The Inflation Reduction Act: A pivotal opportunity to push back against false solutions

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) channels $270 billion in tax credits for climate investments but raises concerns about incineration—a false solution to waste disposal that could generate 637.7 million tonnes of CO2e emissions over two decades, further harming the environment and disadvantaged communities.

By: Marcel Howard (Zero Waste Program Manager, US/Canada) and Jessica Roff (Plastics & Petrochemicals Program Manager, US/Canada)

Key Highlights

  • The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is primarily a tax bill. Of the promised $369 billion in climate investments, $270 billion will come in the form of tax credits1
  • Incineration is one of the most polluting and expensive waste disposal systems. Industry2 often greenwashes incineration as  “waste-to-energy”3 despite producing minimal amounts of usable energy and massive energy input
  • By measuring the lifecycle climate impacts of incineration accurately, the Department of the Treasury can deny polluting facilities billions in tax credits intended for actual sustainable energy solutions and ultimately delay or block their construction or expansion
  • If industry succeeds in propping up incinerators for 20 years, they will produce 637.7 million tonnes of climate-change-inducing CO2e emissions and further exacerbate toxic pollution and environmental racism4
  • Pairing new subsidies for incinerators with incentives for EVs is perverse
  • Turning waste, including fossil fuel-derived plastics, into jet fuel is dangerous and does not decarbonize air travel 
  • Two-thirds of US incinerators are located in states that include incineration in their renewable energy portfolio
  • The IRA allocated billions of dollars in lending subsidies specifically meant to drive reinvestment in low-wealth and environmental justice communities. Environmental justice, frontline, and fenceline groups should consider applying for these IRA lending programs


The United States (US) has a waste problem compounded by a plastic problem. For decades, we have been handling our waste in ways that harm communities, our climate, and the natural world. Federal, state, and municipal governments continue to site waste incinerators of all forms in Black, brown, indigenous, and lower-wealth communities — plaguing them with decades of harmful air emissions, high levels of greenhouse gasses, toxic waste, accidents, and other health and safety-related concerns. From fossil fuel extraction to final waste product disposal, the entire production process damages these communities and numerous others. Across the board, incineration is one of the most polluting and expensive waste disposal systems.

Industry often greenwashes incineration as  “waste-to-energy” despite producing minimal amounts of usable energy and leverages this greenwashing to access billions of dollars in federal, state, and local green, renewable, and sustainable energy subsidies and tax breaks.
Against this backdrop, the Biden Administration signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law on August 16, 2022. Many agencies are already approving and funding false solutions under the IRA. The Department of Energy (DOE) is funding new carbon capture programs at nearly $3.5 billion and allocating $1.2 billion of Justice40 money to develop direct air capture facilities. We are in a pivotal moment where the US must decide if it will take critical steps to lower greenhouse gas and toxic emissions and move toward a truly sustainable future or will continue to subsidize the dirtiest industries to annually emit millions of tonnes of new CO2 and other dangerous air pollutants.

IRA Overview

The Biden Administration claims its 755-page IRA is the most comprehensive climate bill in US history that is supposed to “make a historic commitment to build a new clean energy economy.” Its provisions on climate change mitigation, clean energy, and energy innovation dominate headlines, as it raises nearly $800 billion from multiple sources. President Biden said, “With this law, the American people won and the special interests lost.” To ensure this is true and stop the incinerator lobby and other special interests from cashing in on a new pool of taxpayer money, the federal government must implement critical changes to its business-as-usual model.

The IRA is primarily a tax bill. Of the promised $369 billion in climate investments, $270 billion will come in the form of tax credits. Before the IRA, Congress awarded tax credits to specific technologies (including incinerators) regardless of greenhouse gas emissions or community harm. Beginning in 2025, however, their eligibility will depend entirely on the Department of Treasury (Treasury) determining that they are zero-emission technologies. By measuring the lifecycle climate impacts of incineration accurately, Treasury can deny polluting facilities billions in tax credits intended for actual sustainable energy solutions and ultimately delay or block their construction or expansion.

Threats & False Solutions

Lifelines to Old, Failing Incinerators

Corporate polluters are corrupting the IRA, lobbying to weaken its rules and definitions to qualify for billions in new subsidies to expand and retrofit existing incinerators, most of which have been operating for an average of 32 years. It is nearly impossible to construct new conventional incinerators due to cost and community opposition, so industry is focused on expansion and modification. If industry succeeds in propping up incinerators for 20 years, they will produce 637.7 million tonnes of climate-change-inducing CO2e emissions and further exacerbate toxic pollution and environmental racism. 

Codifying False and Greenwashed Definitions

The incinerator lobby’s goal is to maximize subsidies, profits, and expansion and to use the IRA and other climate bills as a subsidized path to an undeserved sustainable image upgrade. In the context of the IRA, federal agencies such as the Treasury, the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can either categorize incineration as the dirty, expensive, polluting process it is or bolster industry’s claims that incineration produces sustainable energy. If the federal government supports industry’s definitions in the earliest stages of IRA implementation, they will frame agency action and provide billions in tax credits, likely being codified for many climate laws, including the IRA.

IRA Breakdown & Opportunities for the Incinerator Lobby 

The incinerator lobby is working to undermine all aspects of the IRA, specifically focusing on (1) the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), (2) Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), and (3) IRA lending programs. 

Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)

In consultation with the Department of Agriculture and DOE, EPA implements the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. The RFS program is a “national policy that requires a certain volume of renewable fuel to replace or reduce the quantity of petroleum-based transportation fuel, heating oil, or jet fuel.” The four renewable fuel categories under the RFS are biomass-based diesel, cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel. Although long limited to liquid fuels like ethanol, Biden’s EPA is in the process of allowing electricity from certain types of bioenergy to generate eligible credits. Under the current proposal, electric vehicle manufacturers would contract with power producers to generate highly profitable RFS credits.

Pairing new subsidies for incinerators with incentives for EVs is perverse. While support for electric vehicles is vital, it must not be fueled by dirty energy nor sacrifice frontline and fenceline communities. Incinerator interests recently launched a lobbying campaign to secure these incentives. Fortunately, EPA is not required to allow incinerator electricity into the program and has recently tabled an industry-backed eligibility proposal. But, only public pressure on Biden’s EPA and key Administration climate deciders will ensure they don’t approve such proposals.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) 

As one of the most generous IRA incentives, the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Tax Credit (SAF) poses an urgent environmental justice concern. The credit increases in value for lower lifecycle emissions fuels. Treasury’s implementation will determine if this approach succeeds or fails. Industry interests are pushing to make the credit friendlier– and more lucrative–to a new generation of incinerators masquerading behind greenwashing like “pyrolysis,”  “chemical or advanced recycling,” and “plastic-to-fuel.” Turning waste, including fossil fuel-derived plastics, into jet fuel is dangerous and does not decarbonize air travel. 

