ISWA Global News

Issue 50, November 2017

News from the President

Antonis Mavropoulos
Antonis Mavropoulos

Dear friends, colleagues and ISWA members,


Two years after ISWA’s Report “Wasted Health: The tragic case of dumpsites” that described the linkages between the world’s dumpsites and human health, a new landmark report that was published recently by the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health reveals that pollution kills at least nine million people and costs trillions of dollars every year. This report stems from the most comprehensive global analysis to date, and warns the crisis “threatens the continuing survival of human societies”. A comparison of the two reports reveals important common conclusions and concepts, highlighting that the health impacts of pollution, as well as the health impacts of dumpsites, remain rather underestimated. Both reports concluded that the assessed health impacts are probably the minimum ones that can be estimated with very conservative assumptions.


Parallels Between Lancet Commission on pollution and health and ISWA's Wasted Health


The new report estimates that diseases caused by pollution were responsible for an estimated 9 million premature deaths in 2015—16% of all deaths worldwide — a staggering number and three times more deaths than from AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined and 15 times more than from all wars and other forms of violence. In the most severely affected countries, pollution-related disease is responsible for more than one death in four.


ISWA’s report highlighted that the health risks from the exposure of 8.6 million people at the pollution of 373 toxic waste dumpsites in India, Indonesia and the Philippines could cause a loss of around 829,000 years of good health because of disease, disability or early death. By comparison, malaria in these countries, whose combined population is nearly 1.6 billion, causes the loss of 725,000 healthy years.


The authors of the Lancet’s report believe the figure of 9 million deaths per year could be an underestimate by some million people at least, since research on the impacts of some substances, like plastic, has not yet concluded. Scientists are still discovering links between pollution and ill health, such as the connection between air pollution and dementia, diabetes and kidney disease. Furthermore, lack of data on many toxic metals and chemicals could not be included in the new analysis. Available data does not include lead’s impact from toxic sites like Flint, in Michigan, US, or Kabwe, the world’s most polluted city in Zambia. Yet these populations experience enormous health impacts.


Lancet’s report estimated the welfare losses from pollution at US $4.6 trillion a year, equivalent to more than 6% of global GDP. According to “The Guardian”, Professor Philip Landrigan commented that “Those costs are so massive they can drag down the economy of countries that are trying to get ahead,” said Landrigan. “We always hear ‘we can’t afford to clean up pollution’ – I say we can’t afford not to clean it up.”


ISWA’s report assessed that, in addition to environmental impacts, the financial cost of the health impacts due to open dumpsites runs into the tens of billions of US$ annually. The relevant cost was calculated only for Brazil’s dumpsites at 0.5 – 0.8 billion US$ annually. 


According Lancet’s report, low-income and rapidly industrializing countries are the worst affected, suffering 92% of pollution-related deaths, with Somalia suffering the highest rate of pollution deaths. India, where both traditional and modern pollution are some of the most severe, has by far the largest number of pollution deaths at 2.5m. China is second with 1.8m and Russia and the US are also in the top 10.


ISWA’s report, based on the data presented in the Waste Atlas report for the biggest dumpsites, assessed that 64 million people’s lives (equal to population of France) are directly affected by the world’s 50 largest dumpsites. All those dumpsites are in low and middle income countries. The report “A Roadmap for closing waste dumpsites” estimated 750 deaths due to accidents in dumpsites only within the first 6 months of 2016!


Lancet’s report highlights that pollution is not the unavoidable consequence of economic development, and that it is much more important to formulate sound laws, policies, and regulations to control pollution than to wait for an economy to reach a magical tipping point that will solve the problems of environmental degradation and pollution- related disease.


Similarly, a key-element of ISWA’s global initiative to close the world’s biggest dumpsites was the assumption that we can’t expect the poorest countries of the world to become economically developed to manage their waste in a proper environmentally sound way, we have to act as catalysts of change now and create a global partnership that will undertake the task to stimulate the closure of the riskiest dumpsites.


This year, the UN Environment Assembly, the world's highest-level decision-making body on the environment, will gather in Nairobi, Kenya, from 4-6 December 2017 under the overarching theme of pollution. ISWA, in cooperation with other NGOs and international stakeholders, is trying to push for a Political Declaration that will recognize the importance of sound waste management and a Resolution that will address the need to close the world’s biggest dumpsites as a crucial step towards the Sustainability Development Goals. We will mobilize all our members to prepare the ground for decisions that will view dumpsites as a global health emergency and stimulate suitable policy responses.


This is the perfect timing, we simply can’t afford to lose it.    


