Waste Management Goals and achieving the SDGs

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are widely accepted as a global framework by which stakeholders align themselves to drive a sustainable future for people and the planet. How exactly does waste management fit into the SDGs and which goals are most applicable? In this piece we dive deeper into the role of sustainable waste management goals in achieving the SDGs and tie in how we as a company are committed to supporting the goals through valuable partnerships with our customers. 

What are the SDGs and why should companies align with them?  

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the ‘Global Goals’, are objectives that lay out a roadmap to creating a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable future. The goals were created by the United Nations with the aim of providing a shared global blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and planet, now and into the future. Each of the 17 goals call for urgent action by all countries to support and provide capacity building for the SDGs and each of the thematic issues they address. The SDGs cover a wide range of topics and indicators from water, energy and climate to transport, urbanisation and healthcare, amongst others.

In order to make the SDGs a reality, all countries, stakeholders, businesses and individuals need to take ownership of the goals and ensure commitments are translated into action. The SDGs may not be legally binding, however, they reflect the shifting stakeholder expectations. Businesses around the world are embracing sustainability and integrating the SDGs as a part of their core strategy to drive growth, lower risk, attract investment and focus their purpose. The SDG Compass provides a thorough guide for businesses to take action on global goals. Companies that incorporate SDGs into the core of the business generally have an edge on competitors and secure their own growth and prosperity. With this in mind, we will now examine how Don’t Waste supports and helps companies contribute to the sustainable development agenda.

Global SDGs Waste Management

How do Waste Management goals help achieve the SDGs?

 We now unpack how sustainable waste management supports the SDGs and how DON’T WASTE in particular helps clients align with global goals. We will pay particular attention to SDG 5, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 17.

  • SDG 5 – Gender Equality
    SDG 5 waste management goals

Women are often at the forefront of discrimination, domestic violence, unpaid labour, unequal rights and are disproportionately affected by pandemics and the climate crisis. SDG 5 focuses on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls around the world. Gender equality is a fundamental human right and lays the foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world and needs to be embraced by all stakeholders and businesses.

At Don’t Waste, we recognise the valuable role of women and the importance of gender equality. Females make up 67% of our workforce, fulfilling valuable administrative, operational, managerial and leadership roles. We are committed to ensuring women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities in leadership roles, creating a work environment that empowers women. We see the value in investing in women and pushing for equality. Investing in Women, Improves the World!

  • SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities

SDG 11 waste management goals

SDG 11 was established with the mission to make cities more safe, resilient and sustainable. Sustainable Waste Management plays an integral role for sustainable cities. Don’t Waste diverted over 50, 000 tons from landfill in 2021 in partnership with our clients across retail, commercial, hospitality, industrial, and education sectors. We ensure that solid waste is regularly collected, well managed and traced from source to treatment. Don’t Waste also supports the Green Building certification process by providing auditable and verifiable data and reports needed to support the accreditation process. In addition, we can provide custom reports that can be tailored to the various building rating tools to help support clients in achieving their waste management goals.

 

  • SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production

SDG 12 waste management goals

SDG 12 is the driving force of the global economy and focuses on ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns. Changing the way we consume, produce and dispose of items is crucial to drive a more sustainable future.

For example, waste generation has increased drastically around the world in recent decades with less than 20% of waste recycled each year. Every year, one third of all food produced (equivalent to 1.3 billion tons) is wasted, which contributes significantly to climate change (Read: Are you fighting food waste or fuelling the climate crisis?). With the global population anticipated to reach 9.6 billion people by the year 2050, nearly three earths might be required to sustain the current lifestyles. The time to transition from a linear to a circular economy is now (Read: Why Circular Economies).

 

Global Waste Management Goals

(Source: Statista.com, June 2022)

How does Don’t Waste support SDG 12?

The Don’t Waste system and solutions prides itself on minimising waste and promoting circularity.

Target 12.3: Halve global per capita food waste

Don’t Waste helps to reduce per capita global food waste by diverting food waste from landfill at a retail and consumer level. We help clients valorise food waste and divert organic waste from landfill, by finding tailored zero wastesolutions. We also run campaigns and offer training and engagement material to assist clients in raising awareness and getting tenants, employees and staff on board to reduce and separate food waste.

Target 12.5 Substantially reduce waste generation

Don’t Waste follows the waste hierarchy, helping clients to substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, reuse, recycling and recovery. We ensure the environmentally sound management of waste through source segregation and recycling and advocate for avoidance as the first step to prioritise.

