Women of Waste (WoW!)




Women of Waste is an informal group supported by the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) created by women in the waste management industry to advocate and spotlight women’s work and achievement in the waste sector.



WOW! at SOAR Program Breakfast for 8 March

Women of waste are delighted to present opening remarks at the Sustainable Operations and Readiness/Resource (SOAR) programe breakfast, hosted by the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) in New York on International Women's day 2019.

The highlight will be an all-female  panel of women owned firms representing composting, waste removal, information technology and goods. We are lookig forward to the discussion on the new SOAR possibiltiies as well.

The DSNY agency is reaching out to strategic partners in both the private and public sector,  in order to bolster their newly relaunched Minority-owned / Women-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBEs) program.

WOW! welcomes support of women entrepreneurs in the waste sector, which offers a lucrative and rewarding business potential. We will be highlighting successfull female-led businesses over the next months on Facebook, with examples from Nigeria, Sweden, Crete, Bangalore and more. A little inspiration goes a long way!

We want to wish all Women Of Waste around the world:


About Women of Waste

Women make a strong contribution to this sector from the home front and as engineers, coordinators, policymakers. There are women pioneers, activists, recyclers, researchers as well as high-level managers and ministers of government – women are out there, but just not very visible. Women of Waste wants to change that.


We want to support and spotlight women’s work and achievement in the waste sector. WoW was conceived at the ISWA World Congress in Novi Sad in 2016 by Gali Feldboy-Klinger (Israel), Maria Taskona (Greece) with Georgina Nitzsche (ISWA) and later joined by Frida Jones (Sweden) and Gabriella Garces (Peru/Germany), for more names click here. Since then we have been joined by other great women, we reviewed the range of the female contribution to the industry and set out our ambitions for the way forward.

Our Mission

  • To create an online network or forum
  • To conduct research on women in the sector
  • To provide supportive tools
  • To offer capacity building training for professional development
  • To share inspiring stories from women worldwide (and their male supporters)
  • To run advocacy campaigns to promote awareness and visibility of women
  • To highlight options for a rewarding career in sustainable waste management

Founding Members

Georgina Nitzsche 

Events Manager

International Solid Waste Association ISWA


Georgina Nitzsche recently came to waste management from the Development sector, working in professional communication on issues of human security, capacity building and community engagement in Europe, Western Asia and the Middle East for civil society, government and international organizations such as the UNDP, UNICEF and Women without Borders. Already convinced that women hold a strong potential to change consumption and resource management at home, Georgina is really excited to see that women have a powerful role to play directly via the waste sector – especially when given the right support. She joined ISWA’s Communication, Marketing Events department in Spring 2016 and is the ISWA point-of-contact for WOW!

Maria Tsakona

International Waste Management Consultant


Maria Tsakona is an Environmental Engineer (MSc) with more than 10 years of experience in directing and managing environmental engineering projects in the field of solid waste management: formulation of waste management plans and strategies, reuse and recycling programs, environmental impact assessment studies and feasibility studies. She has participated in several EU funded projects and has experience in Information and Communication (ICT) tools in environmental management. During the past seven years, Maria had the opportunity to participate in several international conferences and projects, which had contributed in increasing her understanding of major global waste management challenges and opportunities. Although there have been several issues that have attracted Maria’s attention, she has chosen to focus on two: marine litter and women of the waste sector.


Read an interview with Maria Tsakona in ISWA Newsletter

Frida Jones, Ph.D. 

Researcher and Project Manager

RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden


Frida Jones is a researcher at SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden with a PhD in inorganic chemistry focusing on characterisation of solid waste for combustion, and waste combustion chemistry. Parts of her PhD work were conducted in Canada and Frida has also worked with waste-related projects in Brazil, India, and South Africa. Frida has worked with waste related questions since 2007, and has recently been the coordinator of the EU-funded FP7-project Wastecosmart, working with innovations in the waste management area together with six other European countries. Frida hopes that the Women in Waste-initiative can strengthen women’s position in the waste world, and also make their work more visible. 



Dr. rer. nat. Gabriela Garcés S.

Consultant & Researcher - Environ. Res. Management, Water, Waste Ecosystems, Bioenergy

Project and Partnership Development, Training


Gabriela Garcés is a Peruvian biologist and environmental consultant with experience in applied research and development projects in the fields of waste treatment and management, water quality, reuse, hygiene, watershed management and environmental quality assessments. She worked in Germany, Central America and Peru with local governments, NGOs and international organizations in interdisciplinary projects, participatory planning processes and advising the private sector and decision makers on residue management and ecosystem protection. As independent consultant she is committed to knowledge transfer and capacity building, providing expertise and building networks for project development, and splits her time between Germany and Peru. Gabriela earned her doctoral degree in natural sciences at the Technical University of Munich, and studied Sustainable Resource Management. 

Previous Events

27th September 2017 - The Official Launch


Launch of Women of Waste group at the ISWA World Congress in Baltimore on the 27th September 2017.


View the image gallery on WoW Facebook page here. 



the following photos courtesy of The Solid Waste Association of North America SWANA. 


To view the whole ISWA World Congress & WASTECON® 2017 Photo Gallery, please visit the official website of the event. 