Antonis Mavropoulos

President ISWA

“Challenging Changes” a New Book on Circular Economy

Ad Lansink, pioneer of the waste hierarchy concept, has launched his latest book “Challenging Changes” which aims to present in depth the linkages between Circular Economy and Waste Management, and the role of the waste hierarchy.


The waste management hierarchy is the cornerstone for the waste management policy during the last 30 years, influencing legislation and the waste industry worldwide. But the EU Circular Economy package has inexorably changed the landscape and Ad Lansink’s latest book, Challenging Changes, describes how the concept of Circular Economy can be transformed to many tangible projects that will reshape our world.

Ad Lansink presented his new book on October 11th, at a special launch event at the Dutch Permanent Representation in Brussels. An interested and knowledgeable audience got the opportunity to hear about the book from the author himself, who presented the book to Daniel Calleja Crespo, Director Generaal DG Environment of the European Commission and to Harriët Tiemens, Vice Mayor and Aldermen of the city of Nijmegen, European Green Capital 2018.


ISWA’s President Antonis Mavropoulos, who has been interviewed for the book, was invited alongside other experts to participate in a panel discussion about the book. He mentioned that “Almost 45 years after Ad Lansink presented for the first time the waste hierarchy at the Dutch Parliament, his new book details a roadmap to make circular economy a reality and explains the crucial role of waste management in this roadmap. It’s a must-read book for every decision maker, for everyone involved in the waste management business and policies, for every researcher that tries to demystify the challenge of circular economy in real life conditions.”


As noted by ISWA’s Task Force on Resource Management, the circular economy represents a significant opportunity for new business models, economic growth and employment. The waste industry sits at the centre of these changes and has an opportunity to work with industry and policy makers to shift the balance between primary and secondary raw materials.


The transition from a linear to a circular economy is not easy and, despite the number of publications, conferences and websites, Lansink argues that it remains a missed opportunity. In his book, he discusses how the waste hierarchy can be used as a framework for the transition to a circular economy. The main features of a circular Economics are linked to the key elements of a sustainable economy. Source and Chain management plays an important role, along with producer responsibility and sustainability shopping.


Last but not least, Ad Lansink offers 5 euros for each book sold through ISWA for the ISWA’s Scholarship Program in Nicaragua. ISWA is grateful to his generosity. So, do not lose time and, order your book through ISWA - send an email to iswa(at) for details.


Further Information:

5 recommendations for the global jeans’ industry to go circular

Click the link to the left to watch the video

How does an industry become circular? An ISWA (International Solid Waste Association) project team has met with the global designer brand G-Star to identify what it takes for the jeans industry to go circular.

What does it really take to make the production and consumption patterns of today more circular? Questions like this inspired the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) to develop case studies of two very different industries: designer jeans and plastic packaging. The studies were done in collaboration with Ramboll and led by Björn Appelqvist, Department Manager in Environment & Health, Ramboll.

“The goal of these studies has been to dive into depth with two real-life cases, so that we, as the waste management sector, can give industry players tangible recommendations on how to be more circular”, says Björn, Department Manager in Ramboll and ISWA’s Project Lead on the two case studies. 

Project partners 

The project team behind the G-Star case study consists of representatives from Tommen Gram, G-Star, World Perfect, Design School Kolding, NVRD, DAKOFA, the City of Oslo, ISWA and Ramboll.

Co-creating a circular jeans production

Going from linear to circular requires the involvement of all parties in the value chain. Therefore, the ISWA project group gathered manufacturers, designers and waste managers around the case of jeans, with a starting point in global designer brand G-Star’s jeans production. The outcome of these meetings is a publication, which holds five overall recommendations for the jeans’ industry players who want to go circular. Furthermore, the ISWA project group has matched these recommendations with five commitments from the waste management sector that will support this movement.

5 recommendations for the jeans industry to go circular

1)   Design for reuse and recycling

Use mono-material textiles in garments where possible, as it makes it easier to produce high-quality recycled textiles. Mixed-material textiles are difficult to recycle and often end in down-cycled applications. Avoid low quality garments, as these encourage disposal and replacement rather than repair and reuse. Designers are in a position to improve the sustainability and recyclability of textiles.

2)   Rethink resources and consider secondary raw materials

Collaborate across the industry. By working together, brands can collect more used textile and create economies of scale as well as increased transparency. Design to exploit the qualities of recycled textiles, thereby making the materials part of the design story.

