Press Release: New Case Studies Show ‘Zero Waste’ Success in Europe


05 Sep 2014


Zero Waste Europe publishes new case studies (a second edition and two brand new cases) showing that the successful development and implementation of zero waste strategies in Europe is already taking place and is set to inspire further communities, towns and cities to transform our relationship with resources and adopt zero waste goals.

The cases studies focus on Capannori (Italy), Argentona (Catalonia, Spain) and Vhrnika (Slovenia), and review the stories of their successes to date, providing an analysis of the key elements that allowed such impressive transition. Today, these case studies show that, in contrast with the outdated idea of burning or burying our waste, preventing, reusing and recycling it create jobs and resilience, save money, and protect the environment and public health.

Moreover, these Zero Waste efforts go hand-in-hand with clean production, producer responsibility, and waste minimization programs for dangerous and hard-to-recycle materials. Together, these practical, bottom-up strategies provide some of the best decentralized urban solutions for reducing climate pollution and conserving energy and natural resources.

Some of the highlights of these case studies are:

–       The Italian town of Capannori was the first town in Europe that committed to a Zero Waste goal. It has managed to reach 82% of separately collected municipal solid waste (MSW) and a 39% reduction between 2006 and 2011.

–       When the Catalan town of Argentona introduced its door-to-door collection system in 2004, it more than doubled its recycling rates and became a reference in Catalonia for separate collection and pay-as-you-throw.

–       Vhrnika in Slovenia, has leapfrogged the recycling rates of many better-established programmes around Europe, reaching 76.17% separate collection of municipal solid waste (MSW) and aiming to reach 82% in the next 5 years.

Mariel Vilella, Zero Waste Europe’s Associate Director and Editor of the case studies said: “These innovative practitioners are showing that zero waste is a feasible strategy whose day has come. With their own local particularities, the three best practices are good examples of how strong policy decisions combined with community empowerment and participation can achieve groundbreaking results.”

Joan Marc Simon, Executive Director with Zero Waste Europe added, “At the policy level, these case studies show the feasibility of the proposals for a Circular Economy as presented by the European Commission in July 2014. Actually, the results offered by the network of zero waste municipalities prove that it is possible to aim even higher.”

Erika Oblak, head of Zero Waste Slovenija program at the Ecologists Without Borders Association said: “Vrhnika proves that Slovenian municipalities are able to achieve important results diverting resources in waste to material recovery. In addition to Vrhnika, three other municipalities set their Zero Waste goals and the interest for this concept in Slovenia is increasing.

Joan Pujol on behalf of the Catalan Zero Waste Strategy highlighted that “the experience of Argentona shows that measures such as door to door collection can reduce the generation of waste, the incineration rates and all the related climate pollution; instead, it increases levels of recycling, generates local jobs and saves costs in comparison to the collection system with containers.

Download the case studies here.

Please note that the case studies have been translated into several languages.


Mariel Vilella

[email protected]

skype: mariel_vc

+44 07847079154

Press Release of Zero Waste Europe in response to the Circular economy Package:

Zero Waste Europe was created to empower communities to rethink their relationship with resources. In a growing number of regions, local groups of individuals, businesses and city officials are taking significant steps towards eliminating waste in our society. Read more about us here.

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