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For immediate release: Brussels, 24/09/18 

Global cities support Zero Waste pledge

but avoid consistent commitments


Press Contacts:

Ferran Rosa, Waste Policy Officer, Zero Waste Europe / +32 (0) 2 73 62 091


Last 13th September, the C40 network launched the declaration Advancing towards Zero Waste at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. 25 cities and regions from the global North have already signed, hence committing to reduce 15% of their waste generation, to halve landfilling and incineration by 2030 with regards to 2015, as well as to recycle 70% of their waste.


The declaration fully endorses the importance of Zero Waste strategies to mitigate climate change, in line with Zero Waste Europe’s report The potential Contribution of Waste Management to a Low Carbon Economy. On this text, the climate-focused network of cities calls upon other cities and regions to decarbonize waste management through waste reduction and moving away from landfilling and incineration.


Zero Waste Europe welcomes the initiative and the formulation of specific objectives for cities and regions that look beyond current EU legislation, but regrets that these ambitious objectives do not always translate into consistent commitments from signatory cities and regions. Indeed, several European cities find their place among the signatories, like Paris, London or Copenhagen, in spite of their low performing waste management systems. For Ferran Rosa, Zero Waste Europe’s Waste Policy Officer, ‘Committing to advance towards Zero Waste should bring quick and systemic changes to waste management, such as mainstreaming bio-waste separate collection and planning the phase out of landfills and incinerators’.


‘These cities are setting themselves ambitious objectives and this should serve to rethink investments and waste management plans to align them to these goals’ added Zero Waste Europe’s Rosa, in a reference to the multi-billion new incinerator that the city of Paris wants to build.


In spite of the mismatch between objectives and actions planned, Zero Waste Europe congratulates the willingness of these cities to improve and opens the door for supporting them in their transition.


Zero Waste Europe engages with cities by supporting their transition towards zero waste models.



There are 2 comments
  1. I appreciate the effort to clarify GAIA’s position on cities that pledge zero waste and continue to build incinerators. But what transition are you talking about?
    Has Paris or London issued any policy change as they pursue incineration? Is there any movement toward separate collection of organics for example? Or moving to comprehensive refillable beverage containers? If so can you provide further in formation.

    What exactly does ‘willingness’ to improve mean? Whats does ‘open the door for supporting them in transition’ mean? What actions is GAIA Europe planning to take?
    Please clarify.


  2. Agnese Marcon

    Dear Neil,
    Thank you for your enquiry. Please find our answers below:
    We aren’t speaking on behalf of all GAIA, just of Zero Waste Europe.
    By transition we refer to the cities’commitment to go towards Zero Waste, which seems to us a transition.
    Indeed, both Paris and London are putting in place separate collection of bio waste and intend to improve their waste management systems, but we deem their actions not in line with the general commitment they talk about. In both cities there are prevention policies in place, but they are not sufficient.
    ‘Willingness to improve’ means that signing a public declaration shows a commitment to improve and go in this direction.
    The key question remains ‘Will they actually do something about it or it’s just words?’
    By ‘open the door for supporting them in transition’, we mean that we are open to accompany and mentor them in their path towards Zero Waste, the same way we have done with other 400 cities.
    The actions of Zero Waste Europe will depend on the role our members want do take.
    We hope this covers your requests. Feel free to contact us if you have more questions.
    Zero Waste Europe Team

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