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Call for Action and Solutions on Zero Waste in Cities - UN Zero Waste Day 2023

Partners of the World Urban Campaign, led by UN-Habitat engaging +270 partner organizations including local and sub-regional governments, academia, research, professional organizations, civil society and grassroots organizations, the private sector, children and youth groups, women groups, people with disabilities and older persons, are calling for urgent action to achieve zero waste in cities.

We call on all individuals, governments and organizations to join together to celebrate the UN Zero Waste Day on March 30th. This day provides an opportunity to recognize the global effort to reduce and manage waste more responsibly. We invite everyone to think about the impacts of waste on our planet and take action to reduce and manage it better.

We must come together and create solutions that address the root causes of waste and its impacts on the environment, economy and social well-being.

We are reiterating the key principles of The City We Need Now! Our manifesto building on the implementation of Global Agreements in particular the New Urban Agenda (NUA), Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Paris Climate Agreement. Our vision is to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable by the end of the decade to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 11, urban related goals and targets, particularly SDG 11.6.1 on municipal solid waste.

We are reaffirming key principles of The City We Need Now! focused on waste and circular economy:

  • The City We Need is clean and circular. It saves wasteful use of resources through rethinking, refusing, reducing, reusing, and recycling our waste and offers high quality of life to the residents.

  • The City We Need has plenty of green jobs created in waste management, recycling, and remanufacturing, as well as renewable energy and sustainable agriculture through the transition to a circular economy.

  • The City We Need is equipped with necessary and appropriate waste management infrastructure as well as policy and governance system that turn waste into resources, supporting the transition to the circular economy.

  • The City We Need engages and empowers all the stakeholders in waste management chain, including private sector, informal waste pickers, civil society, and residents, accelerating our behavioral change for responsible production and consumption style.

We call to action towards zero waste in our cities and recommend the following practical steps you can take to promote zero waste in cities and communities:

1. Support cities’ zero waste initiatives: Many cities have waste management systems that promote zero waste, such as source separation, community composting projects or plastic-free initiatives. Get involved and start from your community.

2. Practice the 5Rs: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Refuse single-use plastics and other disposable items, reduce your wasteful consumption, reuse items as much as possible, recycle materials correctly, and compost food and organic waste.

3. Encourage businesses to adopt zero waste practices: Talk to businesses and encourage them to adopt zero waste practices, such as promoting circular product design and taking Extended Producer Responsibility to reduce the burden of waste management systems in cities.

4. Educate others: Spread the word about the importance of zero waste and share tips and strategies for reducing waste in your community. Host a zero-waste workshop or start a social media campaign to raise awareness.

5. Advocate for policy changes: Contact your local government officials and advocate for policies that promote zero waste, such as banning single-use plastics or implementing composting programs. Together, we can create a more sustainable future for our cities and our planet.

We urge all to commit to innovative zero waste actions and solutions under the UN Decade of Action towards creating greener and sustainable cities now and into the future.


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