Waste Management & Circular Economy

© GIZ/Radike

Improper waste management is a problem for health, the environment and the climate. GIZ therefore supports the introduction of integrated recycling and waste management systems.



Waste problems are a particular burden on cities and urban agglomerations worldwide. It is estimated that cities in Africa and Asia will double their waste generation in the next 15 to 20 years. However, many developing and emerging countries do not have the necessary structures to deal with the increasing and complex volumes of waste. Although municipalities spend between 20 and 50 percent of their budget on the collection and disposal of waste alone, around two billion people currently have no access to regulated waste collection. This results in hygiene and health risks, which mainly affect the poorer sections of the population. However, the problem affects everyone: Wild landfills and improperly treated and disposed waste contaminate water, air and soil. In addition, landfill in particular generates significant greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.


For more than 30 years, GIZ has been carrying out waste management projects worldwide together with its partners on behalf of the German government. It cooperates in particular with municipal administrations, associations, authorities, ministries, universities, non-governmental organisations, and industry and business representatives. The aim of the cooperation is to develop viable, consensual solutions that stakeholders can negotiate and implement in a participatory manner. The informal collectors of recyclable materials, who earn a small living by collecting and selling recyclable waste, are important stakeholders: They are hardly involved in formal waste management, socially marginalised and work under precarious health conditions. The GIZ supports their integration into integrated recycling and waste management concepts, which can create new formal jobs in the sense of the "green economy", thus improving their health and working conditions and increasing income security.


In addition to the opportunities for the informal sector, the environmental service branch offers many other ecological and economic opportunities within the framework of new business models and can make a considerable contribution to climate protection. This potential must be exploited largely in emerging and developing countries. Less waste is to be produced and the waste produced is to be recycled as far as possible, either materially or energetically. Non-usable residual materials must be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. GIZ's approach also goes beyond waste management to changing production and consumption patterns, which play a central role in waste prevention. The necessary change is taking place over several years, involving political, economic and social change, new structures and technical innovations. GIZ accompanies the partner countries in this paradigm shift to implement locally appropriate solutions.

Additional information

PREVENT Waste Alliance

Grundlagen und Ans├Ątze

Waste Flow Diagram