The waste sector contributes significantly to the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity and nature loss, and pollution. A Zero Waste approach aims to contribute to environmental, economic, and social benefits, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved community health. International Geneva, as a global hub for environmental governance, has been working to foster sound waste management, minimize and prevent waste, and build towards beating waste pollution.

About International Day of Zero Waste

On 14 December 2022, during its 77th session, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 30 March as the International Day of Zero Waste, starting in 2023. This vital day promotes sustainable consumption, production patterns, and circularity, while raising awareness of zero-waste initiatives contributions to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The resolution (A/RES/77/161), which was adopted by the General Assembly, was put forward by Türkiye along with 105 other countries. This follows other resolutions focused on waste, such as the “End Plastic Pollution: Towards an internationally legally binding instrument” adopted at the United Nations Environment Assembly on 2 March 2022.

On International Day of Zero Waste, Member States, United Nations (UN) organizations, civil society, private sector, academic institutions, youth, and other stakeholders are encouraged to partake in activities that increase awareness about national, subnational, regional and local zero-waste initiatives and their role in accomplishing sustainable development.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) jointly facilitate the International Day of Zero Waste observance. All Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and relevant stakeholders are encouraged to implement zero-waste initiatives at local, regional, subnational and national levels.

2023 Global Celebration

On Thursday, 30 March 2023, at 16:00 CEST, the President of the UN General Assembly will convene a one-day high-level meeting on Zero Waste in the General Assembly Hall in New York.

The meeting will serve as a platform to share achievements and learnings of Member States in the development and implementation of solid waste management solutions and technologies, including innovative projects and programs such as local and national zero waste initiatives to foster environmentally sound waste management.

2023 Celebration in Geneva

The resolution recognizes the need to promote sustainable and environmentally sound management of waste as part of contributing to progress in achieving the goals of various international agreements. As a major global hub for the governance of hazardous substances, International Geneva is pivotal in zero waste efforts, as it is home to organizations and experts advancing sustainable waste management practices, including the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal. Celebrating Zero Waste Day in Geneva provides an opportunity to showcase the collaborative efforts being done, with a variety of events detailed below.

Beating Waste Pollution | Geneva Zero Waste Day Celebration

30 March 2023 | 13:00 – 14:30 CET | Online (Webex)

BRS, GEN, UN-Habitat

This Geneva celebration of Zero Waste Day will celebrate the steps taken by actors in international Geneva and beyond to move forward the zero waste agenda.

About Zero Waste

Zero waste is an approach aimed at redefining the way societies consume, produce, and dispose of materials. At its core, zero waste seeks to establish a sustainable, circular system that prioritizes resource conservation, waste prevention, and the responsible management of materials. This strategy involves designing products for durability and resource efficiency, promoting resource recovery, and eliminating harmful waste disposal methods such as incineration, dumping, and landfilling.

Towards a Circular Model

Derived from the principles of sustainable natural cycles, zero waste envisions a world where discarded materials are designed to become valuable resources for others to use. It calls for a shift in mindset from the traditional linear industrial model, in which resources are extracted, products are made and used, and waste is created, to a more integrated and circular system where every material has a purpose, and nothing goes to waste. By moving away from the “take-make-waste” approach, zero waste aims to reduce the depletion of natural resources and minimize environmental pollution

On a practical level, zero waste encompasses a broad range of strategies and actions, including waste reduction, reuse, composting, recycling, conscious consumption habits, and industrial redesign. These efforts, in turn, contribute to the creation of more resilient communities and healthier environments for all.

Achieving zero waste requires collective action and commitment from all stakeholders, including manufacturers, businesses, governments, and consumers. By designing products that are durable and require fewer resources, adopting more sustainable production and transportation methods, and promoting responsible consumption habits, society can move closer to a zero-waste future.

It is vital to emphasize the importance of embracing zero waste principles and the need for collective action to achieve a more sustainable and equitable future.

Current Situation

The escalating global waste crisis calls for immediate and coordinated action as rapid urbanization, consumerism, and technological advancements contribute to alarming increases in various types of waste. E-waste, food waste, and plastic waste are among the most significant waste categories, each posing unique challenges to the environment and human health.

