Global Waste Management in Dire Straits 

The GWMO 2024 alarmingly predicts that municipal solid waste generation will soar from 2.3 billion tons in 2023 to 3.8 billion tons by 2050. In 2020, the direct global cost of waste management stood at approximately USD 252 billion. However, when incorporating the hidden expenses related to pollution, health issues, and climate change caused by inadequate waste disposal, the figure escalates to USD 361 billion. Without immediate and effective waste management strategies, these costs could balloon to an estimated USD 640.3 billion annually by 2050. 

In a critical update from Nairobi on 28 February 2024, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) unveiled a new report indicating a dire future for global waste management. The report, titled “Beyond an age of waste: Turning rubbish into a resource,” presents a comprehensive analysis of the escalation in municipal waste and its associated costs. According to the UNEP Global Waste Management Outlook 2024 (GWMO 2024), without significant intervention, municipal solid waste is expected to increase by two-thirds, and the costs associated with its management are projected to nearly double within a generation.  

Highlighting the critical link between waste generation and GDP growth, UNEP’s Executive Director, Inger Andersen, emphasized the necessity for actionable steps towards a zero-waste and circular economy. The report serves as a crucial guide and call to action, urging both public and private sector leaders to adopt transformative solutions that can mitigate the negative impacts of current waste management practices. This, in turn, will support the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

Carlos Silva Filho, President of the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), reinforced the organization’s commitment to disseminating and implementing the GWMO’s findings. By addressing the challenges outlined in the report, ISWA aims to foster collective efforts towards sustainable waste management solutions. 

The UNEP report illustrates that with comprehensive waste prevention and management measures, the net annual costs by 2050 could be significantly reduced to USD 270.2 billion. Furthermore, it projects that embracing a circular economy model—where economic growth is decoupled from waste generation through sustainable practices—could result in a net gain of USD 108.5 billion per year. 

Zoë Lenkiewicz, the lead author of the report, underscored the urgency of transitioning to a zero-waste approach and improving waste management to avert severe environmental, health, and economic consequences. The report makes it clear that the time for global commitment to waste prevention and the scaling up of waste management solutions is now, necessitating strong leadership to ensure inclusive and sustainable progress. 

Launched at the sixth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-6) in Nairobi, Kenya, the GWMO 2024 stands as a beacon for future waste management strategies, advocating for immediate global action towards a more sustainable and livable planet. 

The WOIMA waste-to-value solutions support recycling and can utilize both newly collected and already landfilled waste in power generation. They have been designed to serve medium-sized cities and communities as a localized solution or capital and mega-cities as a decentralized waste management and power generation solution. Our WOIMA solutions have been developed with two key targets in mind; reducing the waste-induced challenges while simultaneously utilizing local fuel (waste), and employing local people to generate local wellbeing. It adheres to the strictest European emission directives and reduces the waste-related water, soil and air emissions to practically zero. 


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WOIMA Corporation is a Finnish supplier of best-in-class waste-to-value products, projects and services worldwide. We have developed solutions that enable us, and the customer, to transform and recycle virtually any waste stream into raw materials and energy.  At WOIMA we combine Finnish engineering know-how in waste management with power generation design expertise. These solutions are used in Finland every day. They support the circular economy ideology and ensure that less than 1% of Finland’s waste ends up in landfills.

Our mission is to improve quality of life both locally and globally, as well as empower people to utilize waste as a commodity. Our decades of international project management experience ensure an on-time, in-budget and high-quality WOIMA solution delivery across the globe.