In less than 10 years, a crazy idea from a bunch of grassroots activists from all over Europe has become mainstream. Gandhi could phrase our journey like this: at first, zero wasters were ignored; then they were laughed at; today, they are fighting; and soon, we will all win a zero waste Europe.” – Joan Marc Simon, Executive Director at Zero Waste Europe

Our Journey

Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) is the European network of communities, organisations, local leaders, experts, and change agents working towards the elimination of waste in our society. We advocate for sustainable systems and the redesign of our relationship with resources, to accelerate a just transition towards zero waste for the benefit of people and the planet.

ZWE was created in 2014, as the European regional branch of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), and throughout the last years has established itself as a key environment, circular economy, just transition, and movement-building network in Europe. Building on the initial zero waste vision and code created by the Italian city of Capannori, the ZWE network now includes 32 members from 28 European countries and works with topics across the whole chain. 

From product design to reusability to end-of-pipe waste management solutions, from the phase-out of plastics to waste trade and municipal zero waste strategies, our scope has significantly expanded but our mission and vision remain the same – a zero waste, fairer, inclusive, circular Europe for all (and planet, too, while we’re at it).

Our values

Our organisational values reflect our commitment and way of thinking and working:

  • We are purpose-driven, always putting forward a solution-oriented approach.
  • We are game-changing – we challenge the status quo, explore emerging topics and create a safe space to succeed (and to recover from setbacks).
  • We are adaptable, constantly striving towards learning and improving; open to change and taking agency.
  • We believe that acting with integrity is crucial to achieve impact and change, both inside and outside our network.
  • And we care deeply about our communities, the environment, and systemic changes that benefit society as a whole – while also looking after ourselves and our own well-being as a team and as individuals.