Since there are no currently active contests, we have switched Climate CoLab to read-only mode.
Learn more at
Skip navigation
Share via:


A circular model of waste management in cities will facilitate diversion of collected waste from disposal sites to recycling practices.


Summary / Résumé

Waste has always been considered to be a nuisance in most cities and societies, forgetting that these wastes themselves may be turned into gold or something much more valuable that will boost the economies of countries and cities within the Global South. Thus, my proposal seeks to champion for the creation of recycling points for waste sorting and subsequent recycling, and compositing facilities for organic waste treatment. My proposal also seeks to provide opportunities for research and operationalization of new recycling technologies, and strengthening the existing recycling industries. The recycling and reusing of waste will substantially reduce the amount of disposed waste and related greenhouse gas emissions, and promote a framework for private sector participation. Though this is an existing project in Kenya, and implementation is underway, i believe this practise and initiative could be replicated in the entire Global South, or other developed cities,(even Montreal) itself.

What actions do you propose? / Quelles actions proposez-vous?

To ensure planning and implementation of this proposal, here are the actions that I propose.

Infrastructure development is the core action. This involves the development of infrastructure to collect and recycle 600 tonnes of waste per day in each of the major cities in the global south. It is under this phase that we establish recycling points and compositing facilities; and pilot new recycling processes, with existing waste collection companies managing the recycling points.

  1. Develop ten recycling centers: the relevant stakeholders should acquire land for the set-up of recycling points. The various national governments should also be involved to provide land for these purposes. Since the recycling points will enable subsequent recycling activities, relevant stakeholders should be called upon to provide grant funding for their infrastructure.
  2. Develop ten compositing facilities: the relevant stakeholders, in partnership with governments should provide funding to acquire land for the ten compositing facilities.  They should also establish relevant infrastructure, and importantly, purchase equipment such as trucks that will facilitate the transportation of wastes from their places of disposal.  Importantly, the relevant stakeholders should facilitate and ensure the employment of more climate friendly compositing technology.
  3. Develop new or improve current technologies to increase recyclable fractions and improve recycling processes: The relevant stakeholders, in partnership with governments should also provide subsidies, as appropriate, for the upgrading or replacement of existing recycling technologies.
  4. Establish markets for the recycled goods: Establishment of markets for the recycled goods is critical to the development of the recycling industries. Also, adequate advertisement and marketing should be made to the public, for them to embrace the new goods.

Which types of stakeholders are involved, in which way? / Quels types de parties prenantes sont impliqués, de quelle façon?

Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources within the Global South States – oversight of project implementation and monitoring.

Local Governments within the Global South States – provision of waste management services to all residents, and ensuring all waste is collected and dumped at designated sites.

Waste Standardization Companies – development of regulations and standards for products generated through recycling, and standards for compost.

Waste Management Associations – capacity building for private sector members, and licensing of waste collection companies.

Private sector – contracted by the national/local governments to collect and recycle waste. This could entail investors I recycling and compositing facilities.

ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability - Local Governments for Sustainability - oversight on project implementation, funding where necessary and moral support.

How could the actions be scaled up at the neighborhood or city level? / Comment serait-il possible d'augmenter la portée des actions à l'échelle des quartiers ou de la ville?

Realistically, my proposal has focused on global south states at large. However, this action could be restricted to a given city or town. All that we have to do is come up with a city in mind and oversee the implementation of this project within that specific city. Be that as it may, it is possible to apply the same action to a neighboring city or any other given city within the globe. The proposal is thus flexible, and can be scaled up whenever need be.

What impact will these actions have on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change? / Quels impacts auront ces actions sur la réduction des émissions de gaz à effet de serre et l'adaptation aux changements climatiques?

Importantly, the project implementation will be the first step towards transforming every city’s disposal-driven waste sector to one of recycling and compositing. This will divert at least 90% of collected waste from disposal sites to recycling practices by creating affordable waste collection services at the price of approximately US$1 per household each month. Through the recycling of up to 600 tonnes, (depending on the city), of waste each day there will be a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by more than 800,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent over the 15-year project period. As if that is not, in curbing climate change, the project will see into it that there is no combustion of waste that may lead to pollution of the air, thus causing global warming. This will be a landmark proposal in curbing climate change.

What are the other environmental, economic or social benefits? / Quels sont les autres bénéfices environnementaux, économiques et sociaux?

Environmental benefits – improved quality of air, water and soil through the reduction of illegally dumped waste.

Social benefits – improved livelihoods and health benefits, especially for the urban poor, accruing from a cleaner environment.

Economic benefits – creation of around 1000 skilled and semi-skilled jobs, of which half of those jobs target women and youth.

Growth and development – improved access to state-of-the-art recycling and compositing technologies, leading to process efficiency; improved capacity to develop and implement solid waste management projects; improved capacity of small and medium enterprises in recycling and compositing.

What are the most innovative aspects and main strengths of this approach? / Quels sont les aspects novateurs et les principales forces de cette approche?

Some fundamental and heart-warming aspects about my proposal is that it is economically, politically and socially viable. Also, it is a proposal that is simple, concise, practical, relevant universally applicable. The proposal is also feasible, and its impact is monumental. The proposal will also help attain a higher number of SDGs: SDG No. 1 (No poverty), SDG No. 3(Good Health and Well-being), No. 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), No. 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), No. 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), No. 13 (Climate Action), and No. 17 (Partnership for the Goals).

What are the proposal’s projected costs? / Quels sont les coûts projetés de la proposition?

The total project is estimated at US$25 million. Approximately US$15 million is to be funded from international sources (US$8 million in grants and US$7 million in loans). The government of each country is to provide US$8 million, with the private sector contributing US$2 million.

The international grant contribution will support the establishment of infrastructure for 10 recycling points and 10 compositing facilities in each of the major cities; compost market development; implementation of new technologies; support to recycling industries; development of recyclable standards; and project management. The loans will be provided to the private sector to support the purchase of land and establishment of recycling and compositing facilities. Moreover, the national finance will also be critical to purchasing land for recycling points and compositing plants, and to support the project management unit.

What are the potential challenges or obstacles? / Quels sont les défis ou les obstacles potentiels?

In every project, there must always be challenges during implementation. Importantly, in most countries within the global south, the dumping sites have always provided home and a source of livelihoods for street children who obtain their daily bread from there. Implementation of this proposal may thus see these street children lose this source of revenue. They may thus not easily let go off these dumping sites. Also, due to the monumental financial support needed for this project, there may be misappropriation of funds by the private sector and the national governments. Adequate monitoring and oversight should thus be done, and there also ought to be accountability for every single cent used.

About the authors / À propos des auteur(e)s

Atela Finney Israel is a second year undergraduate student at the Technical University of Kenya.  Israel studies International Relations and Diplomacy, and has also taken keen interest in Climate Resiliency, Energy Dynamics and Sustainable Development. As a social scientist, Israel seeks to come up with solutions that will later on led to a peaceful, and sustainable world. One of Israel's proposals "Media Houses for Communication Awareness on the 17SDGs hit the semi-finalist.

Mokaya Ian Moturi is also a second year undergraduate student at the Technical University of Kenya. Ian studies Civil Engineering and his key motivation is also a peaceful and serene world. In so doing, he co-authored with Israel in one of the Climate CoLab proposals. It is entitled "Media Houses and Institutions for Communication Awareness on the17 SDGs". As undergraduate students and youths, we seek to be transformative and lead the new generations in coming up with solutions for the world’s major challenges.

References / Références