3)   Cooperate throughout the value chain

Talk with suppliers, and their suppliers. Don’t be afraid to make demands. Talk to consumers and procurers to drive demand through education and opportunity. The textile value chain is long and many of its traditional practices are highly resistant to change. Communication takes place mostly between immediate partners. This limits the opportunities for improvement, innovation and cooperation. At the other end, boosting demand for recycled textiles requires communication and cooperation with procurers and consumers.

4)   Keep an open mind for innovation

Actively seek technology and logistic solutions to improve material recovery. Be open to alternative business models and opportunities. New technologies provide better quality yarn and higher quality textiles, while new business models can challenge ideas of ownership and cost. Remember that sustainability is disruptive by nature.

5)   Partner up with the waste management sector

Help the waste management sector increase textile collection from household waste. Too much useful textile ends up as waste, rather than in the recycling system. Provide information about proper disposal of your products. Involve the waste management sector in your product development - they know what happens at the other end of the value chain.

You can read the two publications in full here.

"Making Waste Work" a new Toolkit

Zoë Lenkiewicz is Head of Communications at WasteAid UK, a waste management charity. WasteAid UK has produced a toolkit on community waste management called "Making Waste Work." In a recent blog post for ISWA, Zoe introduced us to the toolkit and explains how it can help communities manage their own solid waste in a self-sufficient, safe and affordable way.

The free online toolkit includes illustrated step-by-step guides to collecting and disposing of waste safely, sorting materials and setting up small-scale recycling enterprises. Available in low bandwidth mobile-friendly and print versions, Making Waste Work is free for anyone to download and share. It was funded by the UK’s Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) and is hosted at


Many of the technologies described in the how-to guides were originally developed in Africa, Asia and Latin America, in places without formal waste management services. The toolkit will empower people to manage their own waste where government has failed. It aims to inform and inspire people to take action at a grassroots level, and to build an online network so that active communities can support and encourage one another.


Within 48 hours of being live, Making Waste Work was accessed from every continent and downloaded more than 200 times. Early feedback was overwhelmingly positive, coming from people in Peru, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, the Netherlands, USA and UK.


There is no other toolkit in the world dedicated to helping communities manage their own solid waste in a self-sufficient, safe and affordable way. Making Waste Work teaches people how to access the value in these waste materials by creating useful products, delivering sustainable livelihoods and protecting public health.


The toolkit was produced by WasteAid as the CIWM Presidential Report 2017. Professor David C Wilson, the new President of CIWM, led work for the United Nations Environment Programme and the International Solid Waste Association on the inaugural Global Waste Management Outlook (GWMO), published in 2015.


Many of the recommendations in the GWMO focus on ‘top down’ solutions, working with national governments and city municipalities to develop integrated and sustainable waste management systems. The GWMO did also recognise, however, the need for ‘bottom up’ initiatives, in particular community-based waste management that both tackles the local waste crisis and creates sustainable livelihoods. Such approaches are often the only hope for many smaller cities, towns and villages, as well as informal settlements around larger cities, where local authorities simply do not have the resources to provide any level of waste management service.


Mike Webster, WasteAid UK CEO, said, “The impacts of not having waste collected and disposed of properly are significant, from childhood diseases to aggravated flooding and marine litter. Making Waste Work highlights the benefits of even the simplest waste management initiatives, and shows that by separating waste materials and creating value chains, people can earn a modest income.”


WasteAid’s charitable objectives are to share knowledge, build skills and campaign for investment in waste management where there is none. Currently, solid waste management attracts a mere 0.3% of international development aid; WasteAid is campaigning for an increase to 3%.


1 in 3 people in the world do not have access to solid waste management services. As a result, people have no option but to burn or dump their waste close to their homes, with serious public health consequences. Plastic blocks drains, aggravating flooding and collecting stagnant water where disease-carrying mosquitoes breed. Waste plastic that is dumped often finds its way to the open sea and ultimately into the global human food chain.


In April 2017 WasteAid trialed an early form of the toolkit at an event in The Gambia organised and funded by the Arkleton Trust with participants from 11 low- and middle-income countries. The guidance was evaluated and developed over the three-day workshop, with technology demonstrations and masterclasses in business development and community engagement. Feedback from the 40+ international cohort (including people from The Gambia, Senegal, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and India) enabled WasteAid make significant improvements to the toolkit.


Mike added, “Since our launch in 2015, WasteAid UK has been contacted by hundreds of grassroots organisations from around the world, wanting help in tackling their local waste problems. We have worked hard to produce a useful and accessible guide that meets the needs of these communities. Making Waste Work will equip communities them with the right knowledge to make affordable but long-lasting improvements to how they manage their waste, with significant local and global consequences.”


