What does it mean to be a Zero Waste municipality?
The network of European municipalities towards Zero Waste comprises frontrunners in the field of waste resource and management such as the best performing entity in Europe, the Contarina district in Italian region of Veneto. However the aim of ZWE is not only to give visibility to best performers but also to facilitate and recognise the commitment of those municipalities who, albeit maybe currently throwing unsatisfactory results, are firmly committed to consistently advance towards Zero Waste.
For this purpose the membership of the Network of Zero Waste Municipalities in Europe is structured in two categories:
1st Category – Municipalities working towards Zero Waste
The guidelines established by the Zero Waste International Alliance about the conditions that a municipality has to fulfil in order to qualify and enter the network of Municipalities Working Towards Zero Waste are the following:
- Adopt a commitment to implement residential collection programs for recyclables and organics (including food scraps) by a given date
- Consider all discards generated in the municipality whether or not they are directly controlled by the municipality (such as discards generated in the institutional, commercial and industrial sectors). Communities should exercise control over those sectors they are directly responsible for and influence those sectors that they are not directly responsible for.
- Advocate for redesign of problem materials that are not recyclable or compostable. Consider local actions/campaigns to encourage redesigns.
- Report progress annually toward Zero Waste Plan milestones.
- Implement a pay-as-you-throw rate structure or other financial incentives for residents (if allowed by state/provincial or national regulations) to encourage them to waste less and recycle more.
- Establish a Zero Waste Advisory Board or multi-stakeholder process (involving residents, businesses, staff or elected officials, Zero Waste experts, and non-governmental organizations) to participate in the development and implementation of a Zero Waste Plan or Strategy, assess critical steps, define workarounds or re-tabling of deadlines and development of similar key policy, program and facility implementation decisions.
- Conduct audits of discarded materials at least every 5 years in order to: analyze the progress of the Zero Waste Plan, assess what is left in discarded materials, define strategies and campaigns to achieve further improvements, provide feedback to manufacturers and work with them to redesign materials, products and packaging that are hardly or not reusable, recyclable, or compostable, .
- Oppose any kind of combustion technologies that operate above 93oC, both those already operating (“legacy incinerators”) and those in planning or development in their jurisdiction or region. Communities with existing incinerators must commit in writing to phase out all burning in next contract with service providers or when alternative facilities are available.
- Define quantitative targets for the mid-term (within 10 years) and long-term (within 20 years). These could include a residual waste reduction target (e.g. “less than 50 kgs per person by 2020) or a reduction by a further amount within 10 years (e.g. “reduce by 80% remaining discards”), or adoption of “darn close to Zero”.
These actions should be included in either a formal Zero Waste resolution and/or a Zero Waste Plan or Strategy signed by the person with jurisdictional authority (Mayor, Manager, Council, District, or otherwise, depending on the local regulatory framework and defined responsibilities for the parties locally).
The municipalities committed to Zero Waste are marked with a blue pin in this map.
2nd - Category - Best practices Municipalities
In order to qualify as best practice the municipality will need to generate a maximum amount of 75kg of residual waste -what is finally sent for disposal- per person per year.
The municipalities committed to Zero Waste are marked with a blue pin in this map and they are also highlighted with a star.