In 2022, the UN set a new landmark target on “zero waste”, but reaching that endpoint will be challenging
In December 2022, the UM General Assembly passed a historic resolution on “zero waste.” Turkey and 105 other nations presented a unified vote that asked for more discussion on zero-waste programs. The initiative aims to address the problem of billions of tons of waste being produced each year worldwide and encourages member states and UN bodies to implement zero-waste initiatives.
Until now, there has not been a multilateral progress targeting the elimination of waste. On the other hand, the World Circular Economy Forum is an annual event that brings together industry and government leaders on a voluntary basis, while the UNEP’s International Environmental Technology Centre exists to provide technical guidance on waste management. Although waste management needs more attention, it has received less of it than other environmental issues like emissions or pollution.
A circular economy, in which all resources are preserved by responsible product manufacture, consumption, reuse, and recovery inside a closed system, is emphasized by the goal of zero waste. On the other hand, the trend is changing in the other way: now, less than one-fifth of garbage generated worldwide gets recycled or composted, while a third ends up in open landfills.
From 2000 to 2019, the amount of plastic garbage more than doubled to 353 million tons. Without considerable action, the flow of plastic into the ocean is projected to nearly triple by 2040, with 50kg of plastic per meter of coastline worldwide.
The need of waste management solutions
Waste can be a big problem, but it can also be an important asset in the energy mix. Waste-to-energy technologies have traditionally been large-scale operations with long-term returns. Smaller, more effective systems that are simpler to use in smaller settings are being created nowadays.
Through partnerships, Universal Kraft is able to obtain smaller units that are specifically designed to handle various kinds of trash. These systems can be moved and adapted to different locations. Reducing pollution both on land and in the ocean is the goal, as is adding more baseload power to the energy mix.
Is it possible to reach ‘zero waste’?
Applying innovative solutions into effective results that address the bigger picture of achieving zero waste remains a major challenge. Some experts argue that the problem should be tackled from the source, which means that in order to prevent every new product from ending up in a landfill soon after it is created, we need to develop more resilient and sustainable materials. In the end, less trash is produced when there is less consumption and production.
The goal is a truly circular global economy that produces zero waste. This outcome requires an effective global policy and business practices.
The waste sector is far behind when compared to net zero emissions challenges. But some small-scale developments, like the laws governing the use of plastic, demonstrate that progress is feasible.
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