President, International Solid Waste Association

ISWA Blog - Braziliant Welcome for Waste & Recycling Family

David Newman, President of the International Solid Waste Association, brings us the first of ISWAs new blogs direct from the 10th ISWA Congress in Brazil. 

David Newman, ISWA President, brings us the first of ISWA’s new blogs direct from the 10th ISWA Congress in Brazil.

San Paulo, September 10th, the ISWA Congress is coming to an end. A fun party with Brazilian dance music got the gala dinner crowd to their feet. But we weren’t here to dance, though that does no harm. We were there to learn from each other’s experiences and teach what we know to those wanting to learn. In this sense the ISWA family came together again after Vienna last year and Florence in 2012.

It really is a family. Over 1000 people this time from nearly 70 countries and what a pleasure to see friends from the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia and other African nations, demonstrating their interest and concern in these countries for waste management. Suddenly it seems, everyone now understands waste needs solutions, and fast.

Among us of course are the Europeans and the majority from South America. Brazil , Peru and Colombia are the hot spots were waste legislation has advanced rapidly in the last years, thanks to ISWA capacity building in part, but also help these countries have generously received from the governments of Germany, Japan, Korea, the USA and the EU, to name a few.

Companies are investing; jobs being created; waste is being collected on ever grater areas of these countries and the first, timid examples of professional recycling are happening.

No small amounts of money here: the budget of Sao Paulo for waste management is around $2 billion in 2014.  Naturally this state represents almost 50% of the Brazilian economy so there will be many other regions developing less quickly where finance is hard to find.

But think of the opportunities here: waste today in Brazil goes 98% to landfill or (in the north) dumps and the open environment. A country with ambitions to be in the 21st century cannot accept this, and Brazil has decided enough is enough. Exciting times here.

David Newman is President of the International Solid Waste Association

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