Although the new aviation production tax credit theoretically excludes petroleum-based feedstocks like plastic, industry is pressuring the Administration to interpret the law to maximize benefits for incineration-based aviation fuels. President Biden and Treasury must decisively determine that plastic-derived fuel — including that derived from pyrolysis oil or any other product of chemical recycling/pyrolysis/gasification — is ineligible for these tax credits.

Lending Programs

The IRA allocated billions of new dollars to EPA and DOE, in particular, to expand existing lending programs and launch entirely new ones. Like the rest of the IRA, these programs’ climate and justice benefits depend on implementation. EPA is in charge of the new Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF), arguably the most important non-tax provision of the IRA. Worth $37 billion, it will be divided into three separate programs. EPA released broad, unenforceable guidelines in April 2023, suggesting they will focus lending on distributed generation, building decarbonization, and transport. These guidelines will not ensure the money is appropriately allocated, so EPA must prioritize applicants working on proven zero waste approaches. 

DOE is in charge of The Energy Infrastructure Reinvestment (EIR) Program, a new loan guarantee program with $250 billion that must be spent before 2026. It can fund energy infrastructure upgrades and the reopening of defunct energy infrastructure, both of which industry could coopt to support their ongoing incineration and chemical recycling plans. DOE must refuse to consider any incinerator applications to guarantee industry does not use loopholes to access clean energy tax credits. 

In July, the Republican-led House Appropriations Committee passed the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies budget for Fiscal Year 2024. Their budget supports chemical recycling while cutting massive amounts from EPA’s budget and the IRA’s environmental justice efforts, including a nearly $4 billion EPA budget cut (a 39% reduction over 2023), reneging on the IRA’s $1.35 billion promised in environmental and climate justice grants.

Call to Action 

The incinerator lobby is so desperate for money and a government-greenwashed reputation that they launched a new, big-money–astroturf5 network, including DC power brokers and local government enablers. The combined movements6 for climate justice don’t have industry money, but we have people power, the truth, and a prime opportunity to fight against this industry push. There are three key areas in which to counter industry’s agenda: (1) Treasury engagement, (2) state-level renewable portfolio standards, and (3)  IRA lending subsidies. 

Treasury Engagement

As the Washington Post exposed in May 2023, the incinerator industry is among polluting industries racing to position themselves as green to access billions in subsidies and tax credits. In the last year alone, industry launched two trade groups to push their message: the Waste-to-Energy Association and the Circular Economy Coalition. Both have made comments to access benefits for incinerators under the Inflation Reduction Act, or considered prioritizing it. Industry is dedicated to getting Treasury to qualify incinerators as renewable, despite overwhelming evidence that incinerators are extremely polluting. 

It is critical to engage with Treasury as it develops policies, rules, regulations, and procedures to implement the IRA. If Treasury determines this most costly and polluting form of energy is zero emission, it will set an appallingly low bar within the IRA that will exacerbate rather than address the climate crisis, perpetuating and compounding the issues we currently face, and permanently scarring the Biden Administration legacy.

State-level Renewable Portfolio Standards 

The IRA has broad implications, reaching far beyond the federal level of government. Defeating federal government incinerator giveaways in the IRA and other federal climate initiatives will strengthen communities fighting state and local government incinerator giveaways. Currently, different states provide a patchwork of policies and incentives related to incineration. Perhaps most notable are state Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). Twenty-nine states, the District of Columbia, and four US territories have an RPS. Each RPS has its own renewable electricity targets, defines what technologies qualify as renewable, designates particular technologies as higher or lower tier within the mix, and enables the trading or sale of renewable energy credits. Two-thirds of US incinerators are located in the 26 US states and territories that include incineration in their renewable energy portfolio. Showing industry’s power, scope, and connections at both the federal and state levels of government. It also shows an entrenched mentality that incineration is a clean energy solution. It is imperative that the IRA does not follow suit.

IRA Lending Subsidies

Along with Treasury engagement, environmental justice, frontline, and fenceline groups should consider applying to IRA lending programs. The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) and DOE’s Energy Infrastructure Reinvestment (EIR) Program offers billions of dollars for projects specifically meant to drive reinvestment in low-wealth and environmental justice communities. Both programs provide an opportunity to fund proven zero waste solutions that push back against false solutions, like incineration. 

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF): The GGRFis a $27 billion investment program designed to achieve the following: “ (1) Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants;  (2) deliver benefits of greenhouse gas, and air pollution-reducing projects specifically to low-wealth and disadvantaged communities; and (3)  mobilize financing and private capital to stimulate additional deployment of greenhouse gas and air pollution reducing projects.” The GGRF is being implemented via three grant competitions, which include: (1) the National Clean Investment Fund, (2) the Clean Communities Investment Accelerator, and (3) the Solar for All Fund.”7 

The National Clean Investment Fund: “The National Clean Investment Fund competition will provide grants to 2-3 national nonprofit clean financing institutions7 capable of partnering with the private sector to provide accessible, affordable financing for tens of thousands of clean technology projects across the country.To learn more about the program and how to apply, visit Application packages must be submitted on or before October 12, 2023, at 11:59 PM (Eastern Time) through

The Clean Communities Investment Accelerator: “The Clean Communities Investment Accelerator competition will provide grants to 2-7 hub nonprofits that will, in turn, deliver funding and technical assistance to build the clean financing capacity of local community lenders working in low-wealth and disadvantaged communities so that underinvested communities have the capital they need to deploy clean technology projects.” To learn more about the program and how to apply, visit Application packages must be submitted on or before October 12, 2023, at 11:59 PM (Eastern Time) through 

DOE Energy Infrastructure Reinvestment (EIR) Program: “The EIR Program provides $250 billion for projects that retool, repower, repurpose, or replace energy infrastructure that has ceased operations or enable operating energy infrastructure to avoid, reduce, utilize, or sequester air pollutants or greenhouse gas emissions.” To learn more about the program and how to apply, visit Individuals interested in applying should request a no-cost pre-application consultation with a member from DOE’s Loan Programs Office. 

