We're intended to create a holistic systemic approach and processes on waste reduction which is easily adaptable to any country.
Climate Change is a global problem and instead of fighting the consequences we are intended to work on the root cause, which is us, the human. From all the people around the world only a handful of us understands how our everyday actions and waste creation impact the climate, and we want to change this in the core.
We propose to take a holistic approach on waste reduction:
- starting with youth education using the innovative environmental game Eco-Buddy which will change the human behaviour towards the waste;
- educating consumers on product packaging importance and recycling options;
- creating a sustainability waste management tool for businesses to assess and improve their performance;
creating a platform where excess materials from manufacturing/operations can be sold;
creating a systemic approach on waste management for cities to be implement.
All the actions are intended to be created in a way that it’s easy to reapply in any other city and country.
If we take, for example, the food waste - it is 1/3 of all the food produced (1.3 billion tons of food is wasted every year). The food sector accounts for around 30% of the world’s total energy consumption and for around 22% of total Greenhouse Gas emissions. 1/3 of it is wasted! And much more bigger impact on Climate Change is created when we consider waste created by other industries (apparel, automotive, wood industry etc.).
By taking the above actions we will achieve the following UN Sustainability goals:
- Sustainable cities and communities
- Responsible consumption and production
- Climate action
- Life below water
- Life on land
- Partnerships for the goals.
Waste is occurring in all areas and resulting in threatening impact to CC. This is the reason why waste reduction should be also included into UN Sustainability goals.
What actions do you propose?
Waste is a global and complex problem what needs to be addressed as a system. It needs to be broken down into stages creating the process for each stage and finding the touchpoint to bring it all together. The key is to involve all the people not only governments, which make high level decisions.
We propose to take a holistic approach on waste reduction:
· Youth behaviour change towards the waste using the innovative environmental program Eco-Buddy (www.eco-buddy.com). The program includes a unique game (this program is the national winner of Climate Launchpad and among the top 100 products which will tackle the Climate Change https://climatelaunchpad.org/finalists/eco-buddy/) and 16 recommended class programs on how to teach about the waste in creative and engaging manner. This is essential step when thinking about our future generation. The future of our planet will be determined by the way we raise our children and form their thinking and understanding about the environmental issues and the importance of the Climate Change. We have tested that playing the game gives immediate awareness and makes people think about the waste issues and take the actions. This awareness fosters systemic thinking and future business creation in more sustainable manner.
· Educating consumers on product packaging importance and recycling options. Improving the labelling on the packages showing how each element needs to be recycled will help in several ways. First of all it will make producers to focus and analyse the packaging they are using for their products and how it can be recycled. Second, it will make the recycling easier for the consumers who often get confused about it. This project can be brought even a step further by, for example, indicating what the percentage of the packaging in the product is. How2Recycle: The next generation recycling label for packaging
· Creating a sustainability waste management tool for businesses to assess and improve their performance. This is essential as a useful aid which can be used in any business. It will help in several ways:
- To assess how much waste the company is creating;
- To assess what is the amount of the avoidable waste;
- Helps to make decisions on reducing the waste.
· Creating a platform where excess materials from manufacturing/operations can be sold. This platform would foster circular economy by reusing the materials which are the left-overs in one company but valuable resource material for other. Encouraging and making easily accessible this excess materials market will save the virgin material which would be used without this opportunity.
· Creating a systemic approach on waste management for cities to be implemented. Many countries and cities around the world are new to waste management and it is essential to guide them during the process. Rwandan Cities toward waste GHG emissions-free by 2035 with Rwanda Blue!Points is a good starting point and can be used as a basis of creating the process which can be scaled.
· Dealing with food waste. Producers and retailers need to be made responsible for food waste.
- Due to EU funding it is beneficial for farmers to, for example, plant potatoes and afterwards leave them on the field instead of picking them and selling for small fee. It doesn’t happen often but there are examples of that. This shouldn’t be accepted.
- The amount of allowed food waste in production should be regulated. This would lead to more sustainable thinking of producers finding the solutions how to use the current waste themselves, donate or sell it.
