Back in 2017, we released the Zero Waste Masterplan. It was the first document of its kind – a startup toolkit for local policy-makers, waste management professionals and community leaders on the what and how of zero waste.
Since then, even in this short space of time, the world has changed a tremendous amount.
Now more than ever there is a greater urgency for meaningful action. Whilst we have made significant progress across Europe in some areas, the challenges and barriers that prevent zero waste from spreading further stubbornly remain.
In response to the magnitude of the environmental crises that we face today, the European Union has outlined an ambitious framework that has the potential to guide Member States towards a circular and carbon-neutral future by 2050.
However, whilst a vision has been set by legislators in Brussels, what is needed now is action on the ground,we are long past the time of just warm words.
This is why we have decided to update our Zero Waste Masterplan, to help local stakeholders turn the vision of the circular economy into a reality for Europe.
What is the Zero Waste Masterplan?
The Masterplan is still the first document that any local actor, whether a local government official or zero waste activist, should read before they embark on the journey to zero waste. It defines what we mean by zero waste, highlighting the guiding principles that sit at the heart of any local zero waste strategy, as well as the models available to use, and the European Union legislation in place to support the implementation of such strategies.
Furthermore, the Zero Waste Masterplan explains why cities and communities should be adopting a zero waste strategy. We showcase examples of the benefits that such an approach can bring to a municipality, ranging from the costs saved in waste management to the health benefits that zero waste offers to local residents.
Finally, the Zero Waste Masterplan provides readers with several starting points to answer the question of where to begin. Guidance is also provided for a number of different scenarios that municipalities find themselves in across Europe today, whether that’s starting out from a very low recycling rate, being a high-performer already but wanting to improve further or being an isolated region or island. We provide detailed information on how to overcome the challenges often faced in these scenarios, as well as examples of how other European municipalities in similar contexts have overcome these problems to become a zero waste champion.
The change we are working towards
The overall vision and aim of Zero Waste Europe’s Cities and Communities programme is to accelerate the transition towards zero waste at the city and community level.
To help achieve this, we created the Zero Waste Europe Academy.
Whilst the Zero Waste Masterplan provides the what, why and where to begin aspects of zero waste, the Academy is the place to find out how to implement this approach in your community.
You will be able to find tools and resources that showcase methodologies for designing and implementing effective, locally-tailored zero waste strategies.The Academy not only consists of a digital space, including our ZWE Live! Webinar series, but it is supplemented with in-person activities, such as our Study Tours to Europe’s best zero waste practices, specific events or conferences and in-depth workshops that can be tailored to meet the needs of each group of participants.
The Academy has been designed to become Europe’s leading resource and expertise hub on zero waste, providing stakeholders with hands-on experience and knowledge on how to implement zero waste in communities and cities across Europe.
If we are to achieve the scale and impact that we need to meet the waste and climate crises, then progress towards a circular economy must be accelerated at the local level. We have designed the Masterplan and Academy for precisely this, to accelerate the journey towards zero waste in Europe, one community at a time.
We look forward to working with you on this journey.