This is the story of Zero Waste Cities

This is the story of Zero Waste Cities

Welcome to the first ever State of European Zero Waste Municipalities report.

We know that stories have the power to change the world.

This is the story of zero waste cities across Europe: what they are and the path they have shown towards a better, fairer and resilient future.

It is a celebration of the leaders

who took the first steps, and all those who have since worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make progress happen.

A zero waste approach is now more important than ever.

During the past 10 to 15 years, awareness and recognition of the importance of zero waste has grown rapidly.

go zero waste

As the crises facing our planet have multiplied and deepened, we have seen exciting and important growth regarding how a zero waste approach can be applied locally and the willingness of decision-makers to apply this within their communities.

Celebrating our zero waste pioneers

Created by the Zero Waste Cities programme within Zero Waste Europe, this report is a celebration of these pioneering zero waste municipalities. It is a recognition of the leaders and communities who have recognised the urgency of the crisis we face, and have acted upon this.

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The movement is growing

From 2007, when the first zero waste town was born in Capannori, Italy, the movement has continued to grow. Today there are nearly 400 municipalities committed to the vision of zero waste. There are also many good practices and policies happening outside of our zero waste cities that this report will highlight.

A model for success

This report is also a showcase of how exactly these communities have designed and implemented ambitious local zero waste strategies and policies. It will report the benefits kickstarting a zero waste journey at the local level can bring to communities.

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Two best performing regions

For the waste management company Contarina - who oversee waste within the Treviso region, Italy, - and Ljubljana - the capital of Slovenia. As the years have passed, the volume of waste has gone down as separate collection rates have gone, whilst the costs of waste management have either decreased or remained steady with rises in economic inflation.

2010

2015

2019

Meet the people
shaping the movement

Rossano Ercolini

President of Zero Waste Italy and Zero Waste Europe

“Our work as Zero Waste Italy has proven that zero waste is not just talking about negatives and saying no to things, but rather it is about more YES - yes for the environment, yes for public health and yes for the economy.”

Enzo Favoino

Scientific Coordinator, Zero Waste Europe

“Over the last 15 years, the zero waste practice has been consolidated as the perfect toolkit to make the vision of Circular Economy into an operational reality.”

Luca Mensini

Mayor of Capannori

“Implementing a zero waste strategy is needed to improve people's lives. When something is necessary, it may take effort and time, but it will be done. This is why it is a priority for me as Mayor of Capannori.”

Elena Rastei

Coordinator, Zero Waste Romania

“Communities adopting a zero waste approach represent a spark of hope that hopefully will inspire people at all levels.”

Doris Groenke

Head of the Department for Urban Development, Building and Environment, City of Kiel

“I am proud that the municipality of Kiel has decided to join the international Zero Waste movement and continuously work on reducing the amounts of waste in Kiel. We want to face the global challenge of increasing resource depletion on the local scale and as the first aspiring Zero Waste City of Germany, we hope to become a role model for other cities, too.”

Rosa Garcia

Director General, Rezero

“The future will be zero waste and municipalities know it well. The COVID-19 pandemic crises will push municipalities to implement urgent solutions for economic recovery like zero waste strategies, with cost savings and opportunities in job creation on reuse and preparation for reuse.”

Carlos Pérez Losada

Technical Director of Revitaliza, Pontevedra

“It doesn’t make sense to have a centralised waste management system for a decentralised area. Our data shows that whilst costs go up at the beginning, they soon decrease once the efficiency of the system begins to have an impact.”

Jaka Kranjc

Secretary General, Ekologi brez meja

“Zero Waste cities are inevitable as the new normal — as inevitable as the dawn after a long dark night.”

Esra Tat

Associate Director, Zero Waste Europe

“The growth of Zero Waste Cities sits at the heart of our work as an organisation. Whether the focus is on preventing plastic waste, fighting incineration or supporting reuse systems, implementation begins at the local level.”

Iryna Myronova

Head of  Zero Waste Lviv

“We have set the trend for waste prevention as the number one priority in waste management and inspired the movement all over Ukraine.”

Mr. Sergio Baldin

President, Contarina

“In a historical moment like the present one, it is essential that companies become promoters of a new circular economy model. This is why we at Contarina are investing in innovative waste management models, for the well-being of future generations.”

Marko Kosak

Zero Waste Croatia Coordinator

“Zero Waste Cities show that it's possible to go another way, one which is much better for the environment and human health. And it can be done everywhere, from small villages to the biggest capitals.”

Explore zero waste practices

Together with our members and partners, we are building a European hub of zero waste expertise that has been designed to support any municipality who wishes to improve the way they manage and reduce waste. We are committed to driving Europe’s transition towards a sustainable future and Zero Waste Cities are the vehicle to achieve this goal.

This report has been made to showcase and celebrate the stories of those who have been behind the success of the zero waste cities movement so far, as well as to inspire others to follow suit.

Download the report

Explore zero waste practices

Together with our members and partners, we are building a European hub of zero waste expertise that has been designed to support any municipality who wishes to improve the way they manage and reduce waste. We are committed to driving Europe’s transition towards a sustainable future and Zero Waste Cities are the vehicle to achieve this goal.

This report has been made to showcase and celebrate the stories of those who have been behind the success of the zero waste cities movement so far, as well as to inspire others to follow suit.

Download the report

Start a zero waste revolution from your community

Contact the Zero Waste Cities
team today

Send us an email