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Involving The Community In Waste Management

Involving the community in waste management

Review Overview


Organized at 3 PM GMT on 7th October, 2015


Barbara Herridge North London Waste Authority


External Relations Manager, North London Waste Authority 

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Sanjay Gupta


Water, Sanitation and Waste Management Expert

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Independent Waste Communications Professional

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26384 Cropped


Research Analyst, be Waste Wise

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Madhumitha Rajendran performed research and put together this quick summary of the panel along with some of her favourite quotes


BARBARA HERRIDGE, North London Waste Authority

  • The main risk in community engagement plans is the unexpected nature of outcomes.
  • You don’t necessarily know what people’s experiences are in waste management and it is difficult to know that unless you are working with that community day to day.

It is important to think about your community when you develop the engagement strategies and then communicate whether face to face or online appropriately.

  • To communicate and engage with the community, North London Waste Authority uses social media, face to face engagement, and newsletters to residents.
  • We often piggy back on other’s email newsletters. For example, if a council is sending out an email to an existing list of community groups, we will use a by-line.
  • For communication with public, video with good infographics are much better that a detailed document.

Any community engagement needs to be flexible as different community groups get engaged at different points of time.


Any waste management plan is for the betterment of the community so it is in the community’s inherent interest to be involved in the plan from the beginning.

  • Community reach and participation is of prime importance to ensure sustainability and acceptance of any waste management plan.
  • Waste management is more about social and civil engineering than technical engineering.
  • Community planning has worked much better in developing countries like Vietnam, Srilanka and India. It’s better to have a plan and then work towards implementation rather not planning and failing.
  • In low-income groups and other marginalized groups in developing countries, social media is not an effective channel yet, but face-to face community engagement works great.
  • What has worked well in developing countries is physical contact – creating groups of volunteers, reaching out to people from door to door, making them realize the importance of cleanliness and segregation of waste.
  • All waste management plans must have a community engagement system inherent in it. The logic is that when you share the plan then you get better buy-in, ownership and responsibility.

Community plan should be a part of every project charter, be it waste collection, processing or disposing.

  • Information should be arranged in different layers depending on the audience or the stakeholders but at some level everybody would be interested in the entire detailed plan.
  • For eg., a financier like a bank might be interested in the technical viability of the project, a municipality/mayor on whether it solves the waste management problems, the people might be interested in the social and environmental impacts.
  • Any plan should be flexible with inputs from different community sectors.
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