Debunking common myths about food hygiene, food waste, and health concerns related to reusable packaging

When it comes to packaging for food and beverages, misconceptions about its relation to food hygiene, health concerns, and food waste have been spread by the interested industry for some time. Those concerns were raised especially in the current debate on the revision of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR). As such, this factsheet aims to bust some of the most common myths.

Available in English, Estonian, French, Hungarian, Montenegrin, Latvian, and Slovenian.

Beyond Circular Fashion – Infographic

For every ultra-fast fashion model, there is a sustainable one waiting to break the system. We can make them norm by supporting zero waste fashion business models.

Our infographic shows the full process and benefits of a zero waste fashion business model, as well as the major differences when compared to a linear model.

This material is complementary to Zero Waste Europe’s “Beyond circular fashion – a new business model for the fashion industry” report, published in January 2023.

Available in English, Croatian, Estonian, French, Montenegrin, Spanish and Italian.

Beyond circular fashion – a new business model for the fashion industry

In the context of the EU Textiles Strategy, Zero Waste Europe’s “Beyond circular fashion” report shows how existing approaches and initiatives to make fashion fair and sustainable, while an important step forward, are insufficient in addressing harmful business models that rely on overproduction and overconsumption.

To comply with planetary boundaries, the report identifies 4 essential criteria that must be met simultaneously to qualify a fashion business as zero waste.

Executive summary available in English, French, and Croatian.

Full report in English.

ZWE submission to the second Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-2) to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution

Zero Waste Europe has been working on policies and measures targeting plastic pollution since the early 2000s, has done extensive research, movement building, and policy advocacy, and has implemented zero waste solutions since then.

This document contains our submission to the second Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-2) to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution.

Available in English.

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, Portuguese and Hungarian.

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.

Report available in English. Executive Summary available in English, Croatian, and French.

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.