Improving waste management through decentralised composting and recycling
In Ethiopia, ineffective waste management threatens the environment and the health of local communities. Rubbish spills into local rivers, unmanaged waste releases harmful emissions into the atmosphere, and landfill mountains are prone to deadly landslides. Through an ambitious ten-year composting plan, Addis Ababa is tackling the problem of organic solid waste management and the safety issues experienced by local waste-pickers. By working with community-led micro-businesses, the city is increasing waste collection frequency, rolling out more community food bins and composting facilities, and improving recycling, all while creating safe jobs for low-income groups, including women.
Within just six months, 400 tonnes of natural compost and 31,000 tonnes of recycled materials have been generated. The compost recovers nutrients from food waste, which enhances soil productivity for more sustainable local food production and captures carbon from the atmosphere. As the Horn of Africa frequently suffers from crop failure, access to organic and locally-produced fertiliser is vital to reducing the risk of famine in Ethiopia, especially among its poorest residents.
Over the decade-long lifecycle of the project, Addis Ababa will rapidly increase composting and recycling rates through the programme. The project will result in cleaner air, reduced risk of respiratory diseases, and an expected 3% reduction in the city’s total emissions, creating a cleaner, more liveable environment for city residents.
Mayor of Addis Ababa, Adanech Abiebie, said: “What an honour to win this global competition. The City of Addis Ababa thanks C40 and all who tirelessly contributed to reach this achievement despite our country’s pressing issues. This recognition confirms that hard work pays off and serves as energising fuel for our future work in scaling up this initiative and ensuring its sustainability. We hope that winning this award will inspire leaders of cities to continue serving all residents.”
Reducing gas consumption by 15% in 2022
Amsterdam is taking immediate action to reduce the city’s gas consumption by 15% by the end of the year to fight the impact of the European energy crisis, which has been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. The European Commission recently advised EU nation states to reduce gas consumption by 15% – a full five months after Amsterdam had already begun the project – highlighting the city’s leadership in this area.
In less than 28 days, Amsterdam convened over 150 stakeholders, including businesses, churches and Schipol airport management, to brainstorm 100 ideas that meet this ambitious target and reduce energy poverty. As a result of the initiative, low-income residents are now offered home insulation solutions, energy coaching services and advice.
Other actions include reducing the base temperatures of public buildings by 3˚C; encouraging offices in the Central Business District to switch lights off at night; and identifying energy leaks at business parks and fixing them. As a result, the city has achieved a 9.9% reduction in gas usage in a matter of months.
Combined with the city’s Heat Transition Vision programme, which replaces fossil gas in the city’s heating system with clean and renewable energy alternatives, these actions bring Amsterdam closer to its goal of being fossil-gas-free by 2040 – a decade before the rest of the Netherlands.
Mayor of Amsterdam and Chair of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area, Femke Halsema, said: “The energy crisis is having an enormous impact on residents and businesses. We are honoured for the recognition of the initiative to reduce our gas consumption by 15%. Together with the Metropolitan Region of Amsterdam and many different stakeholders we showed that it is possible to act quickly and achieve results. Cities play an important role, but it is a challenge we have to tackle together.”