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Waste recycling innovations are key to mitigating climate crisis

  • By Vivian Kwame
  • February 1, 2021
  • 0 Comment

Every year, the world generates more than two billion tonnes of trash. Worldwide, waste generated per person per day averages 0.74 kilograms but ranges widely, from 0.11 to 4.54 kilograms. Though they only account for 16 percent of the world’s population, high-income countries generate about 34 percent, or 683 million tonnes, of the world’s waste. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, the amount of waste generated amounts to approximately 62 million tons per year, amounting to a footprint of about 0.65kg per person per day. This is according to the World Bank (2018).

People tend to forget about the trash they dispose of with the idea that they will cease to exist once they finish using them. However, that is not the case. Improper waste management does not only result in litter everywhere, it also affects our environment and results in both air and sea pollution.

According to an article by Climate and Clean Air Coalition, dumpsites are the third-largest source of human-generated methane – a greenhouse gas that is 28 times more potent than Carbon Dioxide and a major accelerator of climate change.

Aside from that, our energy production and product consumption are also major contributors to climate change. In a study published in the Journal of Industrial Ecology, the stuff humans consume — from food to knick-knacks — is responsible for up to 60 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and between 50 and 80 percent of total land, material, and water use.

The solution

Currently, the solution to waste management is landfill, which itself has a bad negative effect on our environment. They are deeper and designed to store more waste, Oxygen is even less present and conditions are ideal for anaerobic decomposition. High levels of methane gas and CO2 are generated by waste decomposition.

Globally, we still have a long way to go when it comes to managing waste management and tackling climate change. However, that does not stop us from trying. As we continue to come up with better policies and solutions, innovations too play a huge role in mitigating climate crisis.

International platform for social change – What Design Can Do (WDCD) – have come up with a global design competition to create awareness on the contribution of waste and consumerism to the climate crisis. The competition is seeking out designers and creatives from around the world to submit their innovative solutions to reduce waste and rethink the current production and consumption cycle.

Under the #NoWasteChallenge, the global application is set to run from 1st February 2021 to 1st April 2021 with the winners receiving $10,000 prize and a tailor-made development program for their commitment and innovation in local recycling. Through this, they can develop and scale up their projects and help mitigate the climate crisis.

Designers and creatives who believe that they have the perfect innovations suited for this challenge can apply for the competition through this link: https://www.kenyacic.org/.