UNEA 5 Briefing Series: Zero Waste Finance

A transition from a plastic-reliant economy toward a circular zero waste economy requires effective mobilization
and allocation of financial resources. Public and private finance have distinct and intersecting roles to play in
supporting and scaling up innovations for waste prevention, redesign, alternative delivery and reuse systems as
well as improving existing waste collection and recycling systems.

GAIA US Canada’s Community Tools for Anti-Incineration Organizing resource designed to support community organizers and advocates in both new and existing incineration campaigns. The toolkit is informed by the experiences of GAIA members around the world who have mobilized their own communities and allies to fight for a world without waste-burning. 

For decades, U.S. cities have collected mixed plastic in recycling programs in an unsuccessful attempt to solve the plastic waste crisis. Analyzing the municipal solid waste (MSW) streams of five U.S. cities, this new report sheds light on the different ways legitimate recycling efforts are undermined, and how the simplest and most ethical solution to our plastic problem is to remove all non-recyclable plastic from the system.

Zero waste is a crucial component of a regenerative economy with the potential to safeguard public health, create good jobs, support local economies, and mitigate climate change.

This guide is intended to help organizers mobilize around the Zero Waste Masterplan to advance zero waste campaigns in their communities. (2020)

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to build a resilient economy is more pressing than ever. Today, waste management is a sector that typically uses up to 4-19% of municipal budgets. While zero waste systems are known for their wide-range of environmental benefits, they are also an affordable and practical strategy to waste management that is greatly economically advantageous.

Under the cover of “net zero,” the plastics and petrochemical industry is trying to greenwash expanded plastic production. Plastic is carbon. It is bad for climate change and could never be a part of any realistic solution. “Net zero” plans have many false claims to make fossil fuels “emission-free,” but they will only allow corporations to continue harming communities and the environment. The risks of these false “net zero” narratives are rising rapidly as the oil and gas industry continues investing billions to make plastic production its financial timeline.

According to the IPCC, waste management is one of three sectors with the greatest potential to reduce surface temperature rise in the next 10-20 years. Zero waste is an essential, affordable, and practical route to significant emissions reductions, yet is neglected in most countries’ climate plans (Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs). Countries should focus on plastic reduction, waste separation, and compost to reduce climate emissions and generate good jobs.

In light of recent promotional statements from technology providers, governments, and academic and research institutions, this report looks at the proposed application of converting municipal waste into fuel, namely for gas turbine aircraft engines.