Asia Waste Management Outlook

In the beginning of the 21st century, the Asia-Pacific region overtook the rest of the world to become the single largest consumer of natural resources. Urbanisation and economic growth has led to a rise in the consumption of lifestyle products, beverages, electronics, and so forth. Considering rising consumption and the state of poor waste management infrastructure, a paradigm shift is needed from traditional waste management to sustainable consumption and production (SCP). To achieve the SCP which is Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No. 12, there is a need to practice circular economy and mainstream life cycle thinking. Practical implementation of the SCP concept requires capacity building of local bodies and policy makers and involvement of the private sector. Such initiative can be incentivised by accounting for their contribution to local and regional political goals, and key global commitments like the SDGs, Kyoto Protocol, Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, and Agenda 21 at the Earth Summit.

The Outlook provides an overview of the current status, the current thinking on “state of the art” topics, and the future of SWM in Asia over the medium term. Both challenges, as well as opportunities, have been described through case studies. The recommendations are made from technical, strategic, economic, and communication perspectives.

To ensure that the actions recommended above are implemented in synergy and in an optimal manner, coordination is needed between ministries at the national level. The creation of network approach, connecting cities at the country level as well as across the region will be important, is an endeavor that merits the exchange of knowledge and sharing of best practices. Because waste is transported across the Asian region through the trade flows, a harmonisation between national policies is also essential to address important waste streams such as e-waste. It is hoped that this Outlook helps policy makers and regulators to guide in this direction.


Date Published

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Resource Type



Bangladesh, China, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Viet Nam


Waste Management


United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)