USDA Empowering Rural America (New ERA) Program: “The ERA program provides $9.7 billion for projects that help rural Americans transition to clean, affordable, and reliable energy intending to improve health outcomes and lower energy costs for people in rural communities.” To learn more about the program and how to apply, visit Individuals interested in applying should submit a Letter of Interest (LOI) by September 15, 2023.  


On paper, the Biden Administration’s IRA may be the most comprehensive climate legislation in history, but it also has the immense potential to be a climate destroyer. We are at a crossroads where the Administration and all other levels of government have the power to use the IRA for its stated purpose to “confront the existential threat of the climate crisis and set forth a new era of American innovation and ingenuity to lower consumer costs and drive the global clean energy economy forward.” To make the promise a reality, the Administration — including all the executive agencies, particularly Treasury, Energy, and EPA — cannot succumb to industry greenwashing lobbying.

The Biden Administration must accurately measure the lifecycle climate and health impacts of all forms of incineration and its products (including pyrolysis and gasification) and unequivocally determine that it is not a source of clean energy or a safe way to make jet fuel. It will be up to our ever-expanding movement to hold the Administration accountable to the ideal of the IRA and ensure it is not another greenwashed handout to industry — and that its tax credits and funding go to sustainable solutions that benefit the Black, brown, indigenous, and low wealth communities as it initially intended. 

For more information on the Inflation Reduction Act and its lending programs, visit our fact sheet here.

  1. As a tax bill, the categories and definitions of processes are critical because they will determine if a process is covered under it. Historically, there have been some good and some bad determinative definitions (including currently for chemical recycling). ↩︎
  2.  Industry refers to the plastics, incinerator, fossil fuel, and chemical industries who are all perpetuating the plastic waste problem ↩︎
  3.  Industry labels waste-to-energy (WTE) a number of different ways including: plastic-to-fuel (PTF), plastic-to-energy (PTE), refuse-derived-fuel, etc. ↩︎
  4.  This is entirely dependent on if the federal government places incinerators into favorable categories for purposes of massive amounts of tax credits and de facto subsidies. ↩︎
  5.  Astroturfing is the practice of hiding the sponsors of a message or organization (e.g., political, advertising, religious, or public relations) to make it appear as though it originates from, and is supported by, grassroots participants. ↩︎
  6.  The movement includes, but is not limited to – and is always open to expand – the environmental justice movement, climate movement, conservation movement, public health movement, plastics movement, etc. ↩︎
  7. The deadline for the Solar for All Competition has recently been extended to October 12, 2023. Please review this link for additional information:,%2C%20Tribal%20governments%2C%20municipalities%2C%20and ↩︎

The shift towards an empowered youth population for Environmental Justice has already begun!

In the struggle for environmental justice in Africa, our team is shining a light on youth activists as well as other people who are working at the grassroots level and organizing on specific issues. People working across the  fields of zero waste, plastics, fighting against incineration and demanding climate action. Participate with us in their celebration and the celebration of every other young leader in the region who is working out positive change from family to national level. This campaign aims to amplify the voices of young activists and grassroots organizers who are driving change in Africa’s environmental movement. By showcasing their efforts and achievements, we hope to inspire more individuals to join the fight for a sustainable and just future. Together, let us recognize and support these dedicated individuals who are making a significant impact in their communities and beyond. 

The role of young people in the environmental revolutions in Africa is gaining more momentum due to the growing need for change and inclusivity in decision making for our future. As young people, it is important to include them so that they are part of the system they serve, adding to the creation of the solutions that Africa’s rally to a just transition requires. By involving young people in environmental revolutions, we can tap into their innovative ideas and fresh perspectives, ensuring that the solutions we develop are sustainable and effective. Additionally, empowering young individuals to take an active role in decision making not only benefits the environment but also fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility among the youth, driving long-term change. 

Meet Taylen Reddy!

My name is Taylen Reddy and I am the founder and coordinator of Zero Waste Durban in South Africa. I have over 2 years of experience campaigning against plastic pollution in my hometown through Zero Waste Durban. This has culminated in me being appointed a Youth Ambassador for the Break Free From Plastic (BFFP) movement in 2022 as well as Zero Waste Durban becoming a core-member of both BFFP and GAIA Africa networks. I am also a member of the GAIA Africa Plastics Working Group, with a major focus on INC processes and how best to build capacity for member organizations to take action. This includes campaigns against waste colonialism and a shift of narrative to Global North accountability for much of the single use plastic waste that ends up in Africa. 

Since starting in this space, I have seen a rapid increase in young people getting involved in civil society, with an increased appetite to face the status quo and dismantle the systems that are failing us and the environment. A great achievement that stands out to me is the immense participation of people in the African region for the 2023 International Break Free From Plastic Summit, for which I was a coordinator for African representation. This truly is a testament to the drive and will power of the African youth! On this Youth Day, I urge all young Africans to join the fight in stopping waste colonialism by fighting back and ensuring that full accountability is shifted to the polluters.

Meet Oureya Raissa!

My name is Oureya Raissa, and I manage the programming for the non-governmental organization known as Jeunes Verts. Jeunes Verts is a non-governmental organization with the goals of preserving the natural world, minimizing the effects of climate change, and fostering an appreciation for physical activity. Our work consists of increasing awareness among young people and women of the necessity to be aware of their environment and to take care of it, to minimize the use of plastics, and to adopt sustainable ways of consumption and production. Specifically, we focus on creating awareness of the need to be aware of their environment and to take care of it. We provide them with support in the form of capacity-building and tangible projects so that they can move in this desired direction and take action. To this day, thousands of young people have already been made aware of the problem, have been provided with the information, and have made the commitment to begin engaging in environmentally conscious enterprise and to modify their behavior. 

As part of the celebrations for International Youth Day, I would like to extend an invitation to all of the young people around the world, and the young people of Togo in particular, to get involved with civil society organizations that are fighting to protect the environment, against single-use bags, and to make personal commitments to preserve this planet for the generations that will come after us. Together, let’s act our age, show some environmental consciousness, and refuse to use plastic bags.

Meet Chaima!

