More than ever, our future depends upon how we manage the future of our waste. As an integrated part of sustainable development, effective waste management can reduce our global footprint. Ignoring or neglecting the challenges of waste, however, can lead to significant health, environmental and economic consequences.
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A staggering 1.3 billion tonnes of food is produced each year to feed the world’s 7 billion people. Yet, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), around US$1 trillion of that food goes to waste. With 200,000 new people added every day, the world can ill afford to waste such a massive amount of food.
Global waste, however, does not stop at food. Consumers are increasingly buying products that are wrapped in plastics and paper. Much of this packaging – and eventually the products themselves – will end up in landfills. This trend has both health and environmental consequences, especially given the rapid rise of hazardous waste such as electronics.