On Tuesday 17 October, waste management charity WasteAid UK launched its toolkit for community-led waste management, Making Waste Work.

Funded by the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, the toolkit has been designed to inform, prepare and inspire communities around the world to manage their own waste sustainably.

Zoë Lenkiewicz, WasteAid UK Head of Communications, said, “One in three people around the world lack a decent waste management service. The public health and marine pollution consequences are clearly visible. WasteAid is taking action by sharing essential waste management and recycling skills with as many communities as we can, and the Making Waste Work toolkit will help us magnify our impact.”

Some 2-3 billion people do not have their waste collected or properly managed. The open dumping and burning of waste spreads disease, harms livestock, aggravates flooding and accelerates climate change. With essential recycling skills however, communities can manage much of their waste independently and cost-effectively, preventing pollution and creating jobs in the process.

Professor David Wilson, CIWM President said, “I had the opportunity to select a project to be funded by CIWM to mark my Presidency, and Making Waste Work fits well with CIWM’s objects under our Royal Charter ‘to advance for the public benefit the art and science of wastes management worldwide’, and also with our focus on developing the skills of waste professionals.

“There are countless communities around the world where the local authorities have no funds to provide even the most basic waste management service. It is to help such communities that WasteAid has produced this practical guidance on low cost recycling technologies, which involve minimal capital investment and make products to sell in a local market. I am very happy to present this toolkit as the CIWM Presidential Report 2017.”

To ensure the toolkit reaches the right people WasteAid has focused on accessibility. The toolkit and accompanying how-to guides have been written in plain English, and are freely available to share for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons licence. Importantly, the guidance has been produced in mobile-friendly as well as print versions. The step-by-step instructions for a range of recycling technologies have been illustrated by artist Susan Hatfield, creating an easy-to-follow format.

Mike Webster, WasteAid UK Chief Executive said, “The essential waste management skills and recycling techniques we share in Making Waste Work can help a typical community recycle up to eighty per cent of its waste. We are confident that our model is effective and that simple waste management brings major improvements to people’s lives. We are now urgently seeking funders and partners to help us train more people to become recycling entrepreneurs.”

Starting on 20 November, WasteAid Week will be the next focal point for fundraising activities. Everyone is invited to take part and raise money to support the spread of vital recycling skills around the world.

The toolkit can be viewed and downloaded in full or in parts from

ENDS – Notes for journalists

Making Waste Work was produced in response to the specific recommendation in the Global Waste Management Outlook (2015) by the United Nations Environment Programme and International Solid Waste Association, for “guidance on low-cost reuse and recycling (‘waste to wealth’) technologies – including those which involve minimal or low capital investment and which produce products for a local market.”

Making Waste Work has been designed for community and civil society leaders, non-governmental organisations, and waste and resource managers who want to understand how to set up small-scale community recycling and waste management schemes in lower and middle income countries.

Part A: Be informed will also be useful for international agencies, national governments, cities and municipalities, the formal waste and resources industry, and anyone wishing to develop their understanding of the global waste crisis and how to tackle it. It sets out the essentials of community waste management, focusing on both the challenges and the opportunities.

Part B: Be prepared, breaks down the process of understanding the different materials in waste, how they can be recycled into new products, and the key considerations to starting a community-scale project with waste.

Part C: Be inspired, provides inspiration and how-to guides so that people can gain the necessary skills to transform waste into a resource.

Five facts about the waste crisis

  1. Each year approximately 9 million people die of diseases linked to mismanagement of waste and pollutants, 20 times more than die from malaria[1].
  2. Uncontrolled burning of household waste causes an extra 270,000 premature deaths every year around the world[2].
  3. Studies have found up to a third of cattle and half of goats have consume significant amounts of plastic, and that those that consume more plastic tend to be more emaciated, more prone to disease[3].
  4. Dumpsites are a greater health risk for the millions that live near to them than malaria[4].
  5. Uncollected and openly dumped waste in low income countries is the largest source of marine plastics. This accounts for more than half of the estimated 8 million tonnes of plastics entering the oceans every year and the impact of this pollution on marine life is of major global concern[5].


[1] UNEP (2015) Pollution is the largest cause of death in the world, SDG fact sheet; World Health Organisation (2017) Global Health Observatory data on malaria mortality.

[2] Kodros JK et al (2016) Global burden of mortalities due to chronic exposure to ambient PM2.5 from open combustion of domestic waste, Environ. Res. Lett. 11 124022.

[3] Various sources, including Tiruneh R, Yesuwork H (2010) Occurrence of rumen foreign bodies in sheep and goats slaughtered at the Addis Ababa Municipality Abattoir, Ethiopian Veterinary Journal Vol 14, No 1; and Mushongal et al (2015) Investigations of foreign bodies in the fore-stomach of cattle at Ngoma Slaughterhouse, Rwanda J. S. Afr. Vet. Assoc. Vol 86, No 11 Pretoria.

[4] K. Chatham-Stephens et al (2013) Burden of disease from toxic waste sites in India, Indonesia and the Philippines in 2010, Environmental Health Perspectives.

[5] Jambeck, J.R. et al (2015) Plastic waste inputs from land into the oceanScience, 347.

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