Launch of ‘ERIC’ project empowers local authorities to prevent plastic waste production


31 Jan 2024

ERIC meeting in Partizánske, Slovakia.

Brussels, 31 January 2024 – A new European-wide project has been launched, aiming to provide cities with greater tools and knowledge to prevent rising volumes of plastic waste.

Elevating Reuse In Cities (ERIC) is a new project, funded by the Plastics Solutions Fund, which aims to empower European municipalities to reduce plastic waste generation. 

Led by 10 member organisations of Zero Waste Europe, an environmental network based in Brussels, the project focuses on training local organisations to become specialists in reuse systems and design effective plastic prevention plans targeting events, public spaces and buildings, as well as procurement policies.

Notable cities participating in the 28-city project include Zagreb (Croatia), Nicosia (Cyprus), Bled (Slovenia), and Lyon (France).

ERIC highlights the urgent necessity to find effective ways of reducing our dependence on single-use items and especially plastic, which is one of the biggest drivers of our current – which lead to the overexploitation and pollution of earth’s natural resources.


In Croatia, recycling companies’ deceptive practices underscore the need for urgent action to reduce plastic waste.

Marko Košak, Zero Waste Croatia Network Coordinator, states: 

“Plastic pollution in Croatia is one of the biggest social and environmental problems. This is proven by the fires that break out frequently in factories that supposedly deal with plastic recycling, but in fact their yards are plastic dumps that ‘accidentally’ catch fire from time to time, reducing their costs, while falsely showing that the plastic is recycled.” 

The situation also costs cities and municipalities dearly by contracting the same plastic companies for collection services. “This” says Košak, “motivates us to work through the ERIC project with the capital city of Zagreb on a strategy to drastically reduce the amount of plastic waste generated.”

This sentiment is echoed by Patrizia Lo Sciuto, Vice President of Zero Waste Italy and a representative for the ERIC project in Sicily.

“It seems to be very difficult to give up plastic,” Lo Sciuto observes, “but we cannot ignore the pressing need to address this crisis. Plastic waste, particularly single-use plastics, devastates our seas when abandoned. The ERIC project presents an ambitious opportunity to make a substantial impact.”

Mayors across Italy have been vocal in their support for the ERIC project as a means of combating plastic pollution. Giorgio Del Ghingaro of Viareggio and Edoardo Prestanti of Carmignano have each expressed their commitment to adopting preventative measures and reducing plastic use in their municipalities.

Del Ghingaro states: 

“As the first mayor in Italy to adopt the Zero Waste Municipalities strategy in Capannori in 2007, I believe there is no more time to waste. We welcome the proposal to join the ERIC project.”

Over the course of two years, ERIC participating cities will create plastic prevention plans at the local level and mobilise their communities around ambitious action to introduce packaging reuse models that prevent plastic waste. 

For more information on the project visit the Zero Waste Cities website.



Notes to the editor

  • The full list of cities that are part of the ERIC project are:
    • Gabrovo and Svilengrad in Bulgaria; 
    • Commune of Jette, and the City of Brussels in Belgium; 
    • Zagreb and Krk Island in Croatia; 
    • Nicosia and Ypsonas in Cyprus; 
    • Ořechov, Kostice, Majetín, and Těrlicko in Czechia; 
    • Lyon and Nantes in France; 
    • Carmignano, Viareggio and Calatafimi Segesta in Italy; 
    • Gorenja Vas-Poljane, Laško, Zreče, Vrhnika, Bled, and Gorje in Slovenia;
    • PartizánskeÚľany nad Žitavou, and Košecin Slovakia; 
    • Torrelles de Llobregat, and Viladecans in Spain.


Press contacts 

Sean Flynn, Media Outreach & Communications Officer at Zero Waste Europe, [email protected] or [email protected] / +32 471 96 55 93 


About ERIC Project:

The European project ERIC (Elevating Reuse in Cities) is a groundbreaking initiative that empowers municipalities to combat plastic waste production. By implementing preventative measures and fostering community engagement, ERIC aims to drive a real change in local consumption and procurement practices in order to reduce dependence on plastic products and democratise reusable alternatives. 


About Zero Waste Europe

Zero Waste Europe is a European network of communities, local leaders, experts, and change agents working towards the elimination of waste in our society. Advocating for sustainable systems and the redesign of mankind’s relationship with resources, they accelerate a just transition towards zero waste for the benefit of people and the planet.