November 2017 - WOW! Sessions in Italy and Hungary


We are delighted that Women of Waste – WOW! were in the spotlight twice in November – in Hungary at the 5th ÖKOINDUSTRIA International Environmental Industry and in Italy during Ecomondo 2017.



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.


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.



You can view the original version of this article in ISWA Global News Issue 50, November 2017.




May 2018- WOW! Session at ifat Munich

Women of Waste hosted a pop up session at IFAT Munich 2018 at the ISWA booth. Presenting were two co-founders of Women of Waste, Maria Tsakona and Dr. rer. nat. Gabriela Garcés S. Moderator: Georgina Nitzsche. 


You can view the photo gallery on our Facebook page too.




Women of Waste at the ISWA World Congress 2018

special session: 8:30 - 10:30, 23 October 2018, Meeting room 306

This session brings the UN Environment’s International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC) in Osaka, Japan, GRID – Arendal Foundation of Norway together with Women of Waste.


This is a first-of-a kind-session challenging waste managers to recognize the different effects and impacts of gender and to advance gender mainstreaming in the waste management sector.


With presentations, case-stories and interviews, this multi-media interactive session offers a lively and thought-provoking wide-angle view on how men and women experience waste as well as ways to improve the status quo for everyone.


>> Click here to download the Session Programme


Watch the video introduction to the World Congress 2018, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; it features all the main topics including the Women of Waste session and gives a snappy overview of all that you expect over the three-day event!


>> Watch on YouTube channel

Gallery of Women of Waste

Kat Heinrich, Senior Consultant at Rawtec

Katherine Heinrich is passionate about improving waste and resource management practices on loval and global levels. She works at Rawtec, acts as Chair and Lead to the ISWA Young Professionals Group, and runs a blog tackling the topic of food waste management in cities 'Beyond Food Waste'. Kat Heinrich recently won the annual Green Industries SA Women in Waste Award. 


Link to the Award announcement in Inside Waste



Dr María Mendiluce, MD at WBCSD


Dr María Mendiluce, Managing Director at World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), developed the Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative (LCTPi) – which brings over 180 global companies together to deliver the transition to a low-carbon world. Her work in climate and the circular economy has helped businesses across the world understand the economic opportunities associated with the sustainability and the “circular mindset.”


Watch her TEDxDonauinselSalon talk about circular economy tackling the climate challenge




Photo source: New York Times on YouTube

Kathryn Garcia, Commissioner, New York City Sanitation


Appointed in March 2014, Commissioner Kathryn Garcia leads the nation’s largest municipal waste management agency and its 9,700 uniformed and civilian employees. After her appointment as the Department’s 43rd commissioner, Garcia set an ambitious long-term goal for New York City: send zero waste to landfills by 2030.


Video "Where Does New York City's Trash Go?" by The New York Times featuring an interview with Kathryn Garcia



Photo source: the Repair Café Website

Martine Postma, Founder of the Repair Café

Since 2007, Martine Postma has been striving for sustainability at a local level in many ways. Postma organised the very first Repair Café in Amsterdam on October 18, 2009, which has since then became an international movement with over 1.300 Repair Cafés existing worldwide under the patronage of the Repair Café Foundation. 


Link to the official Repair Café website



Photo credit: Kathryn Kellogg

Kathryn Kellogg, Author at Going Zero Waste


Kathryn Kellogg started transitioning to sustainable living back in college after experiencing health issues. Since then Kellogg has completely embraced the Zero Waste way and embarked on a journey to share her experiences and educate others about living consciously. 


Visit Going Zero Waste blog


Photo source: Nordic Business Forum

Selina Juul, Founder of Stop Wasting Food 


Selina Juul founded Stop Wasting Food (Stop Spild Af Mad), Denmark's largest movement against food waste, in 2008. Originally from Russia, Selina Juul was shocked to see the amount of wasted food in Denmark after she arrived in the country at the age of 13. Her work became pivotal in reducing Denmark's food waste by 25% in the last five years.


Visit Selina Juul's official website 



Photo source: Zero Waste Home

Bea Johnson, a Zero Waste Lifestyle leader


Bea Johnson adopted the Zero Waste lifestyle in 2008 and quickly became internationally recognised as the Zero Waste expert through her website and book, Zero Waste Home. She proposes a simple rule of 5R’s of generating as little waste as possible: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot (and only in that order).

Visit the official Zero Waste Home website



Photo source: Waste Dive

Jo-Anne Perkins, VP of Environmental Systems and Services at Cascade Cart Solutions


Jo-Anne Perkins joined the family business and worked various roles until her late 20s, when she left to start her own company in the waste sector. After 13 years she sold her business and joined Cascade Engineering. She initiated the pink cart program in association with the American Cancer Society. 


Read an interview with Jo-Anne Perkins on Waste Dive



Photo source: the Ministry of Waste

Samanta Skrivere, Co-Founder of the Ministry of Waste


The idea of Ministry of Waste was born during a trip in the Philippines which left Samanta Skrivere with a strong feeling of wanting to do something about the beach waste issue. After 8 years spent in different roles within the IT industry and volunteering with various startups, she took the jump into the polluted waters of our oceans. The Ministry of Waste is a social venture facilitating contact between disadvantaged communities in Asia, which collect the plastic waste polluting local beacher for reselling, and waste industry innovators and global leaders of sustainability, who make use of the material. 


View the official Ministry of Waste website