Towards a Circular Economy - Untapping the potential of biowaste: opportunities and challenges ahead - Zero Waste Cities


Zero waste Live!

Towards a Circular Economy – Untapping the potential of biowaste: opportunities and challenges ahead

17th March 2021 · 11:00 AM (CET)

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There is vast untapped potential for valorising bio-waste in Europe. EU policies such as the new Waste Framework Directive (WFD), which mandates bio-waste collection from 1 January 2024 onwards, seeks to support this. The European Green Deal aims to accelerate the transition towards a circular economy, and reduce food loss and waste

But how big is the potential? And how can it be untapped?

In 2020, BIC has teamed up with Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) to produce a first-of-its-kind report estimating the current and future availability of bio-waste in the EU-27. The full report has been published including country-specific factsheets (for the EU-27, the United Kingdom and Norway).

Now, together with EU and national policy-makers, as well as key stakeholders and practitioners, we would like to discuss in an online event the issue of bio-waste.

The objectives of this webinar are:

  • To present the findings of the ZWE report, including success stories from industry and municipalities for bio-waste collection and treatment; &
  • To discuss opportunities and challenges of untapping the potential of bio-waste, also in regard to the WFD obligation to separately collect biowaste by 2023.

Read the detailed agenda of the event here.


Elsi Katainen

Member of the European Parliament

Elsi Kaarina Katainen is a Finnish politician and a Member of the European Parliament. She is a member of the Centre Party, part of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.

Enzo Favoino

Scientific Coordinator, Zero Waste Europe

Enzo is a technical expert and researcher at the Scuola Agraria del Parco di Monza, and has decades of experience of separate waste collection, recycling, composting and prevention. Enzo is an expert in EU waste legislation and is highly knowledgeable in the field of European policy-making. He is one of the founders of the European Compost Network, and the coordinator of the Scientific Committee of the Zero Waste Research Centre in Italy.

Almut Reichel

Project Manager, European Environment Agency (EEA)

Almut Reichel is a project manager on sustainable consumption & production and waste at the European Environment Agency (EEA) in Copenhagen, Denmark. At the EEA, Almut is responsible for analysis, assessments, indicators, policy effectiveness evaluation, as well as capacity building in the above named areas for the EEA’s European country network, Eionet. She has written and co-written several EEA reports, including an assessment on consumption and the environment (with Lars Fogh Mortensen), and an assessment of waste policies in 32 European countries. In addition, she has coorganised several stakeholder workshops on sustainable consumption and sustainable business models supporting sustainable lifestyles.

Jouni Ponnikas

Director, Regional Development Kainuu region (Finland)

Jouni Ponnikas (Ph.D.) Director, Regional Development works at Regional Council of Kainuu. On his responsibilities is coordination of regional development programs including the smart specialisation strategy (RIS3) of Kainuu as well as regional monitoring and foresight. Earlier he worked at the University of Oulu, Kajaani University Consortium, Adult and Continuing Education unit as a responsible researcher on evaluation and regional research. During 2005–2010 he was the director of Lönnrot Institute of Kajaani University Consortium. Ponnikas is specialised in program based regional developing, strategic planning, program and project evaluation and regional and rural research. He has coordinated numerous national and international studies and projects on these fields and has been a member of several national and international regional research and evaluation networks and expert panels, like European Evaluation Network for Rural Development, EU Expert Committee on Evaluation of Rural Development Programmes, Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC), Agricultural European Innovation Partnership (EIP-AGRI) and European Network for Rural Development.

Jack McQuibban

Moderator - Zero Waste Cities Programme Coordinator, Zero Waste Europe

Jack has an educational background in international relations having studied at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. For the past 5 years, he has worked for two different NGOs within the international development and sustainability sectors, helping to build movements and communities for change. He has led successful campaigns at the local level within the UK as well as at the global level at institutions such as the United Nations. Jack will be leading our work with municipalities, helping to connect members from across Europe to build and contribute towards the transition of cities towards zero waste strategies.

Why should you join?

  • Learn from frontrunners and high level experts without leaving your office
  • Understand how to design and implement successful zero waste programmes at the local level
  • Learn the stories behind the best practices
  • Be one step ahead with key conversations related to zero waste and circular economy strategies
  • Connect with like-minded local stakeholders

Support our mission

The participation to the Live! webinars is free but to help us maintain and improve this project we ask you for a small contribution to watch the recordings.



A series of high level events aiming to help municipalities, waste professionals and community leaders to hear first hand experience about the best practices of Zero Waste.

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Supported by the LIFE Programme of the European Union. This website does not necessarily reflect the views of the donors.