The report is being led by Professor David C Wilson MBE, the current CIWM Senior Vice President and Patron of WasteAid UK. It will be delivered by WasteAid UK with support from Resource Futures and will draw together the experience of WasteAid UK staff and associates, as well as other organisations that have delivered “waste to wealth” projects.
It will cover reprocessing technologies that require minimal or low capital investment and which produce products for local markets. It will provide case studies and “how to” kits to encourage replication, for municipal solid waste and other key waste streams, as well as the necessary health and safety and environmental protection measures to protect both the workers and society.
“Already struggling with the waste crisis, these cities desperately need targeted support from the international community. In the meantime, sustainable and self-financing community-led solutions can make immediate improvements, hence the focus of this research.”
Professor Wilson said: “More than two billion people worldwide do not have a waste collection service, which results in severe public health problems – through children playing amongst waste, blocked drains, infectious diseases and inhalation of smoke from open burning. Even when waste is collected, uncontrolled dumping is the norm – the waste of some three billion people isn’t disposed of safely.
“Many cities in Africa and Asia are growing so rapidly that in 15-20 years’ time they will be generating twice as much waste as they do today. Already struggling with the waste crisis, these cities desperately need targeted support from the international community. In the meantime, sustainable and self-financing community-led solutions can make immediate improvements, hence the focus of this research.”
The scale of the global waste crisis was assessed in the 2015 Global Waste Management Outlook, of which Professor Wilson was the editor-in-chief. As well as providing the first ever insight into the global status of solid waste management as a development issue, it also identified areas where an improved evidence base could have a positive impact on making progress towards the achievement of the global goals. One such area was the sharing of “waste to wealth” approaches to empower communities to manage their own waste through a sustainable livelihoods approach.
“Maximise Value, Minimise Risk”
WasteAid UK delivers training in community waste management in low- and middle-income countries. In its first year the charity has worked in the Gambia, Senegal, Ghana and Kenya, setting up community recycling facilities and positively impacting the lives of some 124,000 people.
Mike Webster of WasteAid UK said: “This guidance, funded by CIWM, will enable us to help thousands of communities around the world to improve the way they manage their waste. It will show people how to treat different materials to maximise their value and minimise risks to human health and the environment.”
Ed Cook, senior consultant at Resource Futures said: “We’re aiming to put together a suite of technological approaches which can be adopted in a range of different circumstances.
“The most important thing is that each proposed approach is appropriate for the community it will benefit and the type of waste being generated and that it’s cheap to implement and maintain. We want these interventions to be self-sustaining for the recipients, enabling them to develop their own businesses and encourage others to follow suit.”
WasteAid UK will be co-hosting a community waste management conference in The Gambia in Spring 2017, in partnership with the Arkleton Trust. The event will give WasteAid UK a valuable opportunity to “field test” the guidance, discussing and testing all the technologies covered with community waste managers.
The final guidance document will be launched at the next CIWM Presidential inauguration in October 2017, after which WasteAid UK will disseminate the report in partnership with CIWM.