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| be Waste Wise | September 21, 2023

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Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Waste Management

Image shows a disposable mask being picked off a beach. Underneath is the text on black background reading - Impacts of COVID-19 on Waste Management

Want to understand the impacts of the pandemic on waste management? Begin your learning with this guide, which refers to panel discussions across several #wastedialog.



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  • In the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, as human tragedy and our response to it was unveiling, we organized three webinars to understand the immediate impacts of the pandemic on waste management globally.
  • Like many sectors impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, the plastic recycling value chain has been severely disrupted amid lockdowns and movement restrictions. Circulate Capital commissioned a study carried out by GA Circular to understand challenges faced by the plastics recycling industry in South and Southeast Asia during this time and the interventions needed to sustain it. Based on more than 100 interviews, this study (titled – Safeguarding the Plastic Recycling Value Chain) highlights six key COVID-19 impacts on the recycling value chain in India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines. 
  • In this webinar about food rescue, Beth Fitzpatrick from OzHarvest talks about the challenges brought about by COVID-19 and how OzHarvest has responded to the pandemic and met increased community demand for food relief.
  • Municipalities in the U.S. started experiencing additional budget challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In some cases residential recycling programs are being changed or paused as a result. This webinar on the Pandemic Effects on US Recycling Budgets discusses recent trends around those changes, as well as potential solutions being explored by municipalities to maintain their programs.
  • COVID-19 has shown how quickly we can adapt and change our routines in the face of such a significant challenge, but could the positive differences of these months have made to our behaviour be adopted in the long term, and what more needs to be done to truly shift societies in both the UK and Australia onto a more sustainable path? We discuss this in a panel on Lifestyles Post COVID.

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.


Want to understand about impacts of the pandemic on waste management? This resource from @beWasteWise is a good start.

Here is a quick guide to the impacts of the #COVID19 pandemic on waste management across the globe from @beWasteWise

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