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| be Waste Wise | September 28, 2023

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Waste Management in Developing Countries – A Beginner’s Guide

waste management in developing countries
waste management in developing countries

Want to learn about waste management in developing countries, but don’t know where to start? Begin your learning with this guide, which refers to articles & panel discussions across several #wastedialog



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  • Improving waste management has numerous benefits, which lead to improving human wellbeing. This can be clearly observed in developing countries and improving waste management there is a priority. Learn why from Bilkiss Adebiyi’s essay on the relationship between good waste management & wellbeing.
  • Then, watch this panel discussion on waste collection systems in developing countries. Inhabitants of many communities worldwide feel helpless when they observe mountains of garbage in their streets and find no help from their government to collect that waste. Inappropriate waste collection systems are a significant threat to public health.
  • Continue the learning with this two-part series on the Missing Billions which addresses waste management for all, especially in developing economies. This first part analyzes Waste as a System, where panelists discuss access to waste systems and the barriers to the delivery of universal waste collection. In Part II, the speakers discuss Waste as a Resource – they talk about why waste is a resource for billions and why does it matter.
  • In developing countries, governments often lack resources to solve waste management challenges. Such situations require new perspectives, energy, and resources in the form of entrepreneurs and businesses. Learn about the opportunities for entrepreneurs in waste management and this panel on entrepreneurship in solid waste management where Bilikiss Adebiyi (Wecyclers) and Tom Szaky (TerraCycle) advise entrepreneurs and speak about their entrepreneurial journey in Nigeria and U.S.
  • The ISWA Young Professionals organised their second conferenc on ‘The Ultimate Journey from Dumpsites to a Circular Economy: Best Practices & Innovative Solutions for Low- and Middle-Income Countries. The two-day conference covered topics including circular economy, dumpsites closure and rehabilitation, best practices, and innovation in waste management. Watch Day I and Day II of the conference on our platform.
  • Even though some developed countries are moving towards eliminating landfills completely, there are places around the world, where well operated sanitary landfills can provide the safest and most affordable way to dispose of solid waste. Modern engineered landfills are essential foundations for a community’s solid waste management system. They are a proven and reliable technology that can accept a wide range of incoming waste loads. Learn about the relevance of landfills in developing countries and read why landfills are a necessity in developing countries.
  • Understand what needs to be done next to break the reliance on donor funding and novel approaches to ensuring waste management in poorer countries is sustainable, in this panel on Reflections on Sustainable Resource Management in Developing Economies.
  • Circular economy is often not discussed in the context of developed countries. Learn how to make circular economy truly global, and make it relevant to poorer nations, whose participation is a must to make a circular economy possible.
  • In the Future of Waste Picking, we try to understand how the world can better make use of wastepickers’ lives and talents.
  • Learn about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in developing economies especially amongst informal communities in our panel on Global Waste Response to COVID-19.

Latin America


  • Officials in developing countries usually acknowledge the need for better waste management. However, little is done to improve the situation, and changes take long periods of time. Waste management is not normally given high priority among governmental duties, and decision makers don’t always have the necessary skills or resources to evaluate the technologies proposed by sales people who claim that their installations would resolve all of the locality’s waste management challenges. Given so many issues, learn about the main drivers & barriers to waste management in developing countries like India & Nigeria.
  • One in two people on this planet is either Chinese or Indian. China has achieved significantly better economic growth and improvements in waste management as compared to India. India’s government had launched an ambitious initiative called the Clean India Campaign. Learn about the status of the Clean India Campaign from two people who’re significantly involved in implementing it.
  • The informal waste recycling sector in India is significant in its proportion. Household waste follows the chain of waste picker to aggregator to recycler, and the entire chain operates informally. In this webinar the panelists discuss the existent recycling system, the challenges faced at each of these stages, regulations, administrative support, and what could be done to improve the system, and to make individual lives along the chain better.
  • Like many sectors impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, the plastic recycling value chain has been severely disrupted amid lockdowns and movement restrictions. The webinar on Safeguarding the Plastic Recycling Value Chain is based on a study that highlights six key COVID-19 impacts on the recycling value chain in India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines.
  • Rapid urbanization and changing lifestyles is bringing about a marked increase in the quantum of plastic waste generated and in turn handled by urban centers in India. This panel gathers experts from the plastic waste management domain in India to understand more about Single Use Plastics and Extended Producers Responsibility in India.
  • Know about recent developments in single-use plastics restrictions in Asia in this webinar on International Developments in Single-Use Plastics Bans.
  • Asia is the largest contributor to ocean-bound plastics and the fastest-growing region for packaging consumption. In recent years, chemical recycling, in the form of monomer recycling and plastics-to-fuel recycling, has emerged as a feasible solution to recycle plastic feedstock that cannot be recycled through mechanical processes. Learn about the Opportunities in Chemical Recycling in Developing Countries of Asia and its barriers ranging from technologies, feedstock acquisition, finding suitable locations, and end markets.



  • Learn about waste management in the Caribbean, emphasising on how it all worked during a pandemic. The panel focuses on the experiences of 3 countries – Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
  • Understand how the island countries of the Caribbean mitigate marine pollution in a webinar that highlights the work being done in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and St Lucia.

Is there a specific topic on waste management in developing countries that you want us to host a panel discussion on? Or, are there any other panels or articles (external to this website) that you think should be linked as part of this guide, do let us know in the comments.

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Want to learn about waste management in developing countries? This resource from @beWasteWise is a good start.

Here is a quick guide to waste management in developing countries from @beWasteWise


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