Network-Wide Gathering: Zero Waste Europe, reunited
Video by Camille Delbos
Zero Waste Europe’s network of 33 organisations supports the zero waste vision across 27 countries, working tirelessly to bring about change on the ground, through policy-work, advocacy campaigns, implementation of zero waste solutions, engagement with stakeholders and capacity building.
In June, after more than two years apart (physically!), we were elated to be able to gather again in person for our Network-Wide Gathering in Brussels. Over 45 individuals, representatives of our member organisations and ZWE staff, got together for three days of discussions, reflections, strategising and team-building activities. A number of members also joined us online!
Our annual meeting is an exciting moment of the year for everyone at ZWE. It’s the chance for us to come together as a network to reconnect, exchange ideas, share good practice, celebrate our achievements, get inspired, and continue to build our movement so we can achieve our vision of a zero waste Europe.
During the three days, we discussed how we can work together to make our new Strategic Framework a reality and how our current efforts contribute to creating a zero waste, just, and inclusive Europe. We explored key topics together to share knowledge and develop strategies – including key EU policy priorities such as the Waste Framework Directive, the Packaging & Packaging Waste Directive, renewable energy files, legislation on harmful chemical in food packaging, as well as our work on new financing models, zero waste and climate policies, our Zero Waste Cities work, reuse strategies, building our movement, and much more. We spent time exploring our priorities and projects at national and European-wide level – from policy work to advocacy & campaigns, implementation of solutions and building the movement locally, nationally and internationally.
Members also presented recent victories and good practices throughout the three days:
- Our Bulgarian members (Za Zemiata) talked about their campaign against burning waste in coal plants;
- Recycling Netwerk Benelux presented their successful campaign on Deposit Return Scheme for cans in the Netherlands;
- Our members in Ukraine (Zero Waste Alliance Ukraine) talked about their work during the war, as well as a project to implement separate organic waste collection in Lviv;
- We heard about the work to build the Zero Waste Cyprus Alliance, bringing together four organisations in Cyprus, including Friends of the Earth Cyprus, as well as their work on Zero Waste Cities;
- Our Portuguese members (ZERO) presented their successful advocacy efforts to ensure strong reuse provisions in Portuguese law;
- Zero Waste Montenegro talked about how their Brand Audit campaign helped raise awareness and push for sustainable policies in Montenegro; and
- Our members in Slovakia (Friends of the Earth – SPZ) presented their work to establish the collection of kitchen biowaste from apartment houses in Partizánske.
These are just some of the amazing stories from across Europe we heard and discussed during the three days.
We also took a moment to mark the 15 year anniversary of Capannori’s commitment to become a zero waste city and to celebrate Rossano Ercolini’s (ZWE’s President) and Zero Waste Italy’s tireless work in pushing the zero waste agenda in Italy, and beyond.
And finally, our members elected three new board members: Juliette Franquet from Zero Waste France, Jaka Kranjc from Ekologi brez meja, and Mindy O’Brien from VOICE Ireland were all unanimously elected to join the current Board and we are excited to have them with us! We also took a moment to say a big thank you to Elena Rastei from Zero Waste Romania, who recently stepped down from the Board after 8 years of support to Zero Waste Europe.
There was of course much more happening during the three days – talking, listening, strategising, learning, making connections and getting to know each other – but we also didn’t forget to laugh, sing, dance and even play some ping-pong. It was magical to bring together again this strong community of activists, practitioners and experts from across Europe who all share a common vision and purpose. We left the space energised, inspired and excited for our work together in bringing about positive change in Europe.
Read a blog about our gathering by Meda Bagdonait from our member Žiedinė Ekonomika in Lithuania.
Photos by Javier Bernal Revert and ZWE Staff.