Zero Waste Tunisia is an organization that campaigns for the promotion of sustainable practices and the creation of communities that produce zero waste by educating, engaging, and empowering the various players who make up the ecosystem. ZWT has spent the past three years concentrating its efforts on increasing public awareness on food waste management and food security by means of digital campaigns, a zero waste guide, videos, and media programs. The goal of these initiatives is to implicate many stakeholders and involve them in the process of creating change.

To this day, we have been successful in engaging youth and children in the process of reducing the amount of waste they produce in their day-to-day lives. My most memorable experience would be during my awareness sessions and training to many participants express how easy it is to transition to the zero waste lifestyle and to practice the 4 R strategy with giving themselves the tips and the solutions; therefore, it is about making choices: beginning new habits that produce zero waste OR continuing to produce more waste. 

My call to action is for all of us to regard climate change as an individual threat, and the actions should be everyday from where we are, at home, in the schools, in the markets, and in the industry….it is easy to make waste, but trust me when I say that it is easier to minimize the waste.


Interview with Mahesh Nakarmi by Dan Abril

Mahesh Nakarmi, professionally a Disaster Risk Management Specialist, with a qualification of Masters degree in Civil Engineering  underwent a transformative experience that led him to embrace Zero Waste. While as a co-founder of the National Kidney Center, he personally encountered the improper disposal of hazardous waste, posing significant risks to communities and waste workers. Witnessing this first hand, he felt an urgent need to take action and promote improved methods for health care waste management which was neglected during those days.

He co-founded Health Care Foundation Nepal (HECAF) in 1994 to address this and ultimately, Mahesh’s efforts in advocating for proper health care waste management prevailed. In 1999, through his efforts, the NKC became the first hospital in Nepal to disinfect the waste generated during care of the kidney patients by using autoclave as a non burn technology. So when he developed a complete health care waste management system at the center, it ultimately  resulted in the reduced quantity of waste  being sent to the landfill. His path took another turn upon meeting GAIA Asia Pacific and Health Care Without Harm. Through these organizations, Mahesh learned about non-burn and no harm approaches including Zero Waste principles and realized that what he was doing is already  Zero Waste. 

In 2020, HECAF became the Health Environment and Climate Action Foundation (HECAF360) and today has a team of 20 people coming from diverse backgrounds such as engineering, environmental science, environmental engineering, biomedical engineering, nursing, public health, and healthcare. 

We had the opportunity to chat with Mahesh and we discussed HECAF360’s journey in becoming a Zero Waste pioneer in Nepal. 

The HECAF360 Team. (Photo courtesy of HECAF360)

What are HECAF 360’s top priorities?

We work on a lot of areas and we address the gaps. These include Zero Waste, healthcare waste, hygiene, and climate resilience. It’s all interrelated. When we talk about menstrual hygiene management, we talk about women’s health and also talk about waste management. But mainly it’s all about Zero Waste and advocating for zero toxins and zero burn approaches to waste management. 

We understand that waste management is a long-term process that cannot be resolved within a short period but by adopting a Zero Waste approach we will achieve our ultimate goal of not having to send any waste to landfills. To realize our objectives, we are trying to define the role of individual citizens in the management of the waste that they generate daily, so we are exploring smart waste management solutions. Through this, we ensure that different types of waste are appropriately handled: recycling is directed to designated recycling centers, landfill waste is appropriately disposed of in landfills, and food waste is routed to food processing facilities to be converted into compost. 

An essential aspect of this system is it provides employment opportunities to waste pickers and integrates them into the waste management process.

Photo courtesy of HECAF360

What are HECAF360’s ongoing campaigns?

We have campaigns on plastic waste and water-related campaigns but everything leads to Zero Waste. You simply cannot advocate for Zero Waste without taking these issues into account. When we conduct our education campaigns in hospitals and government offices, we talk about Zero Waste and we talk at all levels from kindergarten and up, as well as from municipality to federal ministries.

What are HECAF360’s biggest accomplishments/achievements?

We have a lot of stories to share! We’re proud to have introduced Zero Waste not only in hospitals but to the rest of Nepal. We are continuously creating Zero Waste coalitions. We do not only collaborate with hospitals but through coalitions, we also bring together schools, businesses, INGOs, the government, and those working on recycling and upcycling. 

Photo courtesy of HECAF360

What challenges are you currently facing and how is the organization impacted by the COVID crisis?

In 2020, we only had a staff of about 6 to 8 people. At that time, Nepal had not yet experienced the impact of COVID-19. Then, the Minister of Health reached out to us for assistance during the evacuation of 175 students studying in Wuhan, where the pandemic began.

We responded to the call and we took on the challenge and designed a comprehensive waste management system in collaboration with the army, police, the civil aviation authority, and airlines. Our efforts extended from managing waste at airports and handling quarantine centers. 

In this endeavor, we partnered with the Tzu Chi Foundation in Taiwan to facilitate the donations, which involved 10 charter flights. However, there are several challenges in the process. To provide support for waste management in hospitals and donate essential items like ventilators, oxygen concentrators, High Flow Nasal Cannula, and personal protective equipment (PPEs), we were required to have special permission from the government. Though it was a significant challenge, we persevered, and worked closely with authorities and handed over all these items to the Ministry of Health and Population.

With the leadership of the Ministry of Health and Population and with the support of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Nepal, GiZ Nepal, and the Swiss Government; the HECAF360 team worked at the government health facilities around the clock to improve waste management systems.  Working around these challenges not only strengthened our resolve but also made life more interesting. Despite the risks brought by the pandemic, our staff felt a sense of fulfillment in being able to contribute to the community by providing food relief for needy people in different communities. It provided an opportunity to learn and collaborate with our waste pickers. We were successful in providing a little support to the waste pickers.

Overall, the experience of managing waste during the COVID-19 crisis offered unique learning experiences as we worked closely with both government offices and local communities.

Photo courtesy of HECAF360

What are the main environmental issues your country or region is facing?

The current waste management situation is connected with various environmental issues, including landfills, air pollution, and river pollution, these are related to the broader problem in waste management. Our specific concern now are the chemicals leaching out of Nepal’s landfills, this has worsened the waste management issue. This has directly impacted the public health of the people residing in surrounding communities near the landfill sites. So we need to find a better solution to minimize the quantity of waste to be disposed of at the landfill by integrating waste into a circular economy through the Zero Waste Cities program. And we are actively collaborating with the local, provincial, and federal governments in search of solutions.

