GAIA is a worldwide alliance of more than 800 grassroots groups, non-governmental organizations, and individuals in over 90 countries whose ultimate vision is a just, toxic-free world without incineration.
This research explores the disruption of centralised waste facilities to accommodate a decentralised model, known as the mini-MRF, that is capable of extracting more value out of waste streams. Centralised facilities possess a hoax of challenges, be it their complex infrastructure or high capital and operational costs. With that said, existing systems characterise an unsustainable solution for long-term waste management, and a worthy solution to these issues is crucial for effective management of our planet’s resources.
Makery: What was your first impression when you entered the bowels of this processing plant?
Stefan Shankland: The sheer scale of everything. The orders of magnitude here are monumental, gargantuan, in terms of both spaces and quantities. More than 700,000 tons of waste are processed each year, 100 tons are incinerated each day. This waste is ours—mine accumulated with 1.5 million other residents’ waste. It makes you acutely aware of how much garbage we produce collectively without realizing it. Through this visual, physical, spatial experience, we enter the imagination and the representation of what we produce as a society, or even as humanity.
In your video pieces, the workers are barely represented, or else they are played by dancers who seem to be imitating machines. Are the workers invisible in this world of scrap metal?
This is another aspect that struck me during my first visits. You enter an enormous site that processes waste from 1.5 million residents, but you don’t see anyone. You might see three people working in an office, and there’s a series of trucks that come in, but nobody gets out of them. They dump the waste in the pit, and then they leave. You don’t run into any humans, it’s something very mechanical.
Occasionally you do meet workers, mostly men. But they have a difficult relationship with their professional image. When it comes to the popular image of their profession, there is a kind of shame associated with garbage. The workers don’t voluntarily expose themselves as working in a waste processing plant. We always respected their right to privacy.
A data standard for reporting data about Household Waste Recycling Centres
The chatarreros are Barcelona’s itinerant scrap-metal collectors, and there are thousands of them. Most are undocumented migrants and so there is no official census, but Federico Demaria, a social scientist at the University of Barcelona who is conducting a study of the informal recyclers in Catalonia, believes there are between 50,000 and 100,000 in the region. About half are from sub-Saharan Africa; the rest are from eastern Europe, elsewhere in Africa and Spain.
Behind the high walls on the outskirts of Cairo is a mostly Coptic Christian community, known as the Zabaleen - a derogatory term for garbage men.
Settling in an abandoned quarry, they became the informal waste disposal experts of the city in the 70s, collecting rubbish from the capital's streets for free and bringing it back to their homes to recycle it.
Sorting is done by hand - the plastics are separated from the cardboard, the clothes from the organic waste, before they're sold on to the next layer of the community's refuse economy.
Hoje em dia, a indústria do lixo é considerada a mais propensa a lavagens de dinheiro. E tudo isso devido ao fato de ter emergido uma economia clandestina, a partir do empreendedorismo da Camorra, a máfia napolitana.
A maneira como a Camorra se apropriou do negócio do lixo está bem descrito pelo jornalista Roberto Salviani no livro “Gomorra”, que narra as entranhas do crime organizado italiano. E permite entender os passos da nova política ambiental brasileira, implementada pelo Ministro do Meio Ambiente Ricardo Salles.
Com as exigências ambientais, a reciclagem do lixo, especialmente dos materiais tóxicos, tornou-se bastante onerosa, se tratado corretamente. A máfia passou então a entrar no negócio através de empresas-mãe, cercadas por um arquipélago de stakeholders, formalmente independentes, incumbidos de dar um fim ao lixo, despejando, enterrando ou transportando para locais distantes. Eles trabalham para várias famílias, sem exclusividade. Quando estoura algum escândalo, as famílias ficam blindadas.
Many cities like Indore, Surat, Navi Mumbai, Ambikapur, Mysuru have been successfully implementing circular economy concepts and have showcased excellent models for effective waste management. In fact, Indore was declared the cleanest city in India for the fourth time in a row under the Swachh Survekshan 2020. Indore’s continuous success in the sector deserves accolades for consistent efforts and diligent planning for the entire waste value chain. The Indore model provides several examples that other cities can and should adopt.
Since 2016, Indore’s municipal corporation (IMC) has eliminated garbage dumps, ensured 100% household-waste segregation and converted waste to usable products, such as compost and fuel. It partnered with non governmental organisations for an awareness campaign to change the behaviour of its citizens, contracted private companies to run some waste management operations, used technology, and improved municipal capacity to ensure the implementation of its waste management plan.