Once again, the toolkit can be accessed here: 

Kenya's Dandora Dumpsite - a Health and Environmental Tragedy

Professor Jared Onyari

This report has been prepared by Professor Jared Onyari (pictured left), Environmental Impact Assessment Lead Expert and President of Kenya Environment and Waste Management Association. In it, he describes the very serious situation which is devastating the lives of so many people living nearby.


Dandora dumpsite in Nairobi, Kenya in the Embakasi sub county. Surrounding neighborhoods called estates include Kariobangi, Baba Dogo, Gitare Marigo and Korogocho and the waste is serviced by a dumpsite which sprawls over 30 acres. It was established in 1977, with partial financing from the World Bank in order to offer a higher standard of housing.

It is Nairobi's principal dumping site and the Oxygenation Ponds, a prominent feature on satellite imagery of the area, is Nairobi's main sewage treatment works, and discharges processed water into the Nairobi River. Dandora is divided into 5 phases. The dumpsite is one of the key reasons for the high crime levels in the region. The dumpsite is an environmental hazard. The burning of the waste during the night can cause severe respiratory issues. Houses nearing the site are filled with smoke making it hard to breathe.

It did not take long before it became a dumpsite for Nairobi’s industrial and domestic waste. Dandora is one of Africa’s well know slum recognized for its poverty, hunger, illiteracy, pollution, rape, and high mortality rates.

It is recognized that some of the key health issues in the region are caused by the dumping of toxic waste. Every day, more than 2,000 metric tonnes of waste are dumped on this site. 

The inhabitants have very low income or no income and large families, of up to five children, are the norm. Many of these children go with only one meal for three days and with such amount of hunger they go through, they can eat anything, even dangerous and harmful foods from the dumpsites.

Solid waste is carelessly dumped and has led to rising environmental problems. All kinds of filthy and untreated waste are found there ranging from sanitary pads to syringes, plastics, rubber, lead based paints, slippers and many other toxic chemicals. Due to the overload of the rubbish a lot of it is deposited and ends up in the Nairobi River which passes through Dandora. This pollutes the water and makes it poisonous. Children, men and women bathe and drink this water contaminated with germs, dirt and bacteria and that is very poisonous for their health and wellbeing. Since Dandora has no adequate sewage system, a lot of the sewage consisting of faeces and urine end up in the river creating health and environmental risks. When this water is used for irrigation by other people down the river, the urine seeps into the soil and kills the plants because of their uric acid.


The garbage is a mountainous heap and is constantly burnt. The acidic fumes of Sulphur, lead and other heavy metals not only cause serious air pollution and acid rain but the noxious fumes also affects the respiratory system of the inhabitants. The children are more vulnerable to the air pollution because of their weak lungs and tender body structure.

As a result of all this pollution, children suffer from skin diseases, abdominal pains and eye infections and dental problems.


By 2001 it was deemed full and yet it continues to operate, and people at the very bottom rungs of the socioeconomic ladder come here as their last hope to make a living from scavenging the waste, but in the same time exposing themselves to tremendous pollution. This case is a very accurate example of the environmental injustice which I refer to as environmental racism whereby the poor societies of Nairobi are impacted by waste dumped from the whole greater Nairobi region, and are polluted with toxins. Yet, it is explained as the best solution for all because the poor get food from there and scavenge for materials to sell to the recyclers. Dumping in Dandora is unrestricted and includes industrial, agricultural, domestic and medical waste.

Unofficial studies have confirmed the presence of dangerous elements such as lead, mercury and cadmium which are serious hazards. Due to the underdevelopment of scientific bodies in Kenya, but also to political clashes, popular epidemiology has been used to prove sickness and mortality in Dandora. No official study or statistics have been undertaken, therefore the lay knowledge is as valid as the official one here and can be considered street science.

Nairobi is a capital with significant international connections, hosing the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP); therefore it seems strange for the biggest environmental organization would to neglect this environmental catastrophe happening just 8 km from its headquarters. UNEP has commissioned a couple of studies showing dangerously high levels of heavy metals in the surrounding environment and in the body of local residents. Lead and cadmium levels were 13,500 ppm and 1,058 ppm respectively, compared to the action levels in the Netherlands of 150 ppm/5ppm for these heavy metals. The Stockholm Convention on hazardous pollution, which Kenya has ratified, requires actions aimed at eliminating these pollutants.


