Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi are experiencing impressive growth of their population and economies. This growth provides benefits, but also great challenges in terms of managing ever increasing amounts of waste. Fortunately, all three countries have expressed the ambition to transition to a more circular economy and tackle these challenges. TNO, SIB and two local consultants will support them with this quest, by assessing the status quo of waste management practices and developing a national roadmap for a priority waste stream.

From litter to resource

Current waste management systems in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi are still insufficiently developed. Large amounts of solid waste are not being processed properly and end up as litter in both the urban and natural environment. This leads to severe impacts such as environmental degradation, increased need for resource extraction and health problems. Given the huge growth in demographics that all three countries experience and the challenges that lie at hand to curb climate change and to reduce pressures on the environment, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi have decided to transition to a circular economy, in which resources and products are maintained at their highest value possible. One of the first steps that can be taken is to tackle current waste management deficiencies which is what a project team led by TNO will support the three countries with.

Circular waste system

The goal of the project is twofold and the same for all three countries. First, the status quo of waste management practices for six waste streams (plastics, metals, glass, paper, household waste, agricultural waste) will be assessed. This will be done from a multi-disciplinary approach, including technical analysis on types of waste and volumes, policy analysis and stakeholder mapping and analysis. The outcomes will serve as the basis for subsequent analysis which will identify the potential opportunities and barriers to a shift to a more circular waste system and identify which waste stream shows highest potential.

The second part of the project is based on the development of a detailed strategic national roadmap for this selected waste stream. This includes an outline for a national implementation roadmap with short, medium and long-term recommendations for among others appropriate technologies, legal reforms, policies and regulations and market engagement. In addition, in this phase a pilot project will be conceptualized. Throughout the whole project there is a strong focus on societal challenges, particularly the need for local job creation and strategies for improved gender equality.

For more information and cooperation with TNO contact Erlend Deckers


Partners and planning

The project, which was assigned to TNO in January, will be executed by an international team led by TNO, complemented with two local consultants from Zimbabwe and the Kenyan consultancy Sustainable Inclusive Business Kenya (SIB) , who will jointly take a leading role in local data gathering and strategy development. The project is granted by CTCN (Climate and Technology Center & Network), the operational arm of the UNFCCC Technology Mechanism (part of UNEP and UNIDO) who’s core focus is to promote the accelerated transfer of technologies for low carbon and climate resilient development at the request of developing countries. In each country the team will work in close contact with the National Designated Entity, the designated lead scientist responsible for the project on a national level.

The project duration is 13 months. The project team consists of experts from Circular Economy & Environment (CEE) , Energy Transition (ET) and Strategic Analysis & Policy.

This TNO project supports the following sustainable development goals

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