San Sebastian, the top regional authorities including the first councilor of Gipuzkoa and the councilor for the Environment, as well as many local zero waste activists and citizens. All in all, during the 3 days of the event more than 300 people assisted the ZWE congress!

During the event the participants visited succesful experiences such as Usurbil and Hernani, leading separate collection municipalities in the peninsula as acknowledged by the website of the spanish ministry of environment.

The city of San Sebastian welcomed the Zero Waste guests with an open conference in the  City Hall which was filled to the brim to listen to Professor Paul Connett during almost 3 hours.

One full day was devoted to lectures, debates and workshops in which it was discussed how to implement zero waste policies, how to evaluate them and how to bring people together to build a world without waste.

In this occasion there were presentations from the Italian, Catalan and Basque zero waste networks but many new groups expressed interest to start building zero waste networks in their home countries.

The Zero Waste Europe network committed to continue rallying municipalities around the Zero Waste goal, to promote certification of Zero Waste companies in Europe and to motivate the youth to join the movement to free their future from waste.

Zero Waste Europe Congress in Gipuzkoa

Program in Euskera click here.

Complete program in English click here.



Friday 10th

Friday morning – visit to Usurbil & Hernani pioneer municipalities in Gipuzkoa in the implementation of door-to-door separate collection with results of more than 85% waste diversion.

19h Open Conference in the Donostia City Hall:

On the road to Zero Waste – a new paradigm in resource and waste management

Dr Paul Connett, Professor Chemistry at St Lawrence University

19h Open Conference in Arrasate – Mancomunidad de Debagoiena: The Zero Waste experience in Europe
Joan Marc Simon, Coordinator Zero Waste Europe

Saturday 11th

Casa de Cultura del Palacio de Aiete (Donostia-San Sebastian)

–          Welcome by the Diputación de Gipuzkoa – Juan Karlos Alduntzin, Diputado de Medio Ambiente Diputación de Gipuzkoa.

–          10 steps to  Zero Waste, a strategy for municipalities – Dr. Paul Connett, Prof. St Lawrence University.

–          Experiences of optimisation of separate collection schemes and maximisation of material recovery and biological stabilisation of residual Waste before landfill – Enzo Favoino, Scuola Agraria del Parco di Monza (SAPM).

–          Presentation of experience of Italian Zero Waste municipalities – Rossano Ercolini, coordinator of Italian network of Zero Waste municipalities.

–          Presentation of experience of Catalan Zero Waste municipality. Josep-Lluís Moner, member of Catalan Zero Waste Strategy.

–          Presentation of experience of municipality in Euskal Herria – Xabier Mikel Errekondo, Member of the Spanish Parliament and former mayor of Usurbil.

–          Building a European network of Zero Waste municipalities – Joan Marc Simon, Coordinator of Zero Waste Europe.


Afternoon and Sunday 13th: Internal Congress Zero Waste Europe