The International Day of Zero Waste aims to promote sustainable consumption and production patterns and raise awareness about how zero-waste initiatives contribute to the advancement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Humanity generates an estimated 2.24 billions tons of municipal solid waste annually, of which only 55 per cent is managed in controlled facilities. By 2050, this could rise to 3.88 billion tons per year.
The waste sector is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in urban settings and biodiversity loss.
In the Cook Islands, there is national commitment aligned with the objectives of the International Day of Zero Waste and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The National Sustainable Development Agenda 2020+, Te Ara Akapapa’anga Uki 25, the goal is to have zero waste in the Cook Islands by 2045.
Around 931 million tons of food is wasted each year, and up to 37 million tons of plastic waste is expected to enter the ocean annually by 2040.
The United Nations General Assembly on 14 December 2022 formally recognised the importance of zero-waste initiatives and proclaimed 30 March as the International Day of Zero Waste, to be observed annually beginning in 2023.
Zero-waste initiatives can foster sound waste management and minimize and prevent waste. This contributes to reducing pollution, mitigating the climate crisis, conserving biodiversity, enhancing food security and improving human health.