Throughout 2017, the zero waste movement in Europe continued to expand and to successfully make an impact. Our movement has continued to build on the successes of previous years, with zero waste policies and ideas gaining traction in legislative and cultural spaces across Europe. New projects have continued to spring up in countries across Europe and around the world. We have seen legislative advancements towards zero waste in many regions and different policy spheres. There is a real feeling that this movement is growing and will change the way waste management is considered.
We have continued to produce case studies highlighting these zero waste successes. Our first of the year looked at the case of Besançon, a successful example of the extensive use of decentralised composting in an urban context, which today covers 70% of their population and has resulted in big savings in waste management costs.
The second case study we produced in 2017 – and released in January 2018, looked at the island of Sardinia, that thanks to the effective collection of bio-waste and the introduction of economic incentives for municipalities has managed to become the best performing island in the Mediterranean in terms of waste management, well ahead of the European average. For this reason on Sardinia, we organised a study tour to discover best practices in tourist areas.
In the European policy arena, two key policy discussions were at the core of our work: the Circular Economy Package and the Communication on Waste-to-Energy. The approval of latter was a key milestone for the promotion of alternatives to waste incineration, with the Commission now calling to divest from waste-to-energy and to focus primarily on waste prevention and separate collection of waste. The former was concluded in late 2017 with the agreement between the Council and the Parliament, in which Zero Waste Europe managed to secure key elements to advance towards a zero waste circular society. These included the separate collection of bio-waste and ambitious prevention policies which required monitoring the position of Member States, holding several meetings with almost all EU national governments and putting pressure on Member States to make sure they supported an ambitious Circular Economy Package.
On the city level, we released the Zero Waste Cities Masterplan, intending to provide a structured approach to transition towards zero waste and we saw important victories, such as the defeat of the incinerator of Zagreb, and the several zero waste pledges from big cities, such as Rome, Barcelona or London.