On the Road to Zero Waste. Successes and Lessons from Around the World
- Zero waste -
Zero waste is both a goal and a plan of action. The goal is to ensure resource recovery and protect scarce natural resources by ending waste disposal in incinerators, dumps, and landfills. The plan encompasses waste reduction, composting, recycling and reuse, changes in consumption habits, and industrial redesign. But just as importantly, zero waste is a revolution in the relationship between waste and people. It is a new way of thinking that aims to safeguard the health and improve the lives of everyone who produces, handles, works with, or is affected by waste—in other words, all of us.
GAIA Asia Pacific, in partnership with Mother Earth Foundation (MEF) Philippines, has been conducting a capacity-building workshop to capacitate members of the network and government officials to implement a community Zero Waste program since 2017.
Called Zero Waste Academy (ZWA), the workshop is an immersive 10-day course aimed at capacitating members and other stakeholders on how to implement a Zero Waste program in their respective cities and communities. Putting emphasis on experiential learning, the course provides a well-thought out mix of lectures, hands-on exercises, site visits and community engagements, demo-sessions, and networking opportunities.
Thus far, five in-person ZWAs have been conducted from 2017 to 2019.
In 2020-2022, GAIA Asia Pacific and MEF conducted other iterations of the academy, albeit virtually because of the lockdowns imposed by governments. Yaksa Pelestari Bumi Berkelanjutan (YPBB) Bandung likewise held other Zero Waste Academies on their own to support AZWI members in implementing Zero Waste in their communities.
As in any workshop, an essential measure of success of the workshop is how the graduates apply in their own contexts the lessons and skills they gained from their participation. GAIA Asia Pacific is immensely proud that five years since the first in-person ZWA, and three years since the last one, many of our graduates continued to champion Zero Waste in their own communities and countries, and many of them even spearheaded innovative and impactful Zero Waste initiatives and/or led campaigns such as plastic-free and anti-waste-to-energy (WtE) campaigns.
This publication is an initial attempt to document our graduates' work to understand the academy's impact on their work and their communities. This volume is not exhaustive — our intention is to periodically check on our graduates to celebrate their success in their own communities.
May you be inspired by our initial offering. Our graduates, without a doubt, are making the world a better place. But do not take our word for it; read the pages of our publication and see for yourself!