On September 28th 2022, the Trinidad and Tobago Solid Waste Management Company Limited (SWMCOL) held its first annual Future Proof Conference, with the theme “Facilitating Discussions on Eco-Innovation for Sustainable Waste Management”.
Specially invited guests from over forty (40) organizations involved in the Waste Management Sector came together to share innovative ideas on how we as a country, can work together to facilitate a transition from landfilling to resource maximization. The Conference comprised of presentations, a panel discussion and booth exhibitions, featuring representatives from Academia, Eco-Innovators, Manufacturers, Recyclers, Up-Cyclers, Financial Institutions, and Community-Based Organizations.
According to the World Bank’s “What a Waste 2.0” Report, the world generates 2.01 billion tonnes of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) annually, with global waste expected to burgeon to over 3.4 billion tonnes by 2050.
In Trinidad and Tobago, over 700,000 tonnes of waste is sent to our overburdened landfills on an annual basis. According to a 2010 study completed by CBCL Consulting Engineers, more than 80% of that waste is considered recyclable.
The discussion, therefore, must move from one of a linear economy to that of a circular economy – whereby the entire life cycle of a product is considered to minimize the quantity of reusable and recyclable material being landfilled.
According to the European Commission, Eco-innovation is defined as ‘any form of innovation resulting in or aiming at significant and demonstrable progress towards the goal of sustainable development, through reducing impacts on the environment, enhancing resilience to environmental pressures, or achieving a more efficient and responsible use of natural resources’.
The question is therefore, “How do we as a country encourage and sustain Innovation in the Waste Management Sector to facilitate a transition from landfilling to resource maximization?”
The Conference entailed:
“Get into Green” is more than a call to action. It is both a precept and a promise.
The promise is that of a greener tomorrow for the benefit of all when we “Get into Green”.