The promise to act was agreed by the government, interested stakeholders and the civil society. Many global Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) have called upon Kenyan government representatives and stakeholders to honour the integrity of the Convention and keep the promise of reduction and elimination of those pollutants. Unfortunately, as of now, nothing has been done. On the contrary, more and more waste is addressed to the landfill and more and more is being permanently burned, more toxic substances leaching to the waters and air.

The Nairobi River also passes by the dumpsite, worsening the situation. The Dandora dumpsite is a sad picture of a multiple tragedy. The City Council of Nairobi decommissioned the dumpsite in 2012, after 8 years of planning. However, conflict between the council and the Kenya Airports Authority over the relocation of the dumpsite to Ruai has brought the process to a grinding halt. The community sees no easy end to this largest and most flagrant violations to human right and environmental health in the country. The dumpsite exists in contravention of several provisions to the Constitution of Kenya.


Upon my most recent visit to the dumpsite I discovered the local community and thousands of people rely their daily income on the dumpsite. Every day, scores of people scavenge through the contaminated garbage to look for food, plastic and metal scraps to sell to recyclers. They get paid very little but still enough to stay around the dumpsite. Some kids even escape school to come to the dumpsite to work. Due to high poverty in the area, some parents even encourage their children to go to “Mukuru” as they call the dumpsite. While some critics will defend the habit, it is a disastrous short term solution to a larger, complex and longer social and economic problem.

Public participation must be at the core of the decommissioning of this environmental and social injustice. A coalition formed under the “Inter-Religious Committee Against Dandora Dumpsite” in conjunction with national human rights institutions was set up in 2005 to address the problem of exploited workers and social problems but then later in 2008 its demands were supported thanks to the studies commissioned by UNEP and other organizations showing the serious environment problem. So here we have an example of a local resistance being mobilized due to the social injustice later also adopted from an academic context.

The local communities understood they must be participants in the change process and that the advocacy and the struggle for a people’s liberation must be spearheaded by the people themselves.

The Committee's main slogans were: “The society equally needs to be endowed with adequate environmental etiquette. We should ensure that our own little neighbourhoods are clean. Other stakeholders therefore need to come up with suggestions which can help us surmount this danger of the dumpsite”. The Committee has put forward a number of proposals to solve the problem. It included closing the dumpsite, re-cultivation, relocation of waste management, proper recycling facilities. Unfortunately, the developments of those ideas seems to be dead due to financial and political reasons.


The Dandora dumpsite continues to pose environmental and health risks. The dumpsite is a big, big health problem and it has had a terrible impact on the environment, because the unrestricted dumping of domestic, industrial, hospital and agricultural waste at the city’s main dumping site,” It is also a cause for concern as the land cannot be used for domestic and agricultural use.

The studies which have been carried revealed that soil samples collected from the site recorded high levels of lead compared with reference standards in the Netherlands and Taiwan. Similar.

findings were reported for other metals. The tests conducted on 328 children and adolescents living and attending school near the dumpsite revealed a significant health impact, with 154 suffering respiratory problems. When the waste is burnt, toxic gases are formed and it is very noxious.  Many of them have suffering from respiratory abnormalities, many have blocked airways.

According to the study by UNEP, medical records obtained from the Catholic Church dispensary at Kariobangi showed that 9,121 people were treated for respiratory tract-related problems in 2003-2006. Cases of skin disorders, abdominal problems and eye infections are also common among those tested. Malaria could be another threat since blocked drains collected water and become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.


There are a few inhabitants who try and conserve it. Some try and collect materials that can be recycled from the dumpsite such as glass, rubber, plastic, aluminium and they separate them and they earn an income through this.


The locals have done very little to help the dumpsite except recycling for income. The few actions that have taken place are that few recycling plants have been set up and the Nairobi city county by laws is trying to ensure proper waste disposal.


a)  No person shall operate a wastes disposal site or plant without a licence issued by the Authority.

b)  Every person whose activities generate wastes shall employ measures essential to minimize wastes through treatment, reclamation and recycling.


The Dandora dumpsite if full and the inhabitants of Dandora need to decide find a new dumpsite.

Before the garbage is dumped in the dumpsite, they should separate the garbage into recyclable products, biodegradable products and non-biodegradable products. The recyclable products should be separated and be taken to recycling plants, the biodegradable should be kept together to form a massive compost heap and the non-recyclable or biodegradable products should be burnt in an incinerator and this way the dumpsite will be cleared and the amount of air pollution will be much more less. The government should also be able to provide workshops for the illiterate and teach them how to look after the environment and their own personal health. The government should also sensitize the inhabitants about the mental, physical, and health effects of the dumpsite. By doing this more jobs will be provided which leads to an economic growth.


