World Waste Status Project: The Starting Line for the Run towards Zero Waste

Cleanup is not enough. We need to start moving towards the world where cleanups are not necessary anymore - towards Zero Waste World. These are the recent talks within the Let’s Do It! network. And they slowly but steadily transform into next line of concrete actions. We have started with a very challenging but much needed task of removing waste from the face of the Earth - totally, permanently and fast.

Naturally, in order to permanently rebuild the system, to remove and prevent the occurance of waste, we need to know the current situation: how much waste is there covering our beautiful planet, what is it composed of, where it comes from, why the waste is a problem, and what efforts are applied to manage it in all countries of the world. An enormous task indeed. But it is also interesting, encouraging and motivating, because without this starting line to run towards the waste-free world is possible. Besides, this is a unique challenge: there were attempts to gather different waste data and present it visually, but none of them included all countries and their main landfill sites and incinerators and showed concrete data on waste landfilled there and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by it. Therefore the knowledge team of Let’s do it! has decided to capitalize on these attempts and started the World Waste Status project.

One of the attempts to show the total amount of waste generated in all countries. Modified sizes of countries show the aggregate quantity of waste produced, and the colours are used to identify specific countries based on the minimap in the bottom left corner. Source: Worldmapper, 2011.

The project is aimed at collecting the data on the current situation with the waste issue in all countries of the world, estimating how much greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are produced by inappropriate waste management and how can they be reduced with better practices, creating a database of these practices and presenting all this in a visual, understandable and user-friendly way to the global society. Well, something like this image below, only much… much more detailed and concrete:

Here you see waste generated and recycled in regions. But we need countries. All of them! Source: Iscenco, 2012.

Just imagine that you will know exactly how much waste is produced by every citizen in your country and totally at the national level, what is it composed of, where it goes to (landfills / incinerators, etc.), where these landfills are located, what is their capacity, how much GHG they emit and how much GHG can be saved if all the landfills are closed down and removed. Extremely useful information, isn’t it? And this is exactly what the project will give you by the end of December 2012. More details about it can be found here:

 Looks interesting? Want to join in and make this first step towards the Zero Waste World together? We could really use your help!

You can contribute here in 2 ways:

1) Stay tuned for the survey that will be released within the Let’s do it! network in the end of September. Then collect the information about the waste issue in your country and answer the questions of the survey.

2) Be part of our ambitious and hard-working team and help us collect the information on landfills and incinerators in all countries of the world.

 For more details write to the coordinators of the World Waste Status project:

Alexander Iscenco: bsrcentre [at] gmail [dot] com / alexanderiscenco [at] dsr [dot] life [dot] ku [dot] dk

Toomas Trapido: toomas [dot] trapido [at] gmail [dot] com

 We will be very grateful for your contribution in starting our run towards the Zero Waste World!

Alexander and Toomas