Target 12.6 Encourage companies to adopt sustainable practises and sustainability reporting

We provide Sustainability Reporting to clients, quantifying their scope 3 emissions, and facilitating ESG waste reporting at a board level. Custom reporting is also available and we additionally provide valuable tools for clients to continuously improve and transparently communicate their environmental performance. 

  • SDG 13 – Climate Action

SDG 13 waste management goals

 Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. The IPCC warns that humans are ‘unequivocally’ responsible for the climate crisis and that time is running out to meet climate goals (Read: The Race We Don’t Waste to Win). SDG 13 focuses on taking urgent action to combat climate change and it’s impacts. There is certainly no time to waste which is why we help our clients take climate action through improved waste management (Read: Waste Management and the Fight Against Climate Change).

 We’re committed to taking climate action in line with SDG 13. In 2021, we partnered with our clients to save 745 029 81 m3 CO2 through our waste management program. Our clients are able to accurately report on their waste carbon savings through the Don’t Waste System. Moreover, diverting waste from landfill helps curb climate change by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with disposal. We help clients reduce emissions by responsibly managing waste and reducing organic waste disposal.

  • SDG 14 – Life Below Water

SDG 14 waste management goals

The ocean covers over 70% of the earth’s surface and estimates suggest that it produces between 50-80% of the earth’s oxygen. Marine resources are essential to the survival of all organisms. The health of the ocean is under threat due to global warming, plastic pollution, overfishing and poor provision of marine protected areas. SDG 14 is centred around conserving and sustainably using the ocean and marine resources.

Target 14.1 By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution.

Our commitment to SDG 14 ‘Life below water’ goal is two-fold, through waste minimisation and clean ups through our Zero Waste Foundation. Don’t Waste prides itself off providing efficient on-site waste minimisation and responsible end-of-life management ensuring our clients know exactly where their waste ends up. The effective segregation of waste helps prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution by preventing waste from entering the ocean.

It is estimated that every minute, one garbage truck of plastic enters our ocean and that by the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish if drastic action is not taken. The Zero Waste Foundation reduces marine litter entering the ocean and impacting life below water by cleaning up beaches, mangroves, lagoons and areas on land. The vision of the Foundation is “Cleaner communities, preservation of natural resources, and a sustainable way of living”. The foundation facilitated over 30 clean-ups in 2021 and is looking to expand their impact. For International Coastal Clean-up day the ZWF and partners prevented 1.2 tons of waste from entering the ocean. Through clean-up initiatives and raising awareness for the importance of recycling the foundation takes ongoing action to reduce marine litter.

  • SDG 15 – Life on Land

SDG 15  

SDG 15 is focused on protecting and restoring life on land. This includes the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably managing forests, combating desertification, minimising land degradation and halting biodiversity loss. Deforestation is responsible for approximately 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions and is linked directly to biodiversity loss. Reducing and recycling paper is one way that we minimise the overall intensity and demand for virgin materials from forests and support SDG 15 Life on land. By recycling we are saving trees, contributing to sustainable forest management and reducing deforestation. Recycling reduces the number of trees harvested and limits the emissions created when cutting down trees. In addition, our waste management program saved 490 991 trees in 2021 through avoiding, recycling and recovering waste.

  • SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals 

SDG 17

SDG 17 refers to the need for collaboration across every sector and country to successfully implement and achieve the SDGs by the year 2030.  Collaboration is fundamental to fulfilling the rest of the SDGs.

Partnerships are central to everything we do at Don’t Waste. We recognise the value of SDG 17, and share a common vision and aim that gives priority to people and the planet through our partnerships. We partner with clients on their Zero Waste Journey to find the favourable solutions to minimise their waste. We collaborate with locally sourced service providers and recyclers in different regions we operate in. Building capacity through Supplier and Enterprise Development and investment is a priority at Don’t Waste. We plan joint clean ups with NGOs, NPOs and communities and other stakeholders through our Zero Waste Foundation. Partnerships play a fundamental role at Don’t Waste to fulfil our mission of protecting the environment.

Get in touch with Don’t Waste to start your waste minimisation journey and maximise your positive impacts by creating sustainable waste management goals.

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Don’t Waste provides industry leading business intelligence, site management, and waste management services to Property, Retail, Commercial, Industrial and Hospitality industries. Our customers include the world’s leading property management groups. To find out more about our innovative value-added systems and services in onsite waste operations, contact:

Linus Naik- Group General Manager: Sustainability & Business Development (Email: I Mobile: +27 82 552 0675).

Michael Foreman- UK Managing Director and International Business Development (Email: I Mobile: +44 7939 027193).

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