For information only – not an official document

30 March 2023

The Secretary-General

Message for the International Day of Zero Waste

30 March 2023

The first-ever International Day of Zero Waste reminds us of a fundamental and brutal truth: humanity is treating our planet like a garbage dump.

Every year, more than 2 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste is created, but 33 per cent of it is not properly managed in controlled facilities. Every minute, the equivalent of one garbage truck full of plastic is dumped into the ocean.

Meanwhile, pollution and chemicals are poisoning our water, air and soil. And a staggering 10 per cent of all global greenhouse gas emissions comes from growing, storing and transporting food that is never used.

We must stop trashing our only home and declare war on waste.

We need those who produce waste to design products that use fewer resources and materials, while managing waste across production cycles and extending the lives of the products they sell.

We must massively invest in modern waste management systems and policies that encourage people to re-use and recycle everything from plastic bottles to ageing electronics.

And as consumers, we must all consider the origins and impacts of the goods and products we purchase, and reuse and recycle what we can, whenever we can.

It’s time to clean up our world, and make progress towards circular, zero-waste economies — for people and planet alike.

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