How do you see your HECAF360’s work evolving in the next years? 

We have identified numerous areas to focus on, and we still have many plans in progress, including improving the way we communicate our work. Our goal is to be more proactive in implementing Zero Waste systems throughout the country.

Recently, the Ministry of Health began discouraging the use of incinerators in hospitals and encouraged the use of non-burn technologies. This indicates a growing awareness and commitment to the Zero Waste approach. As such, in the coming years, we look forward to Nepal becoming more Zero Waste.

Do you collaborate with partners in other regions? If so, how?

We establish partnerships wherever we go. We want to learn from partners and they want to learn from us. One example is when we went to Penang in Malaysia. At the Tzu Chi Dialysis Center in Penang,  Tzu Chi Foundation Volunteers run a waste recycling program  and the income from this program supports the operation of center and their outreach to communities in need. 

How does your work on waste relate to social justice?

We call on our right to health and a clean environment and we are also advocating for a just transition for waste pickers. Despite the challenges, we continue to push for the government to act. 

Who do you admire most in the environmental work (in your country or in the world)?

There is a lot of good environmental work being done in other countries. I have a lot of admiration for environmental groups in the Philippines for succeeding in banning incineration. There is also a lot of work being done in reclaiming rivers and bringing them to life again. That is commendable. 

HECAF360 always believes in action. That’s why we have action in our name. We don’t do a lot of writing or publishing. We don’t post a lot on social media but we have action. We have zeal for what we want to do and we will continue to do so until we bring the smile back. 

Call for funding: 

Currently, HECAF360 lacks the necessary resources to fund their policy work. Support HECAF360 and their goal of achieving a Zero Waste Nepal, email HECAF360 at or visit their website at

By Aminat Ibrahim, SRADeV Nigeria

Following a series of online meetings towards hazardous chemicals and pesticide export ban, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) hosted a face-face Advocacy and Capacity-building Campaign meeting with NGOs from the global south in Brussels, Belgium between the 12th – 14th July, 2023. 

Stakeholders and partners at the event consisted of EEB consultants, the EU Parliament and NGO representatives such as SRADeV Nigeria, Community Action Against Plastic Waste (CAPws), Center for Public Health and Environmental Development (CEPHED), Journalists for Human Rights (JHRMK), PAN Europe, Nanny Africa; across countries including Nigeria, Cameroon, Zambia, Benin, Senegal, Sierra-Leone, Kenya, South Africa, North Macedonia, Nepal, India and Vietnam. 

The first two days of the hybrid event were an avenue for partners to share experiences on activities carried out in their organizations, building communication capacities, providing support on database information and also review and analyze a joint campaign to ban the export of hazardous chemicals in the form of pesticides to the global south.

As part of the agenda for the event, there was a visit to the European Parliament on the 14th of July to lend a voice to introduce a mechanism prohibiting the production and/or exportation of hazardous pesticides already banned in the EU- to protect non-EU countries from their negative effects on humans and the environment. 

Dr. Leslie Adogame, the Executive Director of Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development (SRADeV Nigeria), attended the meeting as a Global South representative. In his speech at the Parliament House, he called for the need to work on the three pillars of the framework for sustainable development (people, environment and profit). The GAIA Africa member representative also reminded the relevance of discontinuing to place profit over the health of people and the environment and that what is not good for the global north can never be good for the global south. 

Dr. Leslie finished by making an appeal, as quoted below:

“I hereby make this appeal on behalf of all Nigerians towards not just the ban of export of these chemicals from EU-member states to the global south but also to stop the production of these chemicals and pesticides in entirety. AS INJUSTICE TO ONE IS INJUSTICE TO MILLIONS.”

As part of the next steps to back up the Parliament visit, a regulation to “Stop Toxic Exports” was also proposed to support the reduction of waste dumping in global south countries.


By Alaaedeen Tawfik, Greenish

Greenish, an organization that promotes sustainability in Egypt, has developed environmentally friendly manuals in the form of open-source information pools to assist local populations in gaining knowledge regarding the effects of climate change and sustainability.

The purpose of Greenish manuals is to offer environmental content on a variety of subjects. These manuals are primarily aimed towards college and school students who have limited access to environmental resources written in Arabic, notably in Egypt. However, the manuals are available to anybody who might find them helpful. The purpose of Greenish is to provide people who are interested in finding out more about the environment with the chance to access material in the language that is most comfortable to them. 

Although there is an abundance of English-language resources on environmental and scientific topics, the organization’s primary objective is to improve environmental consciousness by publishing the very first manuals written in both Arabic and English. Every effort is made to continually update and improve the information in order to make it user-friendly for everyone who accesses it. 

The manuals currently cover seven different topics, which are Ecological Principles, Biodiversity, Clean Energy, Facilitators Guide, Waste Management, Public Health, and Water, Food, and Agriculture, respectively. In addition, Greenish is presently engaged in the production of three new manuals, the release of which will be announced within the following few months. You will find links to each of these guides on the Greenish Manuals page of the Greenish website, which can be accessed at:



“My people trade European clothing labels in their local markets,” said Africa. “My workers sort through unrecyclable Nestle wrappers, my households are amused by quick Amazon finds and my lands are dug up for oil by foreign hands.”

©Sepp Friedhuber/ iStock/ Ghana

By Merrisa Naidoo, Plastic Campaigner for GAIA & BFFP in Africa

©Vladan Radulovic/ iStock/ South Africa

Consumer capitalism is the manipulation of consumers to make purchases on desire.  Leading idealised lifestyles have come crashing against the shores of the developing world, causing us to question our identity in the face of Western ‘super brands that extract the very resources of the developing world only for it to be sold back to us at higher prices with narratives that imply progress and development.

To protest the practices of these big brands, civil society actors and activists around the globe come together in the month of Plastic Free July, to shed off the branded lifestyles that have been sold by multinational corporations in the name of convenience, hygiene and  progress. This Plastic Free July was no different, in an effort to unpackage and rethink our everyday lifestyles, GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives) and BFFP (Break Free From Plastic) members from various parts of Africa participated in a month-long campaign. From demonstrating practices of reuse and refill to zero waste culture and age-old systems that worked before the colonial era of plastics and throw-away models. 