Addressing this multifaceted waste crisis requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders, including governments, businesses, and consumers. By adopting sustainable practices, promoting zero waste initiatives, and embracing a circular economy, we can mitigate the environmental and human health impacts of this urgent global challenge. Events like the International Day of Zero Waste promote awareness and cooperation to tackle this urgent issue.


E-waste is an increasingly prevalent issue, with a staggering 57.4 million tons generated worldwide in 2021. On average, each person produced 7.6 kg of e-waste in that year, yet only 17.4% of it was properly collected, treated, and recycled, according to the UN. As e-waste encompasses valuable materials and hazardous substances, proper management is crucial to protect both the environment and public health. A shift towards a circular economy, emphasizing waste reduction, reuse, and recycling, is essential to tackle the ever-growing e-waste problem.

Global Waste Management Outlook 2024

In response to Resolution 2/7 from the second session (UNEP/EA.2/RES.7) of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) and reaffirmed in Resolution 4/7 from its fourth session (UNEP/EA.4/RES.7), the Global Waste Management Outlook, developed by UNEP in collaboration with the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) offers an updated assessment of global waste management and an analysis of data concerning municipal solid waste management worldwide.

Key Findings

  • Municipal solid waste generation is predicted to grow from 2.3 billion tonnes in 2023 to 3.8 billion tonnes by 2050. In 2020, the global direct cost of waste management was estimated USD 252 billion. When factoring in the hidden costs of pollution, poor health and climate change from poor waste disposal practices, the cost rises to USD 361 billion. Without urgent action on waste management, by 2050 this global annual cost could almost double to a staggering USD 640.3 billion.
  • Getting waste under control by taking waste prevention and management measures could limit net annual costs by 2050 to USD 270.2 billion. However, projections show that a circular economy model, where waste generation and economic growth are decoupled by adopting waste avoidance, sustainable business practices, and full waste management, could in fact lead to a full net gain of USD 108.5 billion per year.

Food Waste

Food waste is another pressing concern, as an astonishing 1.3 billion tons of edible food goes to waste each year, according to FAO. This squandered food contributes to 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, agriculture accounts for 70% of the world’s water usage, meaning food waste is a significant drain on resources. By reducing food waste, we can combat climate change and preserve valuable resources.

Plastic Waste

Plastic waste is also an area of concern. It has a devastating impact on marine ecosystems and biodiversity. Approximately 11 million metric tons of plastic currently enter the oceans each year, and that number is expected to triple in the next twenty years, causing economic losses to coastal communities, fishing and shipping industries, and posing risks to human health. The ongoing accumulation of plastics in rivers suggests that this leakage will persist for decades, exacerbating the crisis.

The world generated a staggering 353 million tons of plastic waste in 2019, more than double the amount since 2000. With only a small fraction of this waste being recycled, it’s crucial to focus on reducing plastic waste generation and improving waste management practices. Furthermore, the increasing global trade of plastic waste, largely generated by wealthier countries, disproportionately affects countries in the Global South. As waste flows into less developed nations, inadequate waste management infrastructure leads to environmental and health risks, further exacerbating the plastic waste problem.

Drowning in Plastics: Marine Litter and Plastic Waste Vital Graphics | UNEP | 2021

Fashion Waste

Fast fashion comes at an astonishing environmental and social cost. While the impacts of the fashion industry in terms of pollution, water use, carbon emissions, human rights, and gender inequality are increasing, the need for a shift to sustainable fashion is evident.

Benefits of a Zero Waste Approach

In recent years, zero waste strategies have emerged as a powerful solution to address the numerous challenges posed by climate change, resource depletion, and environmental pollution. A growing number of countries have been making strides toward adopting zero waste strategies to combat the adverse effects of climate change and build climate resilience and a more sustainable future. The benefits of implementing zero waste policies and programs are multifaceted and far-reaching as it is underlined by a report from the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA).

Environmental Benefits of Zero Waste Strategies

Zero waste strategies by promoting waste reduction, prevention and separation have several environmental benefits. Zero waste practices contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the minimization of landfill and incineration usage, and the conservation of natural resources. They can lead to an 84% reduction in total emissions from the waste sector, equivalent to the annual emission of 300 million cars. Furthermore, collecting and composting our organic waste helps to support food security by making local food systems more resilient to climate-related stressors. By decreasing plastic waste and promoting the use of reusable materials, zero waste initiatives also contribute to healthier ecosystems and the preservation of biodiversity.

