21 Sep 2022

The first municipalities with Zero Waste certification in Spain: El Boalo, Cerceda, Mataelpino and Torrelles de Llobregat

After their official commitment to become Zero Waste in March 2021, the municipalities of El Boalo, Cerceda, Mataelpino – in Madrid – and Torrelles de Llobregat – in Catalonia – become the first Zero Waste Certified cities in Spain. With one star for the Madrid municipality and three for the Catalan. The two municipalities went through an audit process. This was carried out by an external auditor, appointed by the Mission Zero Academy (MiZA).

MiZa develops the Zero Waste Cities Certification – a European standard certificate – evaluated by third parties. The aim is to accelerate the transition to zero waste and the implementation of the circular economy in European towns and cities at the local level.

Mentors: Friends of the Earth and Rezero

Friends of the Earth Spain has been the mentor and support organisation for El Boalo, Cerceda, Mataelpino City Council. The association has compiled the initiatives launched in recent years, such as the promotion of decentralized composting (domestic, community and avicomposting), a reuse service or the door-to-door collection at homes, shops and bars & restaurants. In parallel, Friends of the Earth has been auditor of the Torrelles de Llobregat City Council.

These peoples are marking the way forward. It is exciting to see these initiatives grow and develop with citizen participation and political will, facing external difficulties with imagination and conviction. We encourage other towns and cities to join in this change, an indispensable transformation that in the short and medium term will bear fruit.

Marian Lorenzo, Natural Resources and Waste Manager of Friends of the Earth C., Madrid

Rezero has been the mentor organisation of Torrelles de Llobregat. This municipality has more than 15 years of experience in the implementation of door-to-door collection, including that of organic matter, to all types of users – homes and small businesses. In addition, Rezero has been the auditor of El Boalo, Cerceda and Mataelpino.

The certification of Zero Waste Cities is a useful program for municipalities that want to address the climate emergency, because it is a great tool to advance both for those who are starting with zero waste and for those already with experience. It is also an opportunity to recognize the efforts of municipalities who have been committed for years (such as Torrelles de Llobregat).

Rosa García, Director of Rezero

Friends of the Earth and Rezero have been promoting and demanding zero waste policies to improve current production and consumption systems by reducing the extraction of natural resources and the generation of waste and. Therefore, they are contributing towards addressing the current climate and ecological crisis. For these reasons, such entities consider vital to implement measures at the local level.

How to get certified

The ambitious Certification standard consists of five steps:

  1. The expression of interest in being Zero Waste by the municipality
  2. The commitment – application phase
  3. The implementation of this system
  4. Becoming certified
  5. Evaluating the performance for annual improvements

Overcoming each of these steps provides municipalities with the continuous support and expert advice in waste and resource management. The evaluation for certification is developed around a scoring system, which includes mandatory criteria and scoring criteria. The scoring criteria are rated according to the ambition and impact of the policy implemented. The sum of the points defines the level of certification of the municipality and its subsequent number of ‘stars’. After certification, municipalities must monitor their activity and make annual improvements to enhance the results achieved. Every three years the cities are subject to new audits to confirm their status in the Certification being able to have awarded more stars, reaching a maximum of five stars.

Friends of the Earth Spain and Rezero, two organisations with extensive experience in zero waste actions, have been accredited by MiZA and by Zero Waste Europe to accompany municipalities which are interested in this new certification process to ultimately place them on the zero waste map. Now, El Boalo-Cerceda-Mataelpino (Madrid) and Torrelles de Llobregat (Catalonia) join other European certified cities such as Bled, Gorje (both in Slovenia) and Capannori (Italy).

The importance of implementing this new certification scheme to improve and boost the commitment of all municipalities to a more sustainable management of their waste and resources.

Javier de los Nietos, Mayor of El Boalo, Cerceda and Mataelpino, and President of the National Compost Network

The need to continue working on the reduction and reuse of waste, making it necessary to do so in a precise and continuous manner over time. This is why audits are a good tool for directing efforts to concrete actions.

Ignasi Llorente, second deputy Mayor of Torrelles de Llobregat

Having two municipalities that take the leap and achieve the Zero Waste Cities certification is proof of good results brought by the implementation of ambitious waste policies in different parts of Spain. I, therefore, congratulate the two municipalities for being the first ones to become certified in Spain. I also thank the accompanying mentor entities (Rezero and Friends of the Earth) for their support in making this happen. We hope that these examples will inspire other Spanish cities to start their journey towards Zero Waste.

Kaisa Karjalainen, Coordinator of MiZA

Would you like to know more? Find out more about Zero Waste Certification of Cities.

For more information, please contact:
● Teresa Rodríguez, press officer of Friends of the Earth: email or phone
● Anna Peña, head of communication at Rezero: email or phone

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