Waste Wise Cities Tool (UN-Habitat, 2020)

August 16, 2021

In our rapidly urbanizing world, the crisis in waste management and plastic pollution is a reflection of our unsustainable lifestyles. We are consuming and producing at a rate that boggles the mind. With 2 billion people lacking access to solid waste collection and 3 billion people without access to controlled solid waste disposal facilities, urban dwellers, especially in low to middle income countries, are exposed to severe threats to public health due to the mismanagement of solid waste. However, if our waste is managed appropriately and effectively, it will be a resource for a prosperous circular economy, creating green jobs and enhancing the livelihood and income for the urban poor. At the same time, we can reduce the use of natural resources and protecting our environment.

UN-Habitat is mandated to develop the monitoring methodology for SDG indicator 11.6.1 and has worked closely with relevant UN agencies such as UN Statistics Division and UN Environment, as well as prominent waste management experts and environmental statisticians from all over the world. These common efforts have led to the development of the Waste Wise Cities Tool, a diagnostic tool that cities apply to assess their municipal solid waste management performance and use as basis for sustainable solid waste management planning.

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The Waste Wise Cities Tool consists of 7 steps that guide cities to collect data on municipal solid waste generated, collected, and managed in controlled facilities. The tool provides a household survey guide for total MSW generation, a questionnaire to identify the MSW recovery chain and criteria to check the environmental control level of waste management facilities in the city. The publication will be valuable for policy makers, municipal engineers, independent service providers, planners, consultants, researchers and other professionals engaged in designing solid waste management systems in cities lacking up-to-date data.