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Empowering Our Communities To Redesign

New book about Zero Waste in France

On the eve of the European Week for Waste Reduction 2014, Zero Waste France unveiled its scenario for zero waste territories and described it in a book. The book, published by Rue de l’échiquier, is a toolkit for all those willing to take action at different levels: citizens, associations, companies, and of course elected officials in charge of public policies for waste prevention and management.

zero waste zero gaspillage


“We thought this book as a gateway to action, allowing everyone to become aware that a change is needed, but also to see what is already going on in many places in France, Europe and beyond” says Flore Berlingen, Zero Waste France director and book coordinator. “The obstacles on the road are not few, but they are not as insurmountable as we may think.” The proof: some are already achieving extraordinary results, close to us in Italy and Spain. These achievements are widely highlighted in the Zero Waste Scenario, which also presents many French exemplary initiatives.

The excuses for inaction are many ignorance of existing solutions, the stubborn prejudice that changing behaviors is impossible, the transfer of responsibility to the public administration, the enterprises, or even the citizens, but they can no longer be accepted. Waste reduction requires a strong commitment from all stakeholders, but we should not forget that there are also many benefits: lowering pollution and greenhouse gases emissions, protecting natural resources, but also creating employment in new industries, which can contribute to revitalize the economy.

The European Week for Waste Reduction is the opportunity for Zero Waste France to strongly reaffirm this ambition, and to contribute, through the publication of this book, to reach this goal.

More info: /

Launch Party, Friday, November 21 at REcyclerie: practical information and registration


The book was financed through a crowdfunding campaign which reached more than 250% of its original goal with 858 financers supporting its publication. This is a proof of the curiosity and expectations of the general public on the topic of waste reduction, as well as a sign of a growing interest in the Zero Waste approach.

“Non Bruciamo il futuro” new book from Rossano Ercolini

“In Italy, where against landfills and incinerators there have been many barricades and very few proposals, the story of Capannori and Rossano Ercolini should be studied at school”
La Repubblica


Non bruciamo il futuro

Rossano Ercolini is an elementary school teacher in Capannori, in the province of Lucca. When, in 1994, he became aware of the plans to build an incinerator at less than three km from his school, he decided to intervene defend the land and the health of his students. He founded the association ‘Environment and Future” with the aim of informing the community of the environmental risks of incineration and propose alternative strategies for the management of waste.

After years of harsh battles, in which Ercolini openly challenged the local and national political structures and economic powers, the construction of the incinerator was cancelled as a result of pressure from the community. As a result Ercolini was asked by the President of the Province of Lucca to develop an alternative plan for the management of waste.
This is how in 2007 Capannori became the first municipality in Italy and in Europe to declare the Zero Waste goal for 2020. Today, with 82% of its municipal waste recycled, Capannori represents the flagship of a wide movement involving more than one hundred local governments in the promotion and implementation of a waste management model without incineration. The efforts of Ercolini have made Capannori, and Italy, the pioneers of a movement that is taking off all over Europe, from England to Italy, from Bulgaria to Spain.

In April 2013, because of his commitment as an activist and educator, Rossano
Ercolini received the Goldman Environmental Prize. A Prize established in 1989 that honors those who have distinguished themselves for their environmental battles and inspired the common people to act in an extraordinary manner to protect the world.
Following this victory, Ercolini was invited to participate in a tour of 10 days in San Francisco and Washington, where he had the opportunity to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama.

The book “Non bruciamo il futuro” (Do not burn the future) is the testimony of a struggle that was won after a decade of continuous fight against formidable and powerful opponents. It is the clearest demonstration of the enormous potential of a new way of doing politics from the bottom-up. It is also an extraordinary educational manifesto: throughout all these years the author has never stopped teaching.
Today Rossano Ercolini is a symbol of the power that environmentalism has to effectively influence the sustainable development of a territory beyond ideologies and party-politics.
Because it is only with the commitment from everyone that democracy lives and it is only when democracy lives that we can aim at a better future.


Ambiente e Futuro – Centro di Ricerca Rifiuti Zero Capannori

Zero Waste Italy


to buy the book go here

Press release in Italian here.

On the Road to Zero Waste: Lessons from around the world

Zero Waste is happening all over the world. To prove it GAIA presented a serie of success stories from around the globe in a Side Event in Rio+20 negotiations.

The publication On the Road to Zero Waste: Successes and lessons from around the world compiles 9 examples of how to make Zero Waste happen regardless of the geographical, socio-economical and political context.

It shows that when there is political will there is always a way to reduce waste generation, increase recycling and continue to shrink the fraction that cannot be composted or recycled. There are many reasons for the success of these case studies but what they all have in common is intensive prevention and source separation policies and flexible and decentralised, low-tech waste treatment systems. They are all more cost-effective and generate more employment than systems built around big incineration and landfills.