We have listed all 210 Resource Recovery Points of the Chennai Corporation. Buyers and Sellers registration is increasing every day.
Chennai has become the first city to have an online waste exchange for municipal solid waste.
Residents who want to sell their waste online will be able to contact 2,600 scrap dealers and other agencies across the city.
The Madras Waste Exchange, which is both a web portal and an application, has been conceptualised by the Smart City Mission, with support from the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. The web portal is www.madraswasteexchange.com and the Android app can be downloaded from Google Play.
An Online Marketplace for Recyclable Waste
Let's move away from single-use plastic and put robust reuse systems in place!
1. Waste prevention and preparation for reuse.
2. Simpler collection models and systems that are more integrated and adapted to the various urban and socio-economic environments.
3. Making the organic fraction the central focus of waste management.
4. Waste management and prevention in the business, commercial and service sectors.
5. A Green Point network offering more services adapted to all groups of residents.
6. Design, production and consumption criteria that are innovative and favourable to the circular economy.
7. Regulations and taxes that provide incentives for prevention, recovery and reuse, with the internalisation of collection and treatment costs.
8. Communication and education to foster the new culture of consumption, prevention and selective collection, in order to stimulate the general public's involvement.
9. Participation networks with social and civil society organisations that are in favour of waste prevention and reuse.
10. Municipal exemplariness regarding prevention, selective collection, reuse and recovery of resources.
The Zero Waste Cities approach is a continuous effort to phase out waste – not by burning or landfilling it – but instead by creating and implementing systems that do not generate waste in the first place
Firstly, scan cars – vehicles that are equipped with sensors to collect data on the urban environment – are becoming increasingly popular to help the municipality to carry out tasks efficiently. For example with parking policy enforcement, waste registration and advertisement taxation. Apart from making the city more efficient and clean, with this project we question and explore what public and democratic values should be embedded in the implementation of these scan cars.
Waste avoidance is simply avoiding the production of waste. It is often associated with the terms ‘waste reduction’ or ‘source reduction’, as well as ‘waste minimisation’. As stated in Background to Waste Management, minimisation is at the top of the waste hierarchy, and contrary to popular perception, reducing the amount of waste that is produced can be achieved relatively simply. Slight modifications of procedures and/or altering procurement practices can improve efficiencies in utilising resources, leading to a reduction in the amount of waste produced.
Recycleye has partnered with academics at leading universities to create WasteNet; the world’s largest dataset for waste, holding over 2.5 million training images created by deep learning and computer vision.
These datasets are refined by weight and brand-level detection enabled through Recycleye’s vision system. This technology holds world-leading accuracy that has disrupted the waste industry, and is revolutionising the current waste infrastructure.
This pains me to write, but we all have to come to terms with the harsh reality that recycling validates waste and is a placebo to the complex waste crisis we have designed ourselves into. The things you are separating and putting in your recycling bins are probably not being recycled — and there’s a good chance that they are ending up somewhere you never imagined.
Abfall ist keine Substanz, sondern ein Verhältnis. Durch die Geschichte hindurch hatten die Menschen sich in einer überwiegend friedfertigen Beziehung mit ihrem ständigen Begleiter eingerichtet. Seit 100 Jahren jedoch hinterläßt jede Generation der nächsten einen wachsenden Berg von Altlasten. Der Abfall fordert, nachdem er einige Metamorphosen durchlaufen hat, die Fallensteller der Kategorien heraus – Gesetzgeber, Chemie-Ingenieure, Materialwissenschaftler, Marktforscher, Polizisten, Semiotiker, Kunstkritiker. Heute sind wir dabei, die gesamte Infrastruktur der Gesellschaft nach den Erfordernissen des Müll-Systems auszurichten. Was dabei rauskommt, ist allerdings – bestenfalls – eine Verdichtung und Verlagerung. Mit jeder Verdichtung wird der Tödlichkeitsgrad des Mülls erhöht, mit jeder Verlagerung ein weiteres Territorium in Altlast verwandelt. Die Zukunft hat bereits begonnen. Ihre Fragestellung lautet nicht mehr eigentlich: wohin mit dem Müll?, sondern: wohin mit uns? Hat der Müll System oder ist das System der Müll?