Towards Zero Waste in Industrial Networks (ZeroWIN)

Towards Zero Waste in Industrial Networks (ZeroWIN)

Source of funding

European Commission

Name of client/donor

European Commission (FP7)

Overall project value

EUR 8,501,815


May 2009 – May 2014

Beneficiary countries


Number of staff


The zero emissions/zero waste concept represents a shift from the traditional industrial model in which the production of waste is considered the norm, to integrated systems in which everything has its use. The concept refers to an industrial transformation whereby businesses emulate the sustainable cycles found in nature, and where society minimises the load it imposes on the natural resource base and learns to be more efficient with the Earth's resources.

The goals were to develop a structured and innovative production model for resource-use optimisation and waste prevention, also taking residues as secondary raw materials, and to test it in real cases of sustainable industrial networks.

ZeroWIN, a five-year EU research project, examined and developed new and innovative approaches and effective strategies for the prevention of waste in industries based on industrial symbiosis. The focus was on the development of innovative technologies, waste-prevention methodologies, strategies and system tools (e.g. eco-design, local industrial clusters, and resource exchange) exportable into other European and worldwide contexts.

As a main output an innovative production model for resource-use optimisation and waste prevention was developed. The preparatory theoretical work enabled the implementation of pilot applications (nine industrial case studies), which were used to update, calibrate and streamline all methodologies, tools and strategies as well as the production model. The pilot applications covered the IT sector, the construction and demolition sector, the automotive sector and the photovoltaic sector. In terms of waste streams, the focus was on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), construction and demolition waste, wood waste, and waste from the automotive sector.

The REC led the dissemination-related activities and was involved in the analysis of existing system tools in order to improve their applicability to industrial networks and industrial symbiosis. The tools were collected, characterised, classified and evaluated for their applicability in the case studies. The analysed tools included:

  • material flow accounting (MFA);
  • substance flow assessment (SFA);
  • product stewardship/extended product responsibility (EPR);
  • product service system (PSS);
  • national accounting matrix including environmental accounts (NAMEA);
  • Millennium Ecosystem Assessment;
  • carbon footprint calculation; and
  • process mapping and mass balancing.

The REC was also involved in policy assessment activities, with the aim of establishing a strategic approach for the successful integration of the concepts, tools, and technologies developed under the ZeroWIN project into existing and future EU policies.

  • Leading dissemination activities
  • Systems analysis
  • Policy assessment
  • Information acquisition
  • Research
  • Event facilitation
  • Networking