Plastic-Free Hoi An: Towards a Green Destination

Once faced with waste management challenges exacerbated by tourism, two communes in Hoi An, Vietnam — Cam Thanh and Cham Islands (Tan Hiep Commune) — have become the faces of Zero Waste through the collaboration of stakeholders from the government, community organizations, farmers’ associations, businesses, and tourism associations.

Waste pickers from South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Morocco and Zambia have demonstrated the common need for official recognition from national and municipal governments, better working conditions, PPE, improved payment for their recovered materials and collection and processing service, and an end to social stigmatisation.

The experience of organising shows that these needs are achievable through building representative organisations that will ensure that their voices are heard in negotiations with governments and demonstrate their value to society.

This requires waste pickers to work collaboratively and embed the principles of democracy, equality and environmental justice in their organised structures. Furthermore, municipalities and national governments need to recognise the value that waste pickers play in diverting waste from the landfills, encouraging recycling where materials re-enter the economy and addressing poverty by providing an income for individuals that have been excluded from the formal economy.

Fuelling Failure is the first report to highlight the dangers fossil fuels and plastic production pose to every single UN Sustainable Development Goal. The 17 SDGs, whose 169 targets aim to “end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all by 2030,” touch on a diverse range of issues and challenges such as biodiversity, work, health, inequality and food. The goals apply to all countries, rich and poor, with the aim of ensuring that “no one will be left behind.” In contrast, plastic reduction and zero waste strategies would help us meet the world’s SDG’s, fast.

The paper was produced by researchers at the University of Sussex on behalf of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative and key civil society partners with expertise across the SDGs: 350.org, ActionAid, REN21, Stand.earth, CAN South Asia, UNRISD, Food and Water, Rapid Transition Alliance, Leave It In the Ground Initiative, GAIA, CAN International, Center for Biological Diversity, Stamp Out Poverty, MOCICC, Power Shift Africa, WECAN and Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development.

With organics making up more than 50% of solid waste in Asia, managing this waste stream will have a huge impact on waste management and the reduction of methane emissions. 

With superb illustrations and easy-to-follow instructions, “Back to Earth” encourages people to explore every facet of composting: whether in a sprawling backyard or in a limited space such as a high-rise apartment, composting can be customized to suit any situation. 

The most important message, however, is that composting is a simple and yet effective step anyone can take to help alleviate the burden on our landfills, replenish soil nutrients, and reduce carbon and methane emissions. 


María Fernanda Solíz Torres nos sacude. Nos habla de la basura como bien común. Critica su mercantilización, por ejemplo la importación de plásticos y otros desechos. Desmonta el gran engaño de la economía circular y reivindica las redes de seres humanos cuya vida gira alrededor de la basura, que trabajan con ella y la transforman. La autora reclama derechos para la basura, recupera con fuerza y lucidez el papel y por cierto también los derechos de las personas que la reciclan de oficio, insertos en un movimiento de recicladoras y recicladores en América Latina.

En este libro provocador abundan experiencias esperanzadoras de reciclaje inclusivo contadas desde abajo. Y lo potente de sus reflexiones se cierra con una constatación que cobra cada vez más fuerza en el planeta: la necesidad de librerarnos de la religión del crecimiento económico, pues para transitar a un mundo en donde se logre la meta de “basura cero” hay que transitar por el decrecimiento, que no puede ser confundido con una recesión o depresión económica. Prólogo Alberto Acosta y Esperanza Martínez.

In 2019, GAIA Asia Pacific members gathered in Penang, Malaysia for a series of activities, which culminated in a regional meeting where we set our objectives for the next three years (2020-2023).

Just months after the regional meeting, the world confronted the uncertainty and threats of the COVID-19 pandemic, making work on the ground doubly difficult, as the pandemic also exacerbated the already widespread and systemic injustices that we have long been fighting. 

In the face of these challenges, GAIA members remained steadfast in their commitment for a better world. This publication, “POSSIBLE TOGETHER,” is a proof of that.

As written by GAIA International Coordinator, Christie Keith, in her message, “The organizing stories in the publication are a testament to how hard GAIA members have worked since early 2020 – despite great personal risk – to create visionary Zero Waste solutions and oppose toxic pollution. These are stories of cultural survival, fierce resistance, and local transformation.”

It takes a network to have a fighting chance when faced with challenges of this magnitude, and collectively, GAIA members rose to the occasion. They extended each other a helping hand and made sure that their communities would not be left behind. 

The work may be daunting; and the times, challenging. But difficult can become easy; and the impossible, possible when when people work together.

En el año 2005, la Asociación de Municipalidades para el Desarrollo Económico Local (AMDEL), de la que Santa Juana forma parte, trata la problemática de los residuos sólidos urbanos (RSU), concluyendo que cada comuna presenta una realidad distinta, surgiendo la necesidad de conseguir recursos para el estudio de la situación comunal.

Zero Waste is a move away from this unsustainable linear industrial system into a circular system—a system where unnecessary extraction and consumption is minimized, where waste is reduced, and where products and materials are reused or recycled back into the
market.

In Zero Waste, the resources that we use can be safely and economically recycled, reused, and composted, or turned into biogas anaerobic digestion. Zero Waste also means avoiding the use of disposable products and redesigning products that are toxic-free and built to last. Zero Waste involves:
• Reducing consumption
• Reusing discards
• Product redesign
• Shift to alternative delivery systems
• Comprehensive recycling
• A ban on waste incineration
• Comprehensive composting or biodigestion of organic materials
• Citizen and worker participation
• Policies, regulations, incentives, and financing structures to support these systems