7 Mar 2023

Leipzig (Germany) and Tilos (Greece) announce their commitment to the Zero Waste Cities Certification

Mission Zero Academy is pleased to announce two new further commitments for the Zero Waste Cities Certification from European municipalities – Leipzig in Germany and the Greek island of Tilos. Both Tilos and Leipzig made their official commitments to become Zero Waste Candidate Cities in February 2023.

The Zero Waste Cities Certification is a robust European third-party assessed certification standard, developed by Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) and operated by its sister organization Mission Zero Academy (MiZA).


Behind Kiel and Munich, Leipzig becomes Germany’s third city to become part of the Certification and its third biggest, with a population of just over 600,000.

“Leipzig is clearly committed to the goals of the Zero Waste Europe network of saving resources and creating a real circular economy. As a growing city, we want to play a pioneering role and work together with the people of Leipzig, business, science and administration to value our resources.”

Heiko Rosenthal, Mayor of Leipzig

With Leipzig’s commitment, the city has now received the title of “Candidate City” and has set itself the following goals:

  • By 2030, produce 125kgs of residual waste per capita;
  • By 2035, achieve a 90% recycling rate for municipal waste.

Under the motto, “I already have my Leipzig! Save resources, dare the future” a twist on a popular saying from the German author Goethe’s “Faust”, the city is currently in the process of developing its holistic zero waste strategy, in partnership with the local community. Plans already included in the strategy range from a second-hall mall for reusable and repairable goods, to a multi-stakeholder series of workshops on what waste prevention measures could be implemented across key economic sectors. The city’s zero waste strategy plays a central role within its goal of becoming a carbon-neutral city in a few years time.


Tilos in comparison, is a Greek island popular with tourists, where the off-season population hovers around 350, increasing to 800 during the peak summer months.

The municipality,  which, as most of the Greek islands, faces the typical waste management challenges such as infrastructure deficiency and insularity, heavily relied on landfill whilst recovery rates were low.  A forward thinking municipality, an active community, and a private initiative with vision and know-how paved the way for a zero-waste model dominated now by prevention, reuse and resource recovery.

The Just Go Zero Tilos, an initiative of Polygreen, a company which focuses on circular economy in waste and resource management, began its implementation in June 2021. In one year since the implementation of door-to-door separate collection and separate organics collection and management, 100% of the residual waste has been diverted from landfill while recovery rates are approaching 90% and the landfill facility has been closed.

The Municipality of Tilos is thus committing to a continuous effort to prevent and further reduce its waste and begins its collaboration with MiZA, ZWE and the Ecological Society of Recycling to be certified as a Zero Waste Municipality and join the Zero Waste Cities network.

Within its commitment, the Municipality of Tilos’ zero waste strategy has a long-term vision, which includes:

  • A constant pursuit of the 90% municipal waste diversion from final disposal;
  • Keeping the figure of less than 10% generation of residual municipal waste per year;
  • Reduction of waste production with special emphasis on the seasonal fluctuations produced by the increasing touristic activity;
  • Encouragement and promotion of reuse and upcycling activities and initiatives;
  • Mobilization of consumption habits modification and active participation of both residents and visitors towards the zero-waste target;
  • Prevention of the ecosystem degradation, upgrade of the island’s natural resources and improvement of the residents’ quality of life.

“Tilos and Leipzig could not have more different contexts yet they share the same goals and ambitions. It is encouraging to see that our certification provides both places the necessary structure and flexibility to guide them on their zero waste journeys. We congratulate both municipalities on their commitment and leadership and look forward to supporting them turning goals into results.”

Kaisa Karjalainen, manager MiZA

Get to know more about the Zero Waste Cities Certification here.

Press contact:
Berta Corredor, ZWE Press Officer: berta@zerowasteeurope.eu  Tel: +32 471 965 593

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