Zero Waste Day
The United Nations General Assembly, in its seventy-seventh session, adopted the resolution “Promoting zero-waste initiatives to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” on 14 December 2022, which proclaims 30 March as the International Day of Zero Waste, to be observed annually. The resolution, put forward by Türkiye with 105 other countries, was adopted unanimously by the UNGA.
The resolution invites United Nations Environment Programme and UN-Habitat to facilitate the observance of the Zero Waste Day. As part of these efforts, the One Planet Network is pulling together relevant policies, projects, and resources from across thousands of organisations, providing a growing hub of relevant, zero waste resources.
"We cannot continue to take from the Earth’s belly with abandon and then simply discard into the environment when we are done. It is unconscionable that we continue to throw away valuable metals, resources, and food when we are so clearly in debt to the planet and inequality is on the rise world over.”
– Ms. Inger Andersen , Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
“Cities worldwide are on the search for solutions to the mountains of waste we generate every day. We need a paradigm shift in thinking about how to scale down this mountain! We must commit to reducing waste at the individual, community, national and international levels. We can improve the quality of life for people and empower everyone to act towards zero waste.”
– Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)
Mismanaged waste aggravates the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution. In 2020, the world generated 2.24 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste, of which 45% is mismanaged. Our current production and consumption patterns harm the environmental and human health.
Zero waste is an approach to change our behaviour to achieve responsible production and consumption as well as accelerate the shift towards a circular system. This can foster inclusive and sound waste management that minimize and prevent waste. To achieve zero waste, all stakeholders – including national and local governments, civil society, the private sector, academia, communities, women and youth – must act.
Promoting zero-waste initiatives can help advance all the goals and targets in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including Sustainable Development Goal 11 on making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable and Sustainable Development Goal 12 on ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns.
Adapting consumption patterns to embrace zero waste can provide economic benefits
A shift to a circular economy, which embraces zero waste, can save governments US$70 billion by 2040 and create 700,000 additional jobs.
Approximately US$100 billion worth of material in the textile industry can be saved annually with proper management.
Using renewable energy and materials can build resilience against natural disasters and the effects of the triple planetary crisis on resources.
Businesses can incentivize consumers to properly dispose of their products by offering trade-in, re-sale, collection drives or other benefits. This can also build trust among consumers and establish brand loyalty.
Harnessing Zero Waste Knowledge
Harnessing Zero Waste Knowledge
The first annual International Day of Zero Waste takes place on 30 March 2023. The One Planet Network is taking the opportunity to leverage the vast knowledge across the network dedicated to topics like zero waste, waste management, and waste disposal.
Users can search through all waste-related projects, resources and policies below, using interactive filters to find the content most relevant and applicable to their particular context.
All users are furthermore encouraged to submit their content to this growing hub of zero waste knowledge expertise.
Zero Waste Knowledge Hub
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Next Steps: Tackling Plastic Litter - A Nudging Strategy for Reducing Consumption of Single‑Use Disposable Cups