Zero waste system to create 6,000 jobs

GAIA study finds

Staff Correspondent

17 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

A new study projects that Dhaka could create over 6,000 new jobs if the capital city were to recycle or compost 80 percent of the recyclable and organic materials in its waste stream.

The study conducted by Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) finds that cities that invest in zero waste programs and policies create numerous good, green jobs, in addition to known benefits of reducing pollution and improving community health.

This report comes as municipal governments across the world are making critical investment decisions to increase climate resilience and rebuild local economies damaged by the Covid-19 crisis, said a press release of Environment and Social Development Organizations (ESDO) on Tuesday.

The study titled “Zero Waste Found to Be a Key Strategy to Build Strong, Sustainable Economies Post-COVID-19” is available at

The new paper is a meta-analysis of 36 studies spanning 16 countries that examined the job creation potential of various waste management strategies such as repair or reuse, recycling, composting, incineration and landfill. The research makes clear that what’s good for the environment is also good for the economy. Zero waste strategies score highest on environmental benefits and create the most jobs of any waste management approach.

Reuse creates over 200 times as many jobs as landfills and incinerators. Recycling creates around 70 times as many jobs as landfills and incinerators. Remanufacturing creates almost 30 times as many jobs as landfills and incinerators. Zero waste is a comprehensive waste management approach that prioritizes waste reduction and material recovery, with the ultimate aim of creating a circular economy, shrinking waste disposal to zero.

In contrast, disposal-based systems rely on incineration (“waste to energy”) and landfills to handle the majority of the waste stream, resulting in higher economic costs and environmental consequences.

Dr. Shahriar Hossain, Secretary General at ESDO said, “This model community will help to motivate others and lead to build zero waste cities.”  ESDO has an initiative to build a “zero waste community/city” in Dhaka. In which 150 households have already started zero waste community-building practice in Lalmatia, leading to a 40-60% reduction of kitchen waste, which has been turned into organic compost.