For decades, the public has been conditioned to believe that the problem of plastic pollution was caused by their own undisciplined ways of consumption and the failure of governments to institute and implement proper waste management systems. With more people understanding the unjust actions around plastic waste there has been a clear battle line drawn for the plastics industry and Fast Moving Consumer Goods Companies (FMCGs) such as Nestle, Unilever and others  to take accountability for the waste their products create. The global Brand-Audit Initiative by the Break FreefromPlastic Movement has revealed that the irresponsible and predatory practice by corporations of saturating our societies with single-use plastics of all kinds with no consideration of how they can be managed in an environmentally safe and benign manner is part of the root cause of the plastics crisis. To justify our addiction to fossil-fuel based plastics, industry continues to hoodwink the public, dealing us the hand of double standards and false solutions/greenwashing such as introducing non-recyclable products into our markets and overstating their recycling programs and initiatives.

Communities in Africa experience first hand the double standards of corporations like Coca-Cola (the leading polluter in Africa for 5-years in a row), Unilever, Nestle, Danone and Dow Chemicals. These corporations are causing disproportionate harm to vulnerable communities, especially in the Global South, at all stages of the plastic lifecycle. A Bloomberg investigation on a recycling initiative backed by these corporations in Ghana, West Africa, found them to be better at deflecting blame and avoiding regulation than actually taking responsibility. The initiative fell back on empty promises of buy-back centres and diverting its unmanageable waste to local recyclers and waste pickers that are ill-equipped to handle this waste. 

This is only one side of the double sided corporate penny that Africa finds itself spun on. Multi-layer single-serve sachets and flexible packaging have slowly found their way into the African market under the guise of marketing products in small quantities at a low cost to appeal to emerging economies in Africa. Everything from food, hygiene and personal care products are being packaged in minuscule societal menaces called sachets. Drinking water is also more commonly sold in such packaging formats in Africa. Between 2018-2022, Brand-Audits in Africa found 93,262 water sachets in 14 African countries ,with Coca-Cola being the top water sachet polluter from 2020-2022. Companies choosing to sell drinking water in sachets undermine the basic human right to safe and clean drinking water and exploit this need for their own financial gain.

©Nipe Fagio/ Tanzania

In reality, sachets’ true costs are externalised, as communities suffer the consequences from this unrecyclable low-value waste choking waterways, burdening waste management systems and their workers, disrupting coastal communities’ livelihoods, creating health risks, and contaminating food systems.  Privatisation of water sources has also contributed to the plastic pollution crisis from bottled water in Africa. Nestle has been found hoarding water from around the world to bottle and sell for a huge profit – in Pakistan, Africa, even in the United States, with communities that live the closest to their water plants suffering the most. This could all be avoided by making drinking water available through water stations and refill systems, and investing in alternative product delivery systems. What is even worse is that these same companies package products in recyclable materials and pay a levy to support the collection of their generated waste in the Global North, while selling the same products in unrecyclable sachets in the Global South, burdening the local waste management systems without any financial contribution.

©Green Knowledge Foundation/ Niger Delta, Nigeria

Moreover, the sovereignty of Africa and its people also come under threat from waste colonialism, which is the practice of exporting waste, from the higher-income countries in the Global North to lower-income countries in the Global South under the banner of recycling and charity, leaving Africa and its future generations to shoulder the economic, social and environmental costs of this unjust action. The manifestations of waste colonialism in Africa come in all shapes and forms, from electronic waste in Ghana’s most notorious E-waste dump to 282 illegal containers of plastic waste was exported from Italy to Tunisia as mixed municipal waste, to Accra’s markets & Kenya’s rivers flooded with the Europe’s addiction to fast fashion and the US illegally exporting harmful PVC plastic into the Nigerian economy. 

These corporations and their underhanded acts are not alone in the capitalist playing field. The plastic story begins much further upstream with the extraction of its raw materials: fossil fuels. The familiar brand names of Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestlé, Mondelēz, Danone, Unilever, Colgate Palmolive, Procter & Gamble, and Mars are customers of the world’s largest plastic resin producers like ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron Phillips, Ineos, and Dow – vertically integrated fossil fuel/petrochemical companies that make petrochemicals from their oil and gas operations. 

Africa’s largest oil producing region and  Nigeria’s  once considered breadbasket – the Niger Delta has been ravaged by Shell. In 2004, 17% of all Nigerian oil exports – more than two million tonnes – went to the European Union. Crude oil production in 2004 was 2.5 million barrels per day, of which an average of one million barrels per day were produced by Shell, making Shell by far the biggest oil company in Nigeria. The country has significant oil reserves and even greater gas reserves. However, most Nigerians have not benefited from these resources. Shell has transformed the Niger Delta into a virtual wasteland which is one of the five most severely petroleum-damaged ecosystems in the world, bearing deep scars of human rights violations from gas flaring and oil spills with its population suffering  from multiple health problems. To add harm, Shell continues to indirectly degrade the region through unrecyclable plastic packaging used by Fast Moving Consumer Goods companies mentioned earlier.

The corporate interests of the Global North have time and time again placed the lives, livelihoods and resources of the global South at the forefront of social and environmental injustice. It is time to call it as it is, plastic pollution is a crisis caused by plastic production that starts at the wellhead and ends in the environment, manifesting all kinds of injustices along it’s lifecycle. 

It is imperative that we start:

1) recognising clearly proven solutions that start with plastic production reduction – which can be successfully achieved by an ambitious legally-binding Global Plastics Treaty

2) demand that corporations reveal the extent of their plastic footprint and toxic chemicals in plastics, reinvent/redesign their product delivery systems to shift away from single-use plastic packaging towards refill & reuse and make commitments that translate into concrete actions; and 

3) stop the tactical perusal of ‘false solutions’ to the plastic crisis that are either misguided distractions or dangerously damaging to the environment or human wellbeing. Concepts such as “plastic offsetting”, “plastic neutrality”, landfill mining, plastic roads, waste-to-energy, unproven technologies such as chemical recycling and burning plastic in cement kilns do not reduce the amount of plastic produced and do more harm than good, as many of these have been shown to exacerbate the effects of the plastic crisis on people and the climate.


An African Reflection INC2

By Merrisa Naidoo

Against the backdrop of one of the world’s most iconic towers, world leaders gathered in the French Capital from the 29th of May to the 2nd of June 2023 for the 2nd session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC2) to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment. With more than 1,700 participants in (UNESCO HQ) Paris – over 700 Member State delegates from 169 Member States and over 900 observers from NGOs, this demonstrated how high the stakes were for this 2nd convening on what will form the foundational objectives; core obligations, control measures and implementing elements for the global plastics treaty.