ISWA Beacon Conference on WtE, Malmö, Sweden October 2017

ISWA STC Chair, Bettina Kamuk with the opening address
The group are introduced to the Amager Bakke plant in Copenhagen

In October, ISWA's National Member in Sweden Avfall Sverige, alongside ISWA's Working Group on Energy Recovery, oragnised the 10th biennial WtE Beacon Conference.


Over 140 people from across the world gathered in Malmö, Sweden to discuss the latest developments in WtE technology across Europe and from China to Cuba. ISWA STC Chair, Bettina Kamuk, opened the discussions with a look at the future of waste-to-energy in 15, 50 and 100 years. Despite increases in waste production, she predicted that more waste would be used as secondary raw materials and WtE capacity would stagnate in the short and medium term. But looking into the longer term, it was anticipated that WtE would play a key and mature part of the worldwide waste management system. 


This was followed by an exciting and lively panel discussion with Bettina Kamuk, Claes Vallin (Armatus), Christophe Cord'homme (CNIM), Weine Wiqvist (Avfall Sverige) and Johnny Stuen (City of Oslo and Chair of ISWA's Working Group on Energy Recovery). The panel shared their thoughts on the communicative, legislative and technological hinderences to a wider acceptance of WtE technologies, concluding that energy production from waste is not yet achieving its full potential. But at the same time, it was recognised that WtE must do more to integrate into the circular economy. 


Other highlights included a tour of the new Amager Bakke facility in Copenhagen, a magnificent look around Malmö City Hall and a whole second day of talks on the more technical aspects such as the modernisation and life extension of plants, and of course, a closing speech from Håkan Rylander. 

ISWA would also like to extend a huge thank you to Avfall Sverige, who donated all of the speaker fees to the ISWA Scholarship Programme. 

ISWA goes Adriatic at Ecomondo 2017

ISWA Booth at Ecomondo 2017, Rimini, Italy
Dejan Kosic - Krk Island Waste presentation at Ecomondo 2017, Rimini, Italy

One of the highlights of this year’s ISWA booth at Ecomondo in Rimini, with a key focus on the Mediterranean countries, was an all-day Adriatic theme a, putting the spotlight on issues such as island waste management and circular economy.


Tindaro Paganini kicked off the event with a talk on the World Bank Group and its organizations, such as the International Finance Corporation, which, he argued, can provide unique access to companies and firms operating in the waste management sector to finance new initiatives and projects. “Many consider there to be too many hurdles to apply for World Bank funding, but this is not actually the case,” he said, adding: “Don’t think that only large companies get World Bank funding.” His recently published book, “The World Bank: An Opportunity for SMEs and Youth”, helps to demystify the grant process and gives advice on how to best approach the institution, one of them being “long-term relationship building.”


He was followed by a critical look at the universal applicability of the circular economy concept at a local level. Professor Luka Traven from the University of Rijeka/Institute of Public Health cautioned his audience on the use of predictive models for waste management solutions. “History has shown us that predictions only work in retrospect,” he said. “However, over and over again so-called ‘black swans’ - such as the 2008 financial crisis and the war in the Balkans in the 1990s - have rendered planning for the future obsolete.” Mr Traven specifically based his controversial theory on Croatia’s waste management policies, which have focused on introducing MBTs, which are not seen as the best solution anymore. Mr Traven recommended non-predictive decision making with decentralised modular systems for optimal flexibility.


An exemplary success story on the island of Krk in Croatia was presented by Dejan Kosić from the Ponikve.Krk. In a most humble manner, he presented the results of determined and proactive waste management on Krk, which dealt successfully with a looming waste crisis that directly affected the environment of nearly 20,000 inhabitants. More than 120,000 tourists visit the island every year, leaving behind a tremendous amount of rubbish. Croatia has pledged to collect 50% of the waste separately disposed of by 2020, which Krk achieved ahead of the deadline in 2015. ISWA hopes this success will inspire other Island mayors and entrepreneurs along the Adriatic coastline to action. See also the Ponikve.Krk blue bag campaign, where tourists are invited to collected marine litter and tag their bags online with a prize draw as a reward. More details can be found here.


Gamification may be the behaviour change tool of the future as ISWA Vice President Carlos Silva Filho presented the results of the ISWA 4th Industrial Revolution survey, rounding up the day of presentations. Silva Filho highlighted that the waste management sector “…has the opportunity to steer towards a Circular Economy redefining its business models using the advances of Industry 4.0.” This is both exciting in terms of possibilities but also daunting in the sheer scale and complexity of the challenge. Nevertheless, encouraged Silva Filho, ”Waste managers have to expand our role and our voice, we need to work with producers and designers as well as consumers and governments.More on the 4th Industrial Revolution can be found here.



