EU policy

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Part of our work is done in Brussels, where we influence European legislation from product design to waste disposal. We bring our experience on the ground to the European policy-making space, and bring the vision developed at the EU level to the local level.

Prevention and Reuse

The solution to the (plastic) pollution crisis lies now mostly in prevention and reuse. A key aspect of our plan to design waste out of the system is therefore by enabling new zero waste business models to become the new norm.


Policy change is key to support the transition to reusable packaging systems while ensuring packaging waste prevention and supporting a circular and local economy.

Resource use reduction

Zero Waste Europe is making the case for strategic resource use. The next frontier is to reduce material use whilst increasing wellbeing - in other words, creating the conditions to live well within planetary boundaries.


ZWE's work on textiles covers the following areas: waste prevention and sufficiency in the textile sector; zero waste fashion business models; optimising collection, sorting, reuse and recycling of textile waste.


Zero Waste Europe's work and approach to health calls for stricter regulations on chemicals in consumer products and highlight the health risks of waste incineration.

Food Contact Materials

ZWE is working with partners to secure ambitious laws that ensure products and packaging are long-lasting, reusable and toxic-free.

Sustainable management of residuals

Energy recovery from waste through incineration (also known as Waste-To-Energy) undermines the efforts of the European Union to transition towards a circular and net-zero emissions economy.

Material Recovery and Biological Treatment (MRBT)

ZWE proposes a new approach to treating residual waste - Material Recovery and Biological Treatment (MRBT), which combines biological treatment with sorting equipment.

Food Waste

In the European Union, around 20% of the food produced is wasted. ZWE works to push the EU to adopt ambitious and binding measures regarding food waste, such as prevention targets.

Chemical Recycling

ZWE is engaging with many stakeholders better to understand the impacts of this new industrial “fix”, and warning against unnecessary distraction from a circular economy and zero waste approach to waste management.

A new narrative on recycling

Europe has decades-long experience in collection and recycling, being the global region with the highest amount of research on product design and waste management. Tapping into it is key to designing proper circular systems - and ZWE is committed to do just that.

Residual Waste Cap

ZWE strongly advocates for a revision of the 10% landfill target, replacing it with 120 kilograms of residual waste per year per capita by 2030.

Waste Trade

For many years, mixed waste has been shipped from countries in the Global North to the Global South for treatment. It is now clear that these activities have severe consequences for people and the planet.

Menstrual Items

ZWE works at the EU and national level, together with its members and the BFFP movement, to make eco-friendly, toxic-free and plastic-free products readily available for menstruators.

Reusable Nappies

There is work to be done to make eco-friendly, non-toxic and plastic-free nappies readily available for all babies.