Economic Benefits of Zero Waste Strategies

Zero waste strategies have economic benefits, too. Transitioning to zero waste systems can generate green jobs, stimulate local economies, and provide a more sustainable alternative to traditional waste management. Reuse, recycling and remanufacturing create about 200, 70 and 30 times more jobs, respectively, than landfilling and incineration. These jobs often provide higher wages, more permanent positions, and foster skill development beyond basic manual labor. Additionally, zero waste systems require lower initial capital investments compared to conventional waste management facilities. Cities that have adopted zero waste strategies have experienced significant cost savings. The city of Parma in Italy, for example, saved €450,000 annually on waste management. Still in Italy, a zero waste strategy has allowed Contarina to limit its waste management cost increase to just 8%, while costs across Italy have risen steeply by an average of 70%. The savings from such systems can be redirected to other vital public services, fostering sustainable growth and economic resilience.

Social Benefits of Zero Waste Strategies

Zero waste strategies also yield social benefits by addressing the negative impacts of waste disposal facilities. Residents near incinerators and landfills often face noise, litter, traffic, and air pollution. For instance, the closure of a incinerator in Oporto resulted in a significant reduction of air pollution levels in the area, which can be a cause of adverse health outcomes. In Seoul, Korea, a study found that proximity to incinerators was associated with an increased risk of asthma-related hospitalization. Implementing zero waste programs reduces these issues, leading to improved community health and overall quality of life for those living nearby. By embracing a zero-waste approach, cities create more liveable and healthier neighbourhoods for their residents.

Building a Sustainable Future with Zero Waste Strategies

Zero waste strategies can provide numerous benefits that have a significant impact on the environment, economy, and society. They support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities), and SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production). By embracing this sustainable approach, we can play a crucial role in building a cleaner, greener, and more resilient future.


Role of Geneva

By alphabetical order.

International Geneva

Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions Secretariat

The principal functions of the Secretariats are to prepare for and service meetings of the conferences of the parties and its subsidiary bodies, to receive and convey information, to assist or facilitate assistance to parties upon request and to coordinate with other international bodies.

Basel Convention

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal aims to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous waste. In May 2019, the 14th Conference of the Parties adopted the Plastic Waste Amendments to enhance the control over the transboundary movements of plastic waste. The amendments entered into force in January 2021. The Basel Convention also established a Plastic Waste Partnership to mobilise interests and resources and improve the promotion of environmentally sound management of plastic waste.

The Basel Convention emphasizes the importance of waste minimization, encouraging Parties to reduce the generation of hazardous waste and to promote environmentally sound waste management. This aligns with the zero waste goal of minimizing waste production and managing waste in ways that minimize environmental impact.

Rotterdam Convention

The Rotterdam Convention is a multilateral treaty aimed at promoting shared responsibility and cooperation among countries in managing hazardous chemicals.

Stockholm Convention

The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) also provides a relevant international framework that addresses some of the chemical additives to plastics. Aimed at protecting health and the environment, the Stockholm Convention lists toxic substances that must be regulated or eliminated. Currently, some flame-retardants and perflourinated chemicals commonly used in plastics are listed, and various other chemicals are under discussion.


The CLEVER initiative created by the Biovision makes it possible to address the theme of responsible consumption with the public, especially young people.

Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)

The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) aims to promote human rights and ensure a just and sustainable society by using the power of law to ensure environmental protection. The organisation is engaged in actions to address the global plastics crisis. Its work on plastics focuses on advocacy for an international treaty on plastic pollution, support to communities who fight against local infrastructure for plastics, and research and publications exposing the impacts of the plastic lifecycle on health, climate and the planet.

E-Waste Coalition

In addition, on 21 March 2018 at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum, seven United Nations entities signed a Letter of Intent paving the way for greater collaboration in the area of e-waste management in developing a UN E-Waste Coalition. Its aims include a commitment by the signatories to increase collaboration, building partnership and supporting Member States to address the global WEEE challenge. Further to this, at the 2019 WSIS Forum, three new UN entities signed the Letter of Intent.