ISWA at Ecomondo 2017 - Personal Impresssions

Andrea Wehrli (second from right) surrounded by ISWA GS and Ho De Leong, Board Member of ISWA (second from left) Ecomondo 2017, Rimini, Italy

Guest post by Andrea Wehrli, Mercator Fellow at ISWA in Vienna.


It's Tuesday morning. I'm excited to see the Ecomondo Exhibition in action, the leading euro-Mediterranean area green and circular economy expo. Several weeks of preparation, many meetings, and dozens of email exchanges later, we are finally in Rimini and ready to welcome the 100'000+ visitors from all over the world and give them an insight into the work and vision of ISWA. 


Visitors, who stopped by our daily programme at our booth, could learn about incredible work and projects being done all over the world for sustainable waste management: ranging from the foundation of an NGO in Lebanon, to a medical waste treatment project run by women in Tunisia or successful island waste management on Krk in Croatia plus many more presentations and discussions besides.


Students, researchers, representatives of municipalities and of various organisations were looking for us, were seeking advice for their waste and resource related issues or wanted to discuss the best way forward and how to become part of ISWA. 


I also had the chance to wander around, to check out exhibitors and to get to know companies and organisations as well as the newest innovations in the waste, resource and energy sector. 


Four incredible, busy and long days went by and although I'm looking forward to some sleep, it has been a unique experience and opportunity to be at Ecomondo and to meet so many people alike who work hard for and believe in a sustainable waste and materials management circle.


Andrea Wehrli studied Environmental Sciences at ETH Zurich, co-founded the Zero Waste Shop ‘Chez Mamie Zurich’ and worked at the World Economic Forum. 


Andrea joins ISWA on a Mercator Fellowship, a fully funded young professional program that runs for 13 months. During this year Andrea will work with international organizations for sustainable waste and resource management.



Autumn Working Group Meetings

Working Group on Bio Waste site visit
Communications group picture from the educational centre in Budapest

Biological Treatment of Waste, Milan, Italy - 16th October


The participants shared their views on the exciting upcoming projects and publications such as the project to Quantify the Benefits of Organic Matter in Compost and Digestate When Applied to Soils.


The group also discussed the involvement in the upcoming ISWA World Congress 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, which every year brings together waste management professional from all over the world. The working group members had then provided an overview of policies and practice related to BTW and discussed key issues in BTW in various countries.


In overall, it was yet another dynamic assembly of ISWA Working Group. Many thanks to everyone. who participated! 


The next in-person meeting will be held in the Spring of 2018 in Oslo, Norway.



Communications and Social Issues, Budapest, Hungary 26-27 October 


ISWA's National Member in Hungary, FKF, invited ISWA's Working Group on Communication and Social Issues to meet at their impressive education facility in Budapest in October 2017. 14 participants met to share the latest ideas and innovations in communications with case studies from various countries including Israel, United Kingdom and Oman. 


The group had some discussions with a local journalist who was interested to learn more about the importance of sustainable waste management for our environment. They also discussed how they could collaborate with other ISWA working groups across the field to support the communications work of other technologies and fields.


On the second day, the group were treated to a tour of the FKF municipal WtE facility and to the museum of public cleaning - featuring street cleaning machinery from as far back as 100 years!


The next meeting will take place in Spring/Summer 2018 in Tel Aviv, Israel


Working Group on Governance and Legal Issues, Rimini, Italy 8th November


The working group on governance and legal issues met in connection with ECOMONDO, Rimini Fiera on 8th November. 


Being in Italy, the group were presented with an overview of waste management in Italy and looked at how EPR is operating in the region. They also discussed the informal sector in the southeast Europe region and are making plans for an informal sector workshop in Macedonia next year. Keep your eyes out for more information on this.


The Spring 2018 Meeting will take place in Vienna, Austria


ISWA was pleased to support the annual International Exhibition of equipment and technologies for waste collection and recycling Waste Management 2017, on October 3-4, 2017 at the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Kiev, Ukraine.

The exposition was represented by 41 companies from Austria, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Taiwan, Ukraine, Finland, Czech Republic, Sweden and Estonia. The event was attended by 900 specialists from 28 countries, including key decision makers from local and state authorities:

- Ministry of Regional Development, Construction and Communal Living of Ukraine;

- Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine;

- National Commission for State Regulation of Energy and Public Utilities;

- EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development).