- The amount of allowed food waste in retail should be regulated. Retailers are also significant food waste creators. And there are several reasons for that like issues in the supply chain/storing, poor category/product management in the store, legislation of labelling. And to each issue is the solution. For example if product is past its “best before” date, this product can be sold with 70% discount or donated instead of throwing out. For retailers a systemic recommendation tool can be created.
Donating. The system should be created where retailers, producers and consumers can donate their food. It can be made through collaboration with charity organizations. Some food which is not suitable for humans can be donated to animal shelters or farmers.
· Political regulations. There are over 1 million plastic bags consumed worldwide per minute and most of it ends up in landfills or nature, polluting it over 1000 of years each while it degrades. And other plastic packaging makes similar harm. To address it we propose to implement the following regulations:
- Eliminating free small plastic bags from shops or;
- Allowing only biodegradable plastic bags. In this case the recommendation would not be to use biodegradable plastic (for example from corn) while producing it the harm to environment is done by degrading the soil, using GMO etc., but to use traditional plastic with additives which makes the plastic biodegradable;
- To create the legislation where at least 5% of sold goods would be without packaging;
- To create the legislation of what is the maximum allowed amount of packaging compared to raw product (amounts should be defined according to product categories).
Who will take these actions and which types of actors are involved?
The activities of the projects included in the proposal will be taken by respective authors:
- Kelly Cramer on How2Recycle: The next generation recycling label for packaging
Eco-Buddy is going to take project leadership and work on the other 2 points integrating the educational game and creating the system for businesses to use for sustainability and waste monitoring as well as trade platform for companies to sell their excess materials.
We propose to create a working group on UN level to bring this project to the highest level and make it adaptable to most of the countries.
To create working systemic approach, the contributors to the project would include: producers, waste management organizations, recyclers, retailers, consumers/households, governments, UN and Eco-Buddy.
Where will these actions be taken and how could they scale?
These actions will be taken in several places according to the authors of the proposals (US/Canada, Cameroon and Rwanda). The two other steps of educational programs and business system creation are created and first implemented in Baltic countries, then moving to Europe and other markets.
We intend to create the system in collaboration with UN working group what will be scalable to any market.
In addition, specify the countries where these actions will be taken.
What impact will these actions have on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapting to climate change?
Food waste is 1/3 of all the food produced (1.3 billion tons of food is wasted every year). The food sector accounts for around 30% of the world’s total energy consumption and for around 22% of total Greenhouse Gas emissions. By taking a holistic approach where producers, retailers, consumers and municipalities are involved, it’s possible to cut the avoidable food waste by up to 70% in the next 10 years in countries where the system is applied.
By reducing the food waste even by 50%, it would save:
- 15% of world’s total energy;
- Reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions by 11%.
Let’s take our clothe usage habit. If we’d extend or clothing usage just for 3 months, we’d reduce carbon, water and waste footprints by up to 10%.
The same applies to wasting the water, electricity and other.
What are the most innovative aspects and main strengths of this approach?
The innovation of this approach is that no unified system about the waste reduction has been created so far. By developing this systemic approach the following goals will be achieved.
- Reach their recycling goals;
- Reach goals on environmental education;
- Reach goals on Climate Change mitigation;
- Save land by mitigating useless overproduction.
- Gain full control about their waste creation and management;
- Reduce the costs and earn by lessening the waste and managing resources more wisely;
- Gain green image.
- Get cleaner environment;
- Gain understanding of CC and their actions impacting the environment;
- Save money by making smarter shopping and consumption choices.
- New jobs will be created.
What are the proposal’s projected costs?
About the Authors
The author of this proposal holds Master degree in International business and economic relations from University of Latvia. She has more than 14 years of experience in international business in FMCH and sustainability.
What enabling environment would be required in order to implement this proposal?
To create a systemic approach which can be scaled to any market, there would be required a creation of UN working group where experts are contributing to the holistic proposal. After the project testing in the first market local government support would be needed to work out the policies and implement them.
The school program of the behaviour change is ready to be implemented already at this stage.
For creating a sustainability waste management tool for businesses to assess and improve their performance the funding is required. This tool would benefit not only business but the whole waste reduction system moving us towards the circular economy.