The coalition brings together the following organizations, the majority based in Geneva:

  • ILO
  • ITC
  • ITU
  • UNEP
  • UNU
  • United Nations Human Settlement (UN Habitat)
  • United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
  • United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions

The coalition is supported by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the World Economic Forum, and was coordinated, until 31 October 2020, by the Secretariat of the UN Environment Management Group (UNEMG). UNEP is now hosting the temporary secretariat of the coalition.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

FAO has a liaison office in Geneva and FAO’s work on measurement and support to countries to take action to reduce food loss and waste is critical to tracking progress made by countries. In addition, efforts by FAO and UNEP are currently underway to measure progress toward achieving SDG 12.3 through two separate indices – the Food Loss Index (FLI), led by FAO; and the Food Waste Index (FWI), led by UNEP.

FAO has founded the SAVE FOOD Initiative with Messe Düsseldorf GmbH. The SAVE FOOD Initiative has today approximately 750 members. It’s goal is to fight global food waste and loss through a global alliance of all stakeholders.

Plastic pollution is also a topic addressed by the FAO because of the ubiquitous presence of plastic in agricultural soils and the threat it poses to food security, human health and the environment. In 2021, the FAO published a report titled Assessment of Agricultural Plastics and Their Sustainability: A Call for Action”, stressing that attention should be paid to the high contamination and amount of plastic pollutants in the agricultural land used to grow food.

Forum on Trade, Environment & the SDGs

The Forum on Trade, Environment and Sustainable Development (TESS) is involved in trade policy action to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It seeks to strengthen the promotion and inclusion of international cooperation on trade policies that contribute to efforts to reduce plastic pollution, build waste management capacity in developing countries and promote plastic substitutes.

Geneva Cities Hub

The Geneva Cities Hub aims to connect the international Geneva ecosystem with public policies and all relevant stakeholders. In January 2022, the Geneva Cities Hub, the Geneva Environment Network and the UN-Habitat Geneva Office, with the support of Norway, organised the first Geneva Urban Debate 2022 to promote the voice of local and regional governments in the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) proceedings on plastics.

International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)

Founded in 1906, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is the world’s leading organization for the preparation and publication of International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies, known collectively as “electrotechnology.” IEC provides a platform to companies, industries and governments for meeting, discussing and developing the International Standards they require. All IEC International Standards are fully consensus-based and represent the needs of key stakeholders of every nation participating in IEC work.

An important focus of IEC work is on the circular economy and material efficiency, which is a model of production and consumption that aims to keep materials in use for as long as possible, reduce waste and minimize the use of natural resources. This includes the preparation of a new standard, IEC 63395, which aims to facilitate the systematic, sustainable management of e-waste. Among its objectives, it seeks to reduce the amount of e-waste sent for disposal through reuse and recovery, prevent the inappropriate disposal of e-waste and restrict operators who do not comply with the standard or comparable requirements from receiving e-waste shipments.

International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Aiming to provide a world where people and the planet thrive work, the work of IISD focuses on accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resources, and fair economies. Recognizing the complexity of today’s challenges, they work on sustainable solutions on various fields such as food and agriculturenature-based solutions, and climate change.

International Labour Organization (ILO)

The only tripartite U.N. agency, since 1919 the International Labour Organization (ILO) brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States, to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men. More than 1.2 billion jobs depend on a stable environment and ecosystems. ILO’s Green Initiative aims to scale up the its knowledge, policy response and capacity to manage a just transition toward greener economies and a sustainable future.

In addition, the Green Jobs Programme signals ILO’s commitment to act on climate change and to promote resource efficient and low-carbon societies. Decent work is a cornerstone for effective policies to green economies for achieving sustainable development. This implies that efforts to reduce adverse environmental impact must lead to socially just outcomes with employment opportunities for all.

International Standard Organization (ISO)

ISO has more than 1,600 standards related to the food sector, with many more in development. International standards can help combat food loss and waste, by providing guidance to save resources. On this issue, UNEP and FAO participate in various ISO technical committees and have been involved in the development of some of these standards.

International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

Founded in 1865 to facilitate international connectivity in communications networks, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies – ICTs. ITU’s Development Bureau (ITU-D) has been given a mandate to “assist developing countries in undertaking proper assessment of the size of e-waste and in initiating pilot projects to achieve environmentally sound management of e-waste through e-waste collection, dismantling, refurbishing and recycling.” (WTDC Resolution 66). To this end ITU-D is developing e-waste guidelines to help countries identify best policies. It is also carrying out an electronic waste management project, and recently launched a new partnership to help improve global e-waste statistics.

