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.

Ireland’s plan on single-use and plastic packaging

In September 2020, the Irish government adopted its national waste action plan for 2020-2025. The plan – which will have to be enacted through the adoption of a circular economy bill – has the ambition to tackle waste generation and move towards a circular economy through prevention measures. The plan contains several ambitious provisions on single-use plastic and packaging which go beyond the requirements of EU Single-Use Plastics Directive,bsuch as extended bans on certain single-use plastic products or a levy on single-use coffee cups.

France’s law promoting bulk and reusable packaging

In December 2019, France adopted an ambitious law on waste prevention and circular economy. The law touches upon a variety of topics such as plastic packaging, awareness-raising actions, or extended producer responsibility (EPR). Although not all measures in this law are ambitious, the document contains pioneering measures to support the development of bulk selling activities and the uptake of reusable packaging.

The Catalan law on food loss and waste prevention

In March 2020, The government of Catalonia adopted a pioneering law aiming to reduce food waste and loss. Unlike many pieces of legislation, the Catalan law focuses on all steps of the food supply chain and seeks to promote food waste prevention, rather than encouraging food donation. This is carried out through various obligations for stakeholders across the supply chain on the adoption of specific measures, thus including the primary sector.

Lithuania’s law for donation of food waste

In September 2016, Lithuania passed a law that aimed to reduce food waste by easing donations for charity purposes. The law clearly defines that food products past their “best before” deadline are still suitable for donations and gives clear guidelines on how for a safe process. Additionally, the Lithuanian law allows a deduction of up to 40% of tax profits if acting under the Charity law.

Zero Waste Europe’s feedback on the food waste reduction target roadmap

Zero Waste Europe welcomes the initiative of the European Commission to start the process to set-up binding food waste reduction targets across the EU. Food waste is a multifold problem that not only causes environmental and climate damage but is also morally unacceptable.

Therefore, it is essential to properly address this issue by adopting efficient and ambitious targets for the coming years.

 

Available in English.

Italy’s law for donation and distribution of food and pharmaceuticals to limit food waste

In August 2016, Italy passed a law which aimed to reduce food waste at each step of the food supply chain with a strong focus on donation and distribution of food waste and pharmaceutical products. Instead of penalising, the law incentivises entities to donate or distribute food about to be wasted through tax rebates. Read more in our factsheet.

Available in English, Hungarian and Italian.

The Balearic Islands’ law for waste and polluted land

In January 2019, the Regional Government of the Balearic Islands approved a pioneering law on waste prevention that contained various measures and targets designed to solve the islands’ waste problem. Through a combination of measures on general waste generation and for specific streams, such as single-use plastics or food waste, the legislation offers a strong example of how to adopt a law that takes a comprehensive approach to the issue of pollution occuring from waste generation. Read more in our factsheet.

Available in English, Hungarian and Italian.

France’s law for fighting food waste

In February 2016, France adopted a law on fighting food waste that meant supermarkets were forbidden to destroy unsold food products and were compelled to donate it instead. This law constituted the starting point of the fight against food waste through banning its destruction and facilitating donation. Since the adoption, its scope has been extended further, as defined through new decrees and laws. Read more in our factsheet.

Available in English, Hungarian and Italian.

European Commission commitment on tackling food waste in the Farm to Fork Strategy

We joined forces with other 9 NGOs to ask the European Commission to rethink their food waste commitments in the recently released Farm to Fork Strategy. We suggest binding targets committing to a 50% reduction by 2030 and introducing food waste prevention as mandatory criteria for sustainable food procurement.

Available in English

Bio-waste generation in the EU: Current capture levels and future potential

Zero Waste Europe and the Bio-based Industries Consortium analyse the untapped potential of biowaste (garden and food waste) in Europe. The first study of its kind details the current generation and capture rates in the EU with dedicated country fact-sheets and municipalities best practice.

Available in English

Zero Waste Europe’s Feedback on the Farm to Fork Strategy: towards a food system free of chemicals, overpackaging and waste

The Farm to Fork Strategy presents a great opportunity to profoundly reshape our relation to food and design food waste, hazardous chemicals and overpackaging out of our food system. Addressing such issues specifically requires a holistic vision leading to coordinated actions all along the food supply chain. Read Zero Waste Europe’s feedback on the new Farm to Fork Strategy Roadmap.

Available in English

The Story of Too Good To Go

Zero Waste Europe releases its new Consumption & Production Case Study, which promotes zero waste business models: The Story of Too Good To Go, a fast growing company making the link between shops whose food is about to be wasted and consumers who love a good deal.

Available in English, French, Swedish, Italian, Portuguese and German.

Open letter on the Farm to Fork strategy to achieve sustainable food systems

We joined forces with other 39  civil society organisations to call the European Institutions to highlight the priorities and actions that the Farm to Fork (F2F) strategy should have in order to provide a coherent response to societal concerns about biodiversity, climate change, health, income of all workers in the food chain, social equity and animal welfare, amongst others.

Available in English.

10 Priorities to transform EU Waste Policy

Almost 90% of material resources used in the EU are lost after their first use (1). A lot more effort is needed to accelerate a systemic transition to a circular economy, to drastically reduce the EU’s absolute natural resource use and greenhouse gas emissions, respecting the planetary boundaries and striving towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

To achieve this, the Prevent Waste coalition of European civil society organisations advocate for the improvement and enforcement of EU policies on waste prevention and product design.

 

Available in English

Food Systems: a ‘recipe’ for food waste prevention

Food Waste is an economic, environmental, social and ethical issue. The strategy to tackle it has to cover the whole food system from crop to compost. Read the Zero Waste Europe Policy Briefing on Food Systems.

Available in English and in Hungarian

The story of Bruges

After assessing that 750 000 kg of food were wasted every year, the city of Bruges lauched anambitious Zero Food Waste strategy. Becoming a European forerunner with 43% of Food Waste prevented in the Healthcare sector.