Here you have some highlights of the studies:
• Through incentives and extensive public outreach, San Francisco has reduced its waste to landfill by 77 percent—the highest diversion rate in the United States—and is on track to reach 90 percent by 2020.
• A door-to-door collection service operated by a cooperative of almost 2,000 grassroots recyclers in Pune, India, has been integrated into the city’s waste management system and diverts enough waste to avoid 640,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.


• Aggressive standards and incentives for both individuals and businesses in the Flanders region of Belgium have achieved 73 percent diversion of residential waste, the highest regional rate in Europe.


• In Taiwan, community opposition to incineration pushed the government to adopt goals and programs for waste prevention and recycling that were so successful that the quantity of waste decreased significantly even as the population increased and the economy grew.


• An anti-incinerator movement in the Spanish province of Gipuzkoa led to the adoption of a door-to-door waste collection service in several small cities that has reduced the amount of waste going to landfills by 80 percent.


• In Alaminos, Philippines, a participatory, bottom-up approach proved that communities have the ability to solve their own waste management problems.


• In Mumbai, India, and La Pintana, Chile, a focus on organics has produced real value from their largest and most problematic portion of municipal waste.


• In Buenos Aires, by organizing into cooperatives and taking collective political action, grassroots recyclers called cartoneros have gotten the city to adopt separation of waste at source, an essential step toward its goal of 75 percent diversion by 2017.


The exercise to compile these world best practices will continue in the GAIA website and hence this list is not exhaustive. There are a lot more Zero Waste practices around the world. In Europe there are many communities that are driving the change to a zero waste society and which this website is presenting little by little.


To download the publication and learn how these communities managed to change the status-quo and become best practices click here.



Zero Waste, a revolution in progress

Paul Connett, one of the Zero Waste gurus, together with the leaders of the Zero Waste network in Italy, Patrizia Lo Sciuto and Rossano Ercolini have just published a book “Rifiuti Zero, una revoluzione in corso-“ (Zero Waste – a revolution in progress).

Since its launch the book has been presented in Naples with the participation of the vice-mayor Tommaso Sodano and later on in Alcamo, Sicily. The book  explains the birth and growth of the movement in Italy and  it also reviews the progress of the movement around the world.

For the moment the book is available only in Italian but an english version will follow soon about the story and progress of the Zero Waste movement around the world.

A paper copy of the book can be ordered here, the electronic version will be available soon.



Business & Zero Waste

Zero Waste is one of the pillars of sustainability. It is impossible to be sustainable as long as what we discard cannot be the resource of another process without endangering health or the environment. This is why Zero Waste concept is good for both people –less pollution- and the business sector –less innefficiency and costs-.
The book “New Standards for Long Term Business Survival” from J. Scott explains why waste doesn’t make any sense from a business perspective. Using several examples and reviewing the recent history of the relation between companies and waste, Scott explains how the business world has changed and is continuing to change in the direction of Zero Waste.


It explains the great work of Walter Stahel regarding the “closed-loop economy” and the two ways to achieve it; either by reusing, repairing or remanufacturing products and their materials, which facilitates job creation and decreases virgin material usage (by re-using molecules) or by optimizing the profitability of products by converting them into a service so as to keep the product’s materials in the hands of the manufacturer in order to lower raw material and production costs. Safechem, Michelin or Interface are succesful example of this second option of selling a service instead of a commodity (selling square meters of cleaning, the distance a tire can travel or the meters of carpet-covered floors).

This book and other from J.Scott can be downloaded for free from our ZW library.

From this book we extract 6 Key Teaching and Learning Points
1- Waste elimination and resource maximization are two sides of the same coin. One cannot occur without the other.
2- Waste elimination is an on-going process. There is no finish line.
3- Waste creation does not equate with freedom nor is it a basic human right: the world is interconnected and has limited resources –and waste impedes the well-being and security of others.
4- Waste is a financial burden to businesses, customers, and local, national and international communities.
5- Spending money on lawyers and lobbyists to fight against higher efficiency standards or for the right to create waste is counterproductive, self-defeating, costly and pointless.
6- Taxing waste has the capacity to serve two purposes: (1) the money collected can fund and support infrastructure building, and, (2) businesses and industries would be encouraged to be less wasteful.

Door-to-door Separate Collection Guide

Want to implement a Zero Waste separate collection strategy in your municipality and don’t know how? The “Manual de Recogida Selectiva Puerta a Puerta” is what you need.

The Catalan Association of Door-to-Door Municipalities has published a new version of the Manual of door-to-door separate collection in which the experts in door-to-door separate collection in Catalonia explain how implementing a door-to-door separate collection system:

– can increase the separate collection from 30-40 (road-container collection) to 70-80% (with door-to-door),

– can increase the quality of the recovered materials,

– can reduce the disposal costs by considerably reducing the residual fraction of the waste.

In the book there are practical examples of how a door-to-door separate collection should not cost more than a normal comingled collection yet provide a lot higher material recovery rate.

The book focuses in the reality in Spain and it is written in Spanish but for those who can read Spanish or Catalan (the original version was in Catalan) this is worth a read.

You can download it free of charge here or just by clicking on the picture.