The transition to greener economies includes managing the ever-increasing waste streams in ways that are contributing to a cleaner and healthier living environment as well as to the recuperation and recycling of useful resources.
Aside from providing an important contribution to reducing global GHG emissions, sustainable waste management is increasingly regarded as an opportunity to promote social inclusion and upgrade the quality of existing jobs of both women and men. However, this can only lead to sustainable development if the jobs that depend on waste prevention, reuse, recycling and recovery are decent jobs. In many countries, this requires the full recognition and integration of the contributions by workers and enterprises in the informal economy.
Social and environmentally sound waste management will require that workers, operators and businesses follow safety, health and environmental guidelines, and be part and parcel of a recognized waste management economic system. Local and national governments will need to set up solid waste management systems with clear regulations and incentives to support responsible waste management and recycling businesses in the different waste streams. At the same time, there is a growing need to support small enterprises in sound waste management and business development.