A waste crisis is emerging in the Asia and Pacific region, fuelled by rising quantities of waste, on the one hand, and poor regulation and management, on the other. This crisis threatens to overwhelm the resources and capacity of local governments and communities alike. Within this crisis, however, is a significant and largely untapped opportunity for transformative change. The waste-to-resource approach promotes a paradigm shift in the management of solid waste. Under this approach, rather than view waste as a problem and burden, it is seen as a valuable resource, one that can be managed to produce sustainable benefits for a range of actors.
‘Valuing Waste, Transforming Cities’ provides guidance, lessons and recommendations on how to accomplish this shift. It explores a low-cost, low-technology, community-based and decentralized waste-to-resource model called the Integrated Resource Recovery Centre. The publication articulates key lessons learned by ESCAP and its partners in establishing Integrated Resource Recovery Centres across cities in Asia and the Pacific since 2009. These lessons are grouped around four important areas for waste-to-resource initiatives: (i) building partnerships; (ii) awareness raising and behaviour change; (iii) facilities management and operational performance; and (iv) creating an enabling environment for replication and scaling up.