28 August 2018: Leaders from 23 cities and regions have signed C40’s ‘Advancing Towards Zero Waste Declaration.’ The Declaration commits signatories to reduce the amount of waste generated by each citizen by 15%, reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills and incineration by 50% and increase the diversion rate to 70% by 2030.

The Declaration notes that waste management is a primary service provided by city governments, and “is a sector over which mayors exercise significant authority.” It highlights that waste generation is increasing faster than any other environmental pollutant, and that action in the sector can reduce global emissions by up to 20%. The signatory cities and regions will avoid the disposal of at least 87 million tons of waste by 2030.

Waste management is key for cities to rapidly lower their emissions.

The commitments, made in advance of the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in San Francisco, US, aim to support the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change. The Declaration underscores that global food waste alone amounts to 1.3 billion tons per year, and, upon decay, produces significant amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas (GHG), but that when separated and treated, can enhance soils’ carbon capture capacity.

In order to achieve the commitments laid out in the Declaration, cities, regions and their leaders will:

  • reduce food loss and waste by decreasing losses along supply chains, minimizing the production of surplus food, and facilitating safe food donation;
  • implement source separated collection for food scraps and treatment infrastructure that recovers nutrients and energy;
  • support policies such as extended producer responsibility and sustainable procurement to reduce or ban single-use and non-recyclable plastics, while improving goods’ reparability and recyclability;
  • increase reduction, reuse, recovery and recycling of construction materials;
  • increase accessibility, awareness, scale and inclusivity of reduction, reutilization and recycling programmes and policies for communities; and
  • publicly report on the progress the cities are making towards their commitments.

In support of the Declaration, Mayor of Milan Guiseppe Sala emphasized that “waste management is key for cities to rapidly lower their emissions.”

Mayors and leaders from: Auckland (New Zealand); autonomous regions of Catalonia and Navarra (Spain); Copenhagen (Denmark); Dubai (United Arab Emirates (UAE)); London (UK); Milan (Italy); Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver (Canada); New York, Newburyport, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Monica and Washington D.C. (US); Paris (France); Rotterdam (the Netherlands); Sydney (Australia); Tel Aviv (Israel); and Tokyo (Japan) committed to the pledge. Combined, the cities are home to over 150 million inhabitants. [Advancing Towards Zero Waste Declaration] [23 Global Cities and Regions Advance towards Zero Waste]