Respect for Recyclers: Protecting the Climate through Zero Waste

Reducing, reusing, and recycling municipal waste is one of the easiest and most effective means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It also provides gainful employment to millions of people in the developing world, mostly in the informal sector (“wastepickers”). Yet rather than supporting these efforts, climate funds such as the Clean Development Mechanism are subsidizing incinerators and landfill gas systems, which compete directly with recycling and increase emissions, unemployment, and public costs. A new, non-market, climate finance mechanism is needed to support the formalization and expansion of the informal recycling sector.

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