As I prepared for my heart to be captivated by the true beauty that Paris is, I kept playing back to the INC Secretariat’s words: “We have to make Paris count”, and we were off to an almost steady start as we heard from President Macron, commending the African continent, particularly Rwanda, Kenya & South Africa for their strides on plastic policies & laws, in his opening statement. It was also encouraging & refreshing to hear the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Inger Andersen, concluding her opening statement by emphasising that we cannot recycle our way out of the plastic crisis & that priority has to be given to upstream measures. 

However, it did not take too long before geopolitics set in and rocked the boat. Suddenly, what seemed to be a glistening summer’s day in Paris with the lingering smell of freshly baked croissants & “amour” became confined to 2 days of long hours and intense stalling of negotiations by a small handful of large oil and plastic-producing countries. They raised procedural issues to delay discussions on the substantive matters of the treaty and gain veto power over the treaty text by advocating for consensus only, with no opportunity for voting if an agreement cannot be reached on decisions. Historically, previous conventions successfully adopted decisions based on voting–occurring when consensus could not be reached in the case of disagreements, such as in the Minamata Convention. Removing the voting provision will prevent us from achieving an ambitious Plastic Treaty and undoing hard-earned negotiated efforts. With the clock ticking, we fast found ourselves in informal negotiations that went on into the wee hours of the morning on Rule 38.1 (Consensus vs Voting), which has led to The draft Rules of Procedure (i.e. the rules that govern the negotiations) still not adopted and remain applicable provisionally as agreed at INC-1. Countries decided to make an interpretive statement on this rule which can come up again–for more time wasted–at INC-3.

Despite the delay tactics, as the African continent, we can be proud of how our member states, especially Senegal, remained true to their mandate for the INC2 and took a strong stance in denouncing the time-wasting and calling on countries to get their act together and focus on the task at hand. As honest-brokers in this process, the African Group has continued to speak with one voice and demonstrate leadership towards achieving an ambitious Global Plastics Treaty. In his opening statement, the chair of the African Group reaffirmed that Africa stands ready to partner with the rest of the world to engage in negotiations towards an implementable international legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution to address the larger triple planetary crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. The African position has also been strong in calling for measures that speak directly to reducing the trade, production and use of plastics, limiting the presence of toxic chemicals in plastics, prohibiting dangerous practices such as open burning, incineration, firing in coal-fired power plants and other waste-to-energy processes, co-processing in cement kilns, and chemical recycling, to protect human health and the environment and uphold principles of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, particularly the principle of equity, the polluter-pays-principle, precautionary approach and the principle of just transition.

Whilst we applaud the clear demonstration of leadership among the African Group, there is still a battle to be fought to ensure the rights, voices & equitable participation of fenceline communities, waste pickers, Indigenous peoples, youth, and other members of civil society who are most impacted by plastic pollution are recognised as rights holders in the negotiations. Two weeks before INC2, CSOs learnt their fate of not being guaranteed entry into the INC2 venue as we were restricted to one floating badge per organisation. Given the ever-growing interest in the process and the clear need for greater inclusion of under-represented constituencies, this was not acceptable, especially considering the amount of energy, time and travel that many of us had to bear to be a part of this process, only for the doors of UNESCO to be shut on us. It took a civil society staged action outside UNESCO, back & forth chats with governments and an open letter to the secretariat for UNEP to acknowledge the impacts of restricting & limiting access to CSOs. 

GAIA and BFFP Africa Members in attendance at INC2 remained high-spirited amidst the access uncertainties championing the demands of African CSOs by Calling for African Leaders to Negotiate on a Strong Global Plastics Treaty. 15 Members from 9 African states (i.e. Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt, DRC, Kenya, Cameroon, Tunisia & South Africa) as well as two friends of GAIA & BFPP from Senegal, Kenya well represented the African CSO contingent at INC2. During INC2, African members made their voices heard in many ways apart from direct engagement with their INC Focal Points that included: 1)  Participating in a Global South Press Briefing and Highlighting the Most Impacted Voices of Plastic Pollution; 2)  Voicing the Concerns of CSOs at an EU Informal Meeting; 3) Radio Interviews about Plastic Pollution in Africa; and 4) Delivering a Statement on behalf of the Youth at the High Ambition Coalition Event

It is also important to acknowledge member’s advocacy efforts even well before INC2 in the form of: An African CSO Meeting in Nairobi; Nigerian members convening Multi-Stakeholder Preparatory Meetings & Ministerial Media Briefings & Delivering of the GAIA/BFFP Joint Member Statement at the African Group Preparatory Meeting. These efforts continue to contribute to the strong positions taken by our African Leaders to END PLASTIC POLLUTION!

Let the road to INC3 begin, where we will have a zero-draft treaty to now negotiate on! See you in Nairobi. We will be looking to our African Leaders to raise the stakes even higher on home soil.


By Asiphile Khanyile, Waste Campaigner, groundWork South Africa

Over the recent years, zero waste has become an important vision and action that defines how waste is managed. Zero waste is a game changer and an opportunity that plays an important role towards the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, which accelerates climate change. Fundamentally, zero waste asks us to change actively, collectively and inclusively in the manner in which waste should be managed.  Hence, the definition of zero waste by outlined by the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA) is “the conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse and recovery of all products, packaging, and materials without burning, and without discharges to land, waste or air that threaten the environment or human health”, and it compels us to look at the entire lifecycle of waste which is; extraction, production, consumption, collection and disposal.

Reading the definition above, my mind immediately zooms into the waste pickers that are central to a zero waste system. Luckily for me, I have had the privilege of working with waste pickers on the ground and that has enabled me to delve deeper into their world.

Firstly, in a zero waste system waste pickers are recognised as an integral part because of their significant contribution towards saving landfill airspaces, diversion of recyclable materials, keeping the recycling value chain viable and climate change mitigation. Hence, this definition mentioned above opens up an opportunity for us to continue to engage and work with waste pickers. Since 2021, I have worked with waste pickers through groundWork (gW), Warwick Zero Waste Project (WZW) and the South African Waste Pickers Association (SAWPA) and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), I have learned that waste is source of livelihood for waste pickers and they are also people whom hold a pool of knowledge about the recyclable materials. As part of civil society, we have recognised that waste pickers are fundamental to a zero waste system.

