Recycling plays a key role in achieving a more sustainable production and consumption model but, while consumers have an important part to play, manufacturers also have an important responsibility.
At a meeting organized by the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) in the framework of the 11th meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Basel Convention, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) emphasized the need to eliminate waste from the industrial production chain by reusing materials to the maximum extent possible.
UNIDO representative in Geneva, Frank van Rompaey, said that, together with the BIR, UNIDO is encouraging manufacturers to design products with a better understanding of the possibilities for recycling.
“To reduce production costs and lessen resource dependence, industry needs to ‘design for recycling’. This means manufacturers engaging in the repurposing of materials – reducing waste and integrating ‘end-of-life’ planning at the design stage,” said Van Rompaey.
He also spoke about UNIDO’s eco-industrial park programme, which has helped establish 18 parks in seven developing countries since 2015. An eco-industrial park is a community of manufacturing and service businesses which seek enhanced environmental, economic, and social performance through collaboration in managing environmental and resource issues. For companies, an important benefit of locating in an eco-industrial park is the possibility to reduce, reuse and recycle waste.
In his remarks, the BIR’s President, Ranjit Baxi, noted that recycling provides important raw materials to support the growing demand of industry, generates employment for three million worldwide and is forecast to add over $US400 billion to global GDP by 2025.
In November 2018, UNIDO will organize a meeting of international experts, including members of the BIR, to address barriers to the development of recycling industries.
The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, usually known as the Basel Convention, is an international treaty designed to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between nations, and specifically to prevent transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries. It entered into force on 5 May 1992, and as of February 2018, 185 states and the European Union is parties to the Convention.
The Convention is also intended to minimize the amount and toxicity of wastes generated, to ensure their environmentally sound management as closely as possible to the source of generation, and to assist countries with the environmentally sound management of the hazardous and other wastes they generate.