14 May 2021

The City of Kiel becomes a Zero Waste Candidate City


Kiel has become the first Zero Waste Candidate City in Germany and is one of two Candidate Cities in Europe after piloting the Zero Waste Cities Certification system, powered by the non-governmental organisation Mission Zero Academy (MiZA).

After working with MiZA, the Zero Waste Kiel association and their partner organisation Zero Waste Europe to help test and pilot the newly designed Certification, the City of Kiel passed a landmark vote of the Kiel council in November 2020 confirming their zero waste commitment.

This commitment is centred around two main objectives:
● reducing the total amount of waste per capita per year in Kiel by an average of 15 % by 2035 and
● halving household and commercial waste by 2035 and reducing the total to less than 50 kg per capita per year in a long term.

Doris Grondke, head of the Kiel department for urban development, building and environment is proud of Kiel reaching this first level of the certification and says:

“The certification as ‘Zero Waste Candidate City’ underlines one more time our self-commitment to following the path towards Zero Waste. As first German certified “Zero Waste Candidate City”, we want to take on a role model and hope to inspire further cities in Germany to join the zero waste movement in the near future, too.”

Since the beginning, Kiel has done a remarkable job in assessing its current situation, researching replicable global best practice examples and finding the most suitable solutions for its community to adopt in its transition towards zero waste implementation.

In particular, enacting a detailed-oriented approach in terms of planning, community engagement and commitment, Kiel has reached impressive results, which led to the successful presentation of its long-term zero waste plan and the winning, together with the Wuppertal Institute and the local Zero Waste Kiel nonprofit association, of the Hans Sauer Award 2021, in the Strategies category for the jointly created Zero Waste Strategy for Kiel.

As a matter of fact, in order to become a Zero Waste Candidate City, the City of Kiel held six community stakeholder workshops in 2019 and 2020 with 450 Kiel inhabitants attending these events that resulted in 664 new ideas for potential zero waste measures identified.
As a result, Kiel has developed a very impressive zero waste strategy, mapping out its journey to ambitious resource management.
Beneath its two main goals, it includes both a total of 107 zero waste measures and 18 sector-specific goals for the sectors waste management, public administration, educational institutions, households as well as industry, retails and events.

Kaisa Karjalainen, Coordinator of the Mission Zero Academy, said:

“I would like to thank the team in Kiel for the energy and detail they have put in. They provided very detailed feedback and opened up their processes and thinking, which definitely made a difference during the pilot phase of the Zero Waste Cities Certification. I am also impressed by the very thorough background work done so far to get the commitment and their zero waste plan to where it is today. We are confident the results will be great.”

The Zero Waste Cities Certification is an independent, third party assessed certification standard, based on over 10 years of expertise and close contact collaborations with more than 400 European Municipalities, which have committed to zero waste principles and circular economy implementation.

The Certification has been formalized in 2020 – 2021 including a piloting phase of six months with several municipalities of various sizes, geographies and contexts; as well as local NGOs working with municipalities on their transition towards zero waste.
The pilot and testing phase was introduced to ensure that the certification system is relevant and beneficial for any municipality within Europe, while also maintaining the high standards that underpin the vision of zero waste and result in long-lasting impact.

The City of Kiel will aim to be amongst the first-ever Zero Waste Certified Cities once it has passed an independent audit at a later date.

Kiel’s Candidate status marks a significant step towards the creation of a more sustainable resource management system and is an important contribution to the European transition to a circular economy implementation.

Would you like to join our programme? Discover how to become one of the first Certified Cities in Europe!

For further information, read the full press release here.

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