2050Today - Guidelines
Waste Management

Climate action on Waste Management

The production of waste has increased massively around the world in recent decades. By 2050, global municipal solid waste production will have risen from 2 to 3.4 billion tons, according to a World Bank report. This trend is due to a number of factors, including population growth, urbanisation, economic growth and consumer purchasing habits. Less than 20% of waste is recycled each year, and huge quantities are still sent to landfills. Poorly managed waste pollutes the oceans, clogs sewers, transmits diseases, increases respiratory problems, harms animals that eat it by mistake, and affects economic development, particularly through reduced tourism.

Switzerland produces 80 to 90 million tons of waste per year. The construction and transportation sectors account for 9/10 of the waste produced. Municipal waste (7%) has been rising steadily and amounted to over 6 million tons in 2021, equivalent to 698 kg per person.

In the Canton of Geneva, waste sorting is compulsory for everyone: households, businesses, autonomous public establishments and public authorities. The Canton’s objective is to reduce incinerable waste by 25% by 2025 and to achieve 80% sorting of recoverable waste.

The 2050Today Charter recommends institutions to take action towards the following Waste Management objectives when defining their action plan.

1. Avoiding waste at source

2. Improving circularity for an enhanced use of resources

The topics addressed are based on the recommendations of the Geology, Soil and Waste Service, Cantonal Environment Office, Department of the Territor.

Objectives and Tools

You will find below the 5 thematic objectives of the 2050Today Charter corresponding to the Waste Management sector and suggestions for corresponding actions. Based on an initial assessment, each institution should set its own specific actions to develop and implement its Action Plan. The selected actions will allow the definition of an individual action plan to meet tailored targets by 2025, 2028 and 2030. In order to carry out the assessment of the initial situation and define the individual action plan, a thematic measurement table on waste management is provided as tool.

Click on the bullet points for quick access

Management objectives

Objective 1 - Establishing management measures to ensure the action plan implementation

Effective governance ensures that waste management strategