New Energy For Europe

The European project as we know it is running out of steam and it is not capable of delivering on its objectives of peace, prosperity, and equality.

In order to stay within the commitment of 1.5°C degrees warming, the broken paradigm based on economic growth should be replaced with a new one. Our Manifesto calls on the need for building a new European project based on wellbeing, sufficiency, and resilience.

The Austrian federal law on refill quotas

In November 2020, Austria became the first European country to introduce binding targets for refillable beverage packaging. Within a new national waste management law, binding quotas were set for the proportion of reusable packaging sold in retail, starting with a requirement of 25% in 2025 to at least 30% by 2030.

On the occasion of the European Week of Waste Reduction 2023, our factsheet takes a closer look at Austria’s inspiring work on refillable beverage packaging.

Available in English.

The Finnish law on textile waste separate collection and implementation pilots

EU law stipulates that the member states shall set up a separate collection for textiles by January 2025. Finland is leading the way and passed a law in 2021 that requires municipalities to separately collect textiles already from January 2023.

On the occasion of the European Week of Waste Reduction 2023, our factsheet takes a closer look at Finland’s leading work on textile waste.

Available in English and Portuguese.

Is net zero enough for the materials sector?

When considering the urgency of reducing GHG emissions there is a possibility that, despite the aims of the net zero pathways, the cumulative carbon emissions budget will be exceeded. This is due to the risks associated with deploying unproven technologies in some sectors.

This report by Zero Waste Europe and Eunomia allocated a risk factor associated with each intervention and quantified how this influences the likelihood of overshooting the remaining carbon budget. It also attempted to determine whether the overshoot can be reduced by accelerating the adoption model deployed for technological interventions.

Available in English.

Marrying safety with sustainability in food packaging – Briefing for businesses

‘Safety’ and ‘sustainability’ concepts are directly interlinked: in order for food packaging to be truly sustainable, it needs to be safe for both human and environmental health. Within this briefing we aim to provide businesses with a better understanding of the issues linked to hazardous chemicals in food contact materials and highlight the opportunity for businesses to adopt circular economy practices using non-toxic and reusable materials that protects human health.

Full report available in English. Executive summary available in English, French, Spanish, Dutch and German.

NGO letter to Ursula von der Leyen on REACH and CLP reform

This NGO letter, spearheaded by the European Environmental Bureau (EBB) and co-signed by Zero Waste Europe, pleads with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to see an opportunity for change in current crises. It highlights the importance of continuing to pursue the achievement of the zero pollution vision by implementing the detoxification and decarbonisation agenda of the EU’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability without further delays.

Available in English.

Joint Letter to DG FISMA on the manufacture of plastic packaging goods

ZWE, ClientEarth, DUH, ECOS, EEB and Sekab sent a joint letter to the European Commission on the clarification on the manufacture of plastic packaging goods in the fourth delegated act of the EU Taxonomy.

The letter puts forward a number of recommendations to ensure appropriate technical screening criteria that are in line with a transition towards a circular economy.

Available in English.

How Circular Is Glass?

Glass production, especially from primary sources, is a high energy-consuming process. One way to effectively reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the repeated production of single-use glass is to retain material in a circular system – e.g. by utilising the cullet from container glass to produce new container glass, i.e. closed-loop recycling, and thereby removing the need to use glass from primary sources.

To understand the current circularity of single-use container glass in different geographical scopes, this study examines the mass flows of single-use glass packaging in four countries: Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. For each case study, the key limitations to circularity are discussed and the potential to improving glass circularity are explored. The study also reviews other limitations and opportunities the single-use container glass industry is facing, and future developments being considered to overcome these challenges.

Available in English.

Packaging reuse vs packaging waste prevention – key points

When dealing with packaging there seems to be confusion between reuse and prevention. Despite the fact that both contribute to reducing waste arisings, from a policy-making perspective they should be treated as different concepts.

Available in English.

Packaging at the Core – Infographic

The overall production of packaging and generation of packaging waste has been steadily growing over the past 20 years. These infographics, produced as part of our #GETBACK campaign, compile evidence of the aspects of packaging pollution and demonstrates how solving the packaging issue can help tackle other major world problems.

Available in English.

Packaging at the core

This paper compiles evidence of the boundless aspects of packaging pollution, and demonstrates how solving the packaging issue can help tackling other major world problems, such as global warming, toxicity in our food and beverages and waste trade.

Available in English.

Deciphering the EU’s packaging landscape for warm takeaway drinks

This report is part of a broader study commissioned by Zero Waste Europe to Recycling Netwerk Benelux (RNB), as part of a European project called the ReuSe Vanguard Project (RSVP) – which includes stakeholders from 5 European countries, namely Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Spain and France. 

With the broader study, we aim to highlight the findings related to the concrete packaging sectors that present the biggest potential in terms of their environmental impacts as well as the feasibility of replacing single-use with reusable packaging in the coming years. This dedicated report provides more detailed results of the first part, which relates to warm takeaway drinks and related packaging.

 

Available in English.

Deciphering the EU’s packaging landscape for delivery and takeaway food

This report is part of a broader study commissioned by Zero Waste Europe to Recycling Netwerk Benelux (RNB), as part of a European project called the ReuSe Vanguard Project (RSVP) – which includes stakeholders from 5 European countries, namely Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Spain and France. 

With the broader study, we aim to highlight the findings related to the concrete packaging sectors that present the biggest potential in terms of their environmental impacts as well as the feasibility of replacing single-use with reusable packaging in the coming years. This dedicated report gives more detailed results of the first part, which relates to the packaging used for delivery and take-away food.

 

Available in English.

NGO letter to REACH Committee June 2022

In this letter led by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) to the REACH Committee, ZWE joined a wide group of NGOs advocating for health and environmental protection. The letter flags the outstanding issue of delays in relation to the intentionally added microplastics and the lead in PVC restrictions, as well as the identification of resorcinol as a substance of very high concern (SVHC).

Available in English.

Packaging Reuse vs. Packaging Prevention

When dealing with packaging there seems to be a confusion between the actions referring to reuse and to prevention. Despite the fact that both contribute to reducing waste arisings, from a policy-making perspective, they should be treated as different concepts.

In view of the upcoming revision of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD), this paper aims to clarify what should be defined as packaging reuse and what should be defined as packaging waste prevention and which are the policy measures that encompass one and the other.

Available in English.

The need to set essential criteria for setting up managed pool systems

Well-managed pool systems for reusable packaging are a key instrument to make efficient and effective reuse systems work, and should be an essential accompanying tool to any reuse targets. This paper intends to provide guidance on this topic and propose policy proposals to take into account when creating EU legislation on reuse.

Available in English, German, French, Dutch and Spanish.

Zero Waste Europe Strategic Framework 2022-24

Europe is in the midst of a transition and zero waste is part of it.

Ten years ago, the concept of zero waste was laughed at. Today, zero waste is mainstream, from being considered a practical approach to implementing a circular economy to a trending lifestyle globally. The efforts from civil society groups in Europe and around the world pushed the debate higher in the waste hierarchy. If at any time over the last twenty years reuse and prevention had a chance, it is now. And ZWE is committed to bringing that change forward.
From a content perspective, for the next 3 years, we will focus on bringing IN incentives and funding for the transition, phasing OUT toxics, lifting UP reuse, pushing for BETTER recycling and bringing waste disposal DOWN.

Our Strategic Framework for 2022-24 outlines the ZWE roadmap and goals for the coming years, with the ultimate aim of helping us achieve a zero waste future for Europe (and for the world, while we’re at it).

 

Available in English.