Image source: Henry & Co. on Unsplash

In the lead up to the Global Climate Action Summit this week in California, 23 pioneering cities and regions signed the C40’s Advancing Towards Zero Waste Declaration, pledging to cut the amount of waste generated by each citizen 15% by 2030.

This commitment includes the reduction of waste sent to landfills and incineration by 50% and increases the diversion rate to 70% by 2030.

Signatory cities and regions include Auckland, Catalonia, Copenhagen, Dubai, London, Milan, Montreal, Navarra, New York City, Newburyport, Paris, Philadelphia, Portland, Rotterdam, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Monica, Sydney, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Toronto, Vancouver & Washington D.C

According to the Global Climate Summit, the 150 million citizens that live in the 23 cities and regions are accelerating the transition to a zero-waste future and will avoid the disposal of at least 87 million tonnes of waste by 2030. Read more: Monrovia rolls out waste-to-energy programme

These are essential steps in delivering on the highest goals of the Paris Agreement and keeping global temperature rise below 1.5℃, the Summit noted in a media statement.

The Advancing Towards Zero Waste Declaration is built on two bold commitments:

1) reducing the municipal solid waste generation per capita by at least 15% by 2030 compared to 2015; and

2) reducing the amount of municipal solid waste disposed to landfill and incineration by at least 50% by 2030 compared to 2015, and increasing the diversion rate away from landfill and incineration to at least 70% by 2030.

The Summit highlighted that signatory cities will implement bold actions, including:

  • Reduce food losses and wasting of food at the retail and consumer levels by decreasing losses along production and supply chains, minimizing the production of surplus food, and facilitating safe food donation and by-products for feed production.
  • Implement source separated collection for food scraps and other organics and treatment infrastructure that recovers nutrients, energy and contributes to the restoration of carbon storage capacity in soils.
  • Support the implementation of local and regional policies, such as extended producer responsibility and sustainable procurement, to reduce or ban single-use and non-recyclable plastics and other materials, while also improving goods reparability and recyclability.
  • Increase reduction, reuse, recovery and recycling of construction and demolition materials.
  • Increase accessibility, awareness, scale and inclusivity of reduction, reutilisation and recycling programmes and policies for all communities and neighbourhoods, investing in citywide communication and engagement efforts, offering resources in multiple languages, and
  • Ensure benefits are distributed equitably across the city population.
  • Publicly report every two years on the progress the cities are making towards these goals.

“To deliver on the highest ambition of the Paris Agreement requires urgent transformations of every aspect of modern life, including our consideration about what we throw away,” said Mayor of Paris and C40 Chair, Anne Hidalgo.

She added: “With this commitment, cities are getting the job done, inventing the new practices to build better cities for generations to come. One more time, the future is taking place in cities.”