Till recently, economic policies for growth were aligned with the ‘linear economy model’, wherein ‘waste’ was accepted as a negative externality generated by production and consumption patterns geared to maximise economic growth. Here, the focus was uniquely on how to handle the waste once produced, in the most economical manner. Worldwide, the perspective is moving away from the ‘linear economy model’ and towards a ‘circular economy’, enlarging the focus to cover the entire sequence of production and consumption activities that generates waste. Improved solid waste management is also essential to the global development agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals.
Presently, about 50% of the world’s solid waste is produced by countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, while Africa and South Asia produce the least waste. However, in high-income countries, there is near universal access to waste collection services — which is far from being the case in low- and middle-income countries. In the latter group, urban sustainability and transitioning to a circular economy pose a daunting process. Developing countries, for example, face the enormous challenge of building capabilities in municipalities to ensure safe and efficient systems of collection and treatment of household and industrial waste.
Unless the solid waste generated are adequately and efficiently managed globally, we will miss out on the key dimensions of sustainable development. This workshop, organised by the UNU Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT), will facilitate knowledge sharing and collective learning for urban sustainability and transitioning to a circular economy. It will look into technologies, innovations, policy designs, governance platforms, stakeholder engagements, and nudge strategies for the optimal management of municipal solid waste.
The focus areas will be:
For more information, or to register, see the event announcement on the UNU-MERIT website.