“An advanced, environmentally sound and economically viable waste management sector depends fundamentally on robust financing – ideally via a comprehensive, full-coverage system of charges. On the other hand, such a sector also generates revenues from a broad array of marketable secondary resources such as metals, glass, paper/cardboard and plastics. Furthermore, it persistently reduces the – often neglected – total macro-economic costs by avoiding health costs and the costs of cleaning up environmental damage.”
(Ralf Menzel, German Federal Environment Agency)
The development of an advanced waste management sector is a process that requires the efforts of an entire generation. Although society can be encouraged to move towards an advanced waste management system through primary and secondary legislation, this route is only sustainable, and politically acceptable in the long term, if society at large is persuaded of the new aims and takes them on board. For this to happen, information and education is needed, forinstance via well-designed public relations; environmental education, if possible in nursery and primary schools; campaigns aimed at adults; activities; open days, and so on. The more sections of society that are actively involved in building an advanced waste management sector, the more quickly understanding of the task will grow.
The informal sector carries out rudimentary forms of recycling and waste use without developing an advanced waste management system. These people recover usable items of waste to support themselves. That is why they have a key role in the development of collection structures and marketing channels.
Society and administrative bodies can benefit considerably from their experience. This knowledge should be put to use in the social process towards a green economy.
An advanced waste management sector can only succeed in the long term if it has a skilled workforce. This workforce is increasingly trained in-country. At the same time more scientific training and research is carried out within the country, so that the sector becomes more self-reliant as it grows. The capacity for this must be created at national, regional and local levels.