ITU, in cooperation with the United Nations University (UNU), have joined forces to form the Global E-waste Statistics Partnership​ (GESP). Its main objectives are to improve and collect worldwide statistics on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). The GESP also raises visibility on the importance of compiling WEEE statistics and delivers capacity building workshops using an internationally recognized, harmonized measurement framework. The initiative informs policy makers, industries, academia, media and the general public by enhancing the understanding and interpretation of global WEEE data and its relation to the SDGs.

The publication of the Global and Regional E-Waste Monitors are key achievements of the GESP which highlight global growth in the generation of WEEE. These reports also introduce the wider public to the global WEEE challenge and include national analysis on WEEE.

International Trade Centre (ITC)

The work of ITC on Food and Agri-Business build sustainable agricultural exports and strengthen intraregional trade by assisting farmers, communities and agri-food enterprises while ensuring sustainability. ITC is a member of the Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction led by FAO.

International Union for Conservation of Nature

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is a membership Union of governments and civil society organisations, working together to advance sustainable development and nature conservation. IUCN leads various project marine plastic pollution and conducts advocacy work for a global plastics treaty.

Minamata Convention

The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. By targeting mercury this Convention not only raises awareness about the dangers of mercury pollution, but also encourages international cooperation to foster more sustainable waste management solutions.


Founded in 2001, Oceana is the largest international advocacy organisation focused solely on oceanic conservation. It works to win strategic, directed campaigns that achieve measurable results to help make oceans more bio-diverse and abundant. Oceana leads several advocacy campaign to implement stronger regulations on single-use plastics and to support plastics reduction initiatives.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

The UN Conference on Trade and Development aims to build a blue economy by working with governments to ensure trade is part of the solution to the climate crisis. Under the Bridgetown Compact adopted in October 2021, UNCTAD is mandated to “address the dumping of plastic and other waste in the oceans and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds and ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns”.

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)

UNECE promotes sustainable development, environmental protection, and resource efficiency. Through the UNECE’s Committee on Environmental Policy addresses issues such as waste management, resource efficiency, and pollution reduction.

UNECE has addressed the food loss challenge since 2013 – including in view of enhancing the circular economy in its member states. Through the constant review of its quality standards for agricultural produce traded internationally and nationally, UNECE ensures that the quality of the produce used and traded is maintained along the entire supply chain. Food loss is therefore prevented and reduced. UNECE also focuses on the food lost in the trade process before it reaches the consumer and even retail.

United Nations Human Settlements Programme Office in Geneva

The Geneva Office’s duties are to manage and lead UN-Habitat’s policy dialogue, partnerships and collaborative programmes with the large number of humanitarian and development agencies and NGOs located in the international hub city of Geneva.

World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

WBCSD Food and Nature Program leads business efforts to accelerate the much-needed system transformation in the areas of food, nature and water. Under this programme, the FReSH initiative targets specifically food loss and waste, recognizing the critical need to address food loss and waste to improve food security, minimize the environmental footprint of the global food system and achieve the SDGs.

WBCSD  is a founding partner of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste. The initiative gathers companies that make, use, sell, process, collect and recycle plastics. This cross-value chain initiative provides a framework for companies dedicated to fighting plastic waste in the environment. WBCSD aims to offer a discussion platform to promote the engagement of the business community in the negotiations on the new plastics treaty.

World Food Programme (WFP) Office in Geneva

WFP work on sustainable livelihoods and ecosystems helps countries and the most vulnerable and food insecure communities manage natural resources sustainably such as soil conservation and fertility measures; water harvesting and flood control; agro-ecological productivity to reduce biodiversity loss; irrigation schemes; forestry and agroforestry management; and, access to clean water in arid and semi-arid contexts results in more diversified food, thereby complementing nutrition efforts.  The restoration of degraded ecosystems boosts public health and reduces hardship in general.

World Health Organization (WHO)

The WHO released a report showing that the circular economy provides a major opportunity to yield substantial health benefits, such as direct benefits to health care systems and indirect benefits from reducing negative environmental impacts.

