Making Waste Work, WasteAid and CIWM’s free online toolkit for community-led waste management, has been recognised by the International Solid Waste Association as one of the year’s top three publications.

Making Waste Work: A Toolkit Community Waste Management in Low and Middle Income Countries was commissioned by CIWM 2017/18 President Professor David Wilson OBE and produced by WasteAid UK.

With 2 billion people in the world having no waste collection at all and the waste of over 3 billion people either dumped or subject to uncontrolled burning, the toolkit provides practical guidance on low-cost ‘waste to wealth’ technologies which involve minimal capital investment and can help communities turn their waste into useful products to sell locally.

Since it was published in October 2017, more than 30,000 people from 193 countries have looked at the online toolkit and chief author and Head of Communications at WasteAid UK, Zoë Lenkiewicz, hopes the ISWA award will help attract even more people to take a look.

“It’s very rewarding to see the WasteAid toolkit gain international recognition from ISWA,” Zoë said.

“We wrote the toolkit to inform, inspire and motivate people to tackle the waste challenge within their own communities, creating recycling jobs, improving their children’s health and protecting the environment. This ISWA award will help us put the spotlight on the urgent need for low-cost waste management systems and hopefully encourage more people to get involved.”

CIWM President Professor David C Wilson said, “We are delighted that the Making Waste Work toolkit has won recognition from ISWA. The toolkit is one small but important step in the fight against the global waste crisis that is blighting communities across the world, impacting on health and the environment, and contributing to marine plastics pollution.”

The ISWA Publication Award attracted strong submissions tackling a variety of pressing topics on the global waste management agenda. The first prize was awarded to the book ‘Challenging Changes, Connecting Waste Hierarchy and Circular Economy’ authored by Ad Lansink, the creator of the Ladder of Lansink waste hierarchy.

The second prize went to the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH for ‘Inclusion of Informal Collectors into the Evolving WMS in Serbia – A Roadmap for Integration’. Third prize was awarded to ‘Making Waste Work: A Toolkit’ by Zoë Lenkiewicz and Mike Webster from WasteAid UK.

Zoë Lenkiewicz added: “In designing our toolkit, accessibility was also critical; if we are to tackle the waste problem collectively and urgently, it’s vital that people can access up-to-date information wherever they are in the world.

“The toolkit is available in mobile and desktop versions and can be read online or downloaded for free and this has been widely welcomed by communities across the globe from small island states to megacities.”

The toolkit can be found at


About the Toolkit

Making Waste Work is a free online publication that informs, inspires and empowers communities to manage their own waste locally. It was produced for the billions of people with no formal waste management service, to allow them to take control of the situation themselves to protect public health, generate a small income, and protect the local and global environment.

The toolkit is divided into three parts.

Part A: Be informed, sets out the essentials of community waste management, focusing on both the challenges and the opportunities.

Part B: Be prepared, breaking 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.

Why is Making Waste Work important?

Many of the recommendations in the 2015 ISWA/UNEP publication Global Waste Management Outlook (GWMO) involve ‘top down’ solutions, focused around how international organisations and national governments can work with (often the larger) cities to develop integrated and sustainable waste management systems.

However, it does also recognise the need for parallel work from the ‘bottom up’, in particular community-based waste management initiatives which both tackle the local waste crisis and create sustainable livelihoods. Such approaches are often the only hope for many smaller cities, towns and villages, as well as informal settlements around larger cities, where local authorities simply do not have the resources to provide any level of waste management service.

Professor David C Wilson, chief author of the GWMO and current CIWM President chose to fund action on this recommendation, as part of his CIWM Presidential Project, to prepare practical guidance on low cost ‘waste to wealth’ technologies, which involve minimal capital investment and make products to sell in a local market.

Making Waste Work was developed by WasteAid UK, a not-for-profit organisation set up by waste management professionals. An early draft was field-tested in The Gambia at a workshop for community-based organisations from 11 low and middle income countries.

Specific chapters and the How-to guides have also benefitted from the input of experienced waste managers from a number of countries and global development practitioners. It is designed to be used as an online and offline resource to motivate and inspire people to tackle the waste crisis locally, wherever they are.



  • WasteAid is a UK registered charity set up by waste management professionals to tackle the global waste crisis. 2 billion people do not have their waste collected and 3 billion do not have a decent disposal site, and as a consequence waste ends up in rivers and ultimately the oceans.
  • WasteAid works with communities in low-income countries to address the root causes of climate change and marine plastic pollution.
  • WasteAid shares waste management knowledge and skills with communities in low-income countries; trains people to become self-employed recycling entrepreneurs; and influences decision-makers and the donor community to increase spending on waste management from the current 0.3% to 3% of international development aid.
  • CIWM is the leading professional body for the resource and waste management sector representing around 5,500 individuals in the UK, Ireland and overseas. Established in 1898, CIWM is a non-profit making organisation, dedicated to the promotion of professional competence amongst waste managers. CIWM seeks to raise standards for those working in and with the sector by producing best practice guidance, developing educational and training initiatives, and providing information on key waste-related issues. More information can be found at


Zoë Lenkiewicz, Head of Communications, WasteAid UK,, +44 (0)1702 416315,

Pat Jennings, Head of Policy & Communications, CIWM,, +44 (0)1604 823325,

More news

Subscribe to our newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

By signing up, you consent to your personal data being saved in line with our privacy policy.

Thank you, you're subscribed