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23 global cities and regions commit towards zero waste

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., have made bold commitment to cut waste disposal ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit in September.

Tokyo is one of the 23 cities that has committed to significantly reduce the amount of municipal solid waste (MSW).
“To make Tokyo a world-leading, environment-conscious city, Tokyo is implementing ambitious actions to reduce and recycle municipal solid waste. Tokyo wishes to have every citizen become even more aware of “mottainai” (it’s too precious to waste) and change their behavior. As a member of the C40 steering committee, I will work hand in hand with the world’s major cities, and advance the initiatives,” said Yuriko Koike, Governor of Tokyo.

C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group is a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change. Ahead of the upcoming Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, 23 pioneering cities and regions have committed to significantly cut the amount of waste they generate, accelerating them on the path towards zero waste.

By signing C40’s Advancing Towards Zero Waste Declaration, these cities and regions have pledged to cut the amount of waste generated by each citizen 15 percent by 2030, reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills and incineration by 50 percent and increase the diversion rate to 70 percent by 2030.

Worldwide waste generation is increasing faster than any other environmental pollutant, and action in this sector can have a much faster and greater impact in combating climate change. Around 1.3 billion tonnes of annual worldwide food waste sent to landfills each year decomposes into methane (CH4), which is a much more potent greenhouse gas (GHG) than carbon dioxide (CO2) and already accounts for 25 percent of current global warming.

The 150 million citizens that live in the 23 cities and regions will avoid the disposal of at least 87 million tonnes of waste by 2030. Mayors have committed to taking ambitious, measurable and inclusive actions to reduce municipal solid waste (MSW) generation and improve materials management in their cities, both key to making urban centres cleaner, healthier, more resilient and inclusive.

Better waste management can also create jobs and economic opportunities for social entrepreneurs and vulnerable communities. Specifically, 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, reutilization 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.

Leading up to the Global Climate Action Summit, C40 urged cities to step up their climate action and ambition – today’s announcement is one of the city commitments under that initiative. The high ambition Advancing Towards Zero Waste Declaration was developed by C40 and the city of San Francisco, in consultation with other C40 cities in the Waste to Resources network.

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