Waste Policy & Best Practice

The movement for a zero waste future has grown significantly over 2015, with a zero waste concepts and ideas feeding into European and national policy. Incredible actions from Zero Waste Europe Members across Europe have put zero waste practice firmly on the agenda for policy makers and municipal bodies. At Zero Waste Europe, Ferran Rosa joined the team in May as Waste Policy Officer, joining Joan Marc Simon and Mariel Vilella in working on waste policy and best practice, dramatically increasing the capacity of the organisation to support local groups in promoting visionary zero waste ideas and opposing out-dated dump and burn waste management models.

Over the course of the year working closely with local members we produced three new case studies of zero waste best practice, including a groundbreaking study of the best European district, that of Contarina, Italy that was released in February. We further published a study of the first Zero Waste European Capital; Ljubljana, Slovenia in May. The other case study being of Gipuzkoa, in the Basque Country in June. Together these studies were further able to demonstrate that zero waste solutions are possible for cities big and small alike, furthermore they are possible to implement without direct support from national legislation, and can be achieved in the short term.
On the European level, the development of the Circular Economy Package by the European Commission (EC) presented an opportunity to raise and enshrine zero waste policies across the EU. Sending a powerful message about the necessity to move beyond the paradigm of a linear economy, and into the future with a truly circular economy. Unfortunately the relatively ambitious original Circular Economy Package was withdrawn from the EC’s 2015 work programme in January, and along with a number of other organisations we questioned this decision and asked for the evidence to justify the packages withdrawal, sending an open letter to Frans Timmermans, the Vice President of the European Commission. The European Commission had at this stage ostensibly committed itself to a more ambitious proposal, something supported by the European Parliament, and we continued to engage with the redrafting process and feed in over the course of the year.
It was not until December that the new package was released, and to our disappointment, it was weaker than the previous package, leading to us criticising it upon release. Our work on the Circular Economy Package has continued over into 2016, and we will continue to fight for a stronger and more comprehensive package.

We spoke in different forums and conferences, promoting zero waste in front of the European Parliament, the waste industry, local authorities, civil society organisations, and more. We also supported our members in the push for transition at the local level, for example in Madrid or Derry.

We organised two study tours: one in June for a Chinese delegation from Hua Foundation (Flanders, Sweden and Italy), and a second one in November for Spanish municipalities to Italy (Milan and Contarina). The second one has positively encouraged some of these cities to commit to zero waste or, at least, to have effective separate collection schemes.

Spanish delegates on a Zero Waste Study Tour of Italy

Spanish delegates on a Zero Waste Study Tour of Italy

In December we announced the results of our ‘Power of Compost’ video competition which saw a whole range of fantastic entries espousing the benefits and joy of composting. The videos stressed the community and creative aspects of composting and illustrated the transformative potential of compost.


For Zero Waste Europe, our work on Waste Policy and Best Practice is fundamental for the organisation, and in 2015 we have had a significant impact on policy across Europe. Our tools have been shared thousands of times and provided vital examples of best practice which can be directly implemented by cities who are keen to take on the challenge of zero waste.