The side programme included seven plenary sessions and four technical seminars hazardous waste, WEEE and batteries and a round table discussion hosted by the Ukrainian Ecological Alliance" Association.


Dr. Alexei Atudorei, the ISWA Board Member for the SEMEM Regional Development Network was representing our association and the ISWA Young Professionals Group (YPG) in Ukraine: held a discussion on "Waste to Energy in Ukraine". We thank Tatyana Omelyaneko, of the Institute of Environmental Economics and Sustainable Development (NAS) of Ukraine and her team for hosting a robust and well-presented event! 

Let's meet up again at the Waste Management 2018 - 2-3 October 2018, Kiev, Ukraine. 

Detailed list of participants and other conclusions of the event are available on the official website.

In order to receive final materials of the Business Program, please contact organizers via E-mail 

Spotlighting Women of Waste - WOW!

WOW! at Ecomondo 2017, Rimini, Italy
Gali Feldboy-Klinger presenting WOW! at the 5th ÖKOINDUSTRIA, Budapest, Hungary

“I truly enjoyed immensely to discover your group and it was a great surprise amid all the talks on waste that I attended.” Benedetta Treves, Italy.
We are delighted that Women of Waste – WOW! were in the spotlight twice last week – in Hungary and Italy.


Firstly, ISWA hosted a WOW! panel on the 7 November 2017 at the Ecomondo green expo in Rimini, Italy, featuring strong female testimonies from both commercial and advocacy backgrounds across the Mediterranean Basin; Tunisia, San Marino, Italy and Lebanon. Their impressive stories of steady commitment and long-term vision, whether for health waste, composting, recycling or Zero Waste were fascinating.


Then Mrs. Gali Feldboy- Klinger, Chief Engineer at Hiriya Recycling Park, Tel Aviv and WOW! founder, presented the purpose and mission of ISWA's new initiative as part of the ISWA day-long side programme on the 10 November 2017 at the 5th ÖKOINDUSTRIA International Environmental Industry, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Exhibition in Budapest, Hungary. Krisztina Wegner, head of environmental office at the Hungarian National Railways and organizer of the international part of the event, said: “This was most the most energetic and inspirational presentation we have had according to audience feedback!”


We would like to thank our organizational member Newster Group and the Hungarian Environmental Entrepreneurs Association for their partnership and financial support to realise these opportunities.


Since its inauguration at the ISWA World Congress in Baltimore September 2017, more than 100 internationals have shown a direct interest in the WOW! group, with requests to support activities in Nigeria and Nicaragua, we are humbled and optimistic! Our next steps are to publish our ToR and membership guide. We hope soon to announce a research project in partnership with Prof Eng. Linda Godfrey, of North-West University, Pretoria South Africa… so we are expecting a busy 2018!

New Opportunity: Become a guest author on ISWA's official blog

We are looking for experts, academics and thought leaders, who want to share their knowledge and opinions with ISWA's readership of policy makers, government officials, private and public organizations, as well as professionals in the solid waste management sector. 

All published guest articles will be featured on ISWA's official blog, included in the monthly ISWA newsletter as well as disseminated on the official ISWA's social media channels.  

We are inviting you to submit an article on one of the focus topics currently on the agenda of ISWA Scientific and Technical Committee: 

  • Circular economy 
  • Dumpsites and pollution 
  • Marine litter 
  • Global Waste Challenges  

Each article should be 500 words long and include relevant visuals with credits/references. Please make sure to include your photo, full name and job title, plus a short bio (up to 70 words).


You can e-mail your submissions to iswa(at) with 'ISWA Blog Guest Article' in the subject line.  

Call For Papers: WM&R and ISWA World Congress Special Issue 2018

The International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) is happy to announce a call for papers for Waste Management and Research’s ISWA World Congress Special Issue 2018. The World Congress will be hosted by the Waste Management Association of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur from October 22nd - 24th 2018.


The extensive list of focus topics invites waste management experts to share their academic or scientific research in full for a chance to have their papers presented at a WM&R Special Session at the ISWA 2018 World Congress and published in a Special Issue of the WM&R journal.


In addition, the papers published in the Special Issue will be available online with Open Access and will be made available for free, enabling a wide distribution of articles. All articles will be included in the index of major databases including Web of Science, Scopus, and the Special Issues index on the Waste Management & Research home page.


If you are interested in having your paper included in the ISWA World Congress 2018 Special Issue, please read the full guidelines for submission here.


The deadline for submission via the WM&R online submission system is the 15th of January 2018