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New drive to curb household waste

A new partnership led by UN Environment will see United Nations bodies, the private sector, civil society and others join forces to identify best practices for reducing the amount of waste produced in homes and to explore initiatives for encouraging them.


Health and environment issues that can result from household waste include the heavy metals lead and cadmium being released into the environment, and poor disposal of lead-acid batteries – especially in developing countries where a lack of infrastructure for recycling can exist.


Meeting in July, the bureau meeting to the Basel Convention therefore called on the informal group on household waste to develop a work plan focusing on developing countries and those with economies in transition and to meet on a yearly basis. The group then gathered in Montevideo, Uruguay on 2-4 August to approve the terms of reference launching its work.


The partnership should aim for “the environmentally sound collection, transport, separation, recycling, other recovery including energy recovery and final disposal of household wastes, including the sound handling of hazardous objects and substances contained in household waste,” states the group’s mission statement.


The dialogue is to involve governments, regional and local authorities, private sector, non-governmental organizations and academia to explore initiatives that could be carried out in different regions.


UN Environment works to further reduce releases, emissions and exposures, and to increase workers’ safety and protection, in line with Sustainable Development Goals such as number 12 on Sustainable Consumption and Production.


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