The WHO published the report “Microplastics in Drinking Water” about the potential impact of microplastics in drinking water on human health. This report made recommendations for managing microplastics and monitoring plastics in the environment. Important knowledge gaps were identified to best assess the risks to human health and develop appropriate management measures.

Another WHO report focused e-waste and child health Children and Digital Dumpsites released in June 2021. It calls for urgent effective and binding action to protect the millions of children, adolescents and expectant mothers worldwide whose health is jeopardized by the informal processing of discarded electrical or electronic devices.

World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF)

WFF is fighting for a world without plastic in nature by 2030, a world where oceans teem with marine life, not discarded nets, bottles and bags, a world where no humans breathe the toxic fumes of burning plastic and where every essential plastic product is recycled. WWF is leading the activation hub ReSource Plastic, which helps some of the world’s largest companies translate ambitious plastic commitments into measurable change.

WWF also works on projects that improve efficiency and productivity in food systems while reducing waste and shifting consumption patterns. WWF also builds public awareness on how we consider food.

Switzerland and Local Geneva

Canton of Geneva

The Canton of Geneva is committed to sustainable development, environmental protection, and resource efficiency. It has implemented policies, initiatives, and programs that contribute to waste reduction, recycling, and the circular economy. The Canton waste management regulations, including recycling. The Canton of Geneva also promotes public awareness campaigns to educate citizens about the importance of waste reduction.

A new waste management law was passed by the Grand Council with 92 “yes” votes on September 2, 2022. The law introduces several new measures, including mandatory sorting for individuals, businesses, and independent public entities, and a gradual ban on single-use plastics. An initial goal aims to reduce incinerable waste by 25% by 2025.

City of Geneva

The City of Geneva takes various measures to reduce the amount of non-recyclable waste generated within its territory for example since 2020, the city of Geneva has banned single-use plastics from all activities happening in the public domain.

Since 2019, it has initiated a collaboration with the association Zero Waste Switzerland to support residents who want to adopt a zero waste lifestyle. The city of Geneva promotes public awareness around zero waste.

Swiss Federal Office for the Environment

The Swiss Federal Office for the Environment is the national authority responsible for implementing and enforcing environmental policies. It plays a significant role in promoting waste reduction, recycling, and the circular economy.

Zero Waste Switzerland

Zero Waste Switzerland is a community for those looking to reduce waste, preserve natural resources and create a more sustainable future. Its mission is to work towards reducing the amount of waste produced by raising awareness of waste related issues, encouraging long-lasting behavioural change towards a more zero waste lifestyle. It favours a legislation aimed to reduce the amount of waste produced in Switzerland.

What Can I do?

While international organizations, governments and businesses work on solutions to implement a zero waste approach,  consumers can also play a role with their daily actions. This section provides resources on the actions individuals can take to reduce their waste generation.

  • Boîte d’échange entre voisins | The local initiative “Neighbourhood Exchange Box” is a project supported by Loterie Romande, Serbeco, SIG and the Canton of Geneva which gives neighbours the opportunity to exchange objects anonymously and for free.
  • “Jardins des Délices” Communal compost | Collective project using food waste to fertilize plots in Parc des Délices (Geneva)
  • Geneva Graduate Institute Environmental Committee | The Save the Food Project is an initiative to redistribute and avoid the waste of food from the Graduate Institute Cafeteria.
  • La Manivelle | La Manivelle is Geneva’s library of objects, with a catalog of over 4,000 items (tools, party equipment, kitchen equipment, sports equipment, DIY). These objects can be rented at affordable prices, avoiding buying things that are not used on a regular basis. La Manivelle is supported by SIG, several foundations and also cooperates with Geneva’s cantonal structures.
  • Zero Waste Shops and e-Shops in Geneva:
    • Ge-reutilise – Directory of second hand and rental shops | City of Geneva
    • G’innove Programme – Initiative of the City of Geneva to support innovative idea, among which activities promoting a circular strategy, courses to learn how to auto-produce items and more.
    • – network for shops engaged in fixing objects
    • Keep in use – Website to publish and take objects that would otherwise be thrown away.
    • Zero Waste Switzerland Map of Zero Waste addressesshops where the purchase of Zero Waste products is possible