The questions ask with waste pickers is ensure that they are not exploited, stigmatised, harassed and excluded. How do we continue to educate our communities about the relationship between zero waste, climate change and waste pickers?

Every time, I do my work these are some of the questions that ramble through my mind. Some of the answers  to these questions were from the several visits I had in the months of February, March and April 2023, as gW we engaged waste pickers from a buy back centre, landfill and on the streets (Free State, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal). From my experience in Warwick and the visits, I have noticed that it is about working collectively, opportunities that foster active participation and engagements, infrastructural support by government – and even the private sector, and capacity support and building for waste pickers that will create the opportunity for waste pickers thrive in clean, dignified and safe spaces in order to make their work easier. Mostly, importantly, in some of the visits I saw tons of recyclable materials that could have ended up in landfill, dumpsites or even into the natural environment, diverted.

Hence, I was reminded that for zero waste to work it should ideally NOT be capital intensive, high tech and exclusionary. Instead, for zero waste to work it should be easily accessible, inclusive, low cost and tech and viable, and have at the heart of the process, waste pickers.


By Ubrei-Joe Maimoni

Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has focused its efforts on promoting our zero-waste model more vigorously. The model has great appeal and enables the potential for a shift from plastic utilization and a move towards separation at source, composting, recycling, and waste reduction mechanisms in communities where the model is situated.

The initial process was initiated in 2021 in Edo and Akwa Ibom States, Nigeria. As a result of our work with our Zero Waste Ambassadors in 2022, we are excited that plans have been put in place to start similar schemes in four additional states, these include Delta, Lagos, Bayelsa, and Plateau. This will bring the total number of states we are working in, to six.

The project has successfully created three critical structures; it includes the Zero Waste Ambassadors; the Waste Parliament, which is an informal structure but the decision-making organ of the project; and the Zero Waste Academy, which is the platform for strategic capacity building.

Participatory decision-making:

Our organization introduced participatory decision-making in the waste management sector as part of this project. This recognizes the rights of impacted host communities to waste dump sites, and it also recognizes waste pickers. Participatory decision-making is enabled through an effective waste policy option, which is done by collaborating with a coalition of Zero Waste Ambassadors.

Zero Waste Ambassadors:

In 2022, the Zero Waste Ambassadors were trained by a Waste Parliament (WAP) before they were deployed as an alliance-building group that connects grassroots movement-building to a global coalition. Their presence is a critical strategy for strengthening waste management advocacy, and they demonstrate the need to adopt and practice zero waste to communities and relevant government agencies. So far, the Zero Waste Ambassadors have been in touch with some very important communities that are hosts to waste dumpsites including Akpayak and Otofure in Akwa Ibom and Edo states, respectively. The communities in Akwa Ibom and Edo States, especially those hosting the dumpsites for the waste generated in urban areas of the project states, are very vital to driving the solutions that our project aimed to bring to the table.

Working with key communities:

Identified communities in this project reside close to waste dump sites. They face a lot of challenges, such as disease outbreaks, ground and surface water pollution, air pollution, and pathogen invasions. We facilitated community dialogues, which gave members of these communities the opportunity to contribute to achieving zero waste.

Four community dialogue sessions were held during the entire duration of the project. On the 9th and 17th of September, two community dialogues were held at Otofure and Akpayak communities in Edo and Akwa Ibom States, respectively, which represented phase one of the community dialogue sessions held. Before then, an advocacy visit was paid to the clan heads of both communities by the project team members to inform them about our project and the activities in the communities. These visits were made to obtain their buy-in (consent) for the project. The second phase of the community dialogues was also held in Otofure and Akpayak communities on February 16th and 8th, 2022.

Zero Waste Academy:

During this project, four sessions of our Zero Waste Academy were held every quarter of the year in Benin City and Uyo, with a total of 91 stakeholders. Through the academy, ERA/FoEN trained and graduated many stakeholders from diverse sectors, including industries, government, CSOs, academic, religious, and community-based organizations.

Waste Parliament:

Our Waste Parliament brought government stakeholders to sit in the same room with the community, waste pickers, church, and non-church actors to discuss and develop strategies for the effective implementation of zero waste plans. The parliament further evaluated the progress made in the waste management sectors in both states. Four parliaments were organized, two parliaments per state, with the initial target of reaching out and engaging with eighty people. One of the high points of this activity was using the parliament to unite the GAIA Nigeria team and impact policy change in the waste sector, which was achieved.

We successfully integrated informal workers into the zero waste advocacy actions as a way to effectively engage with policymakers. ERA/FoEN contributed to waste management policies in Edo and Akwa Ibom States through the development of zero-waste advocacy materials, which were distributed to relevant government stakeholders to assist them in waste management decision-making.

The ERA/FoEN team also visited the relevant government actors and opened the channel of communication to the members of the Zero Waste Ambassadors, who now engage with policymakers in both states. The formation of the Zero Waste Ambassadors and the Waste Parliament has proved essential in carrying the message of zero waste to the grassroots. Members of these networks have started step-down training on achieving a zero waste community. We have noticed changes in governments’ efforts to respond to and address the waste management crisis. For example, the Edo State government has declared a state of emergency in the waste management sector. The Akwa Ibom state government has equally taken some positive steps to decommission the dumpsite located at the Akpayak community village road, which had created a lot of tension in the state capital. We have seen the relevance, effectiveness, and efficiency of various strategies used on the project in establishing key relationships and changing the attitudes of target beneficiaries. These have been achieved through the bottom-up, people-to-people zero waste attainment approach, which focused on supporting local-level cohesion with government and community-owned waste management and disposal mechanisms and linking communities with government and other actors where necessary.


Despite the impacts the project has had, we have observed that zero waste is a gradual process that needs time due to environmental and socio-economic factors. We also learned that diversity and inclusivity across divides, especially among marginalized groups, present opportunities for the voices and opinions of all groups to be incorporated into zero waste attainment. In 2023, we intend to incorporate these learnings into our plan. We will prioritize advocating for the implementation of the zero waste guidelines to support the reduction of single-use plastic packaging reduction efforts, plastic withdrawal from the environment using the expanded producer responsibility tools, and the banning of open dumping and incineration.

We look forward to more support for our work from the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), including the regional and local chapters as well as the Break Free from Plastic (BFFP) that we worked with very well in the year under focus.