We are producing more waste than ever before – and then we waste it all over again. This behavior is not sustainable. It loses the energy and natural resources required to make the product, and additional energy and resources are used to process the waste.

Sustainable waste planning and management reduces our use of natural resources through actions such as re-use and recycling. It also enables us to recover value and energy from materials we use. It transforms the way we see materials such as sewage, which requires high levels of energy for treatment but has potential to provide a valuable energy source. Waste is a resource, not a by-product.

The benefits of sustainable waste planning and management include reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, creating jobs, reducing land required for landfill and supplying lower carbon options for energy production.

Local authorities can improve waste planning and management by building new waste facilities and using existing recycling networks.

Priorities for waste

  • Plan for sustainable waste management
    Minimizing the amount of household waste sent to landfill.
  • Deal with construction waste
    Only half of the 120 million tons of construction waste is recycled each year.
  • Turn waste into energy
    Waste to energy processes reduce the waste requiring disposal in landfill.

Waste reduction strategies include various particular actions still being analyzed and developed, but there are some major actions plans already accepted and applied by dozens of countries. Favoring products made of different materials that shorten waste and energy life cycle became general policy in many states. Construction industry produces tons of debris and waste material and this waste is currently being re-directed back into the construction process as the raw material for modified concept of construction. Special facilities are being developed to collect, recycle and reuse waste materials coming from electronic industry. Since almost 60% of total urban waste consist of organic waste, major facilities are constructed to process this waste into reusable raw material or at least to utilize it as the fertilizer or low-carbon fuel. Modern urbanistic plans design infrastructure of many cities with pre-planned places for waste collecting and re-directing into facilities for further processing and finally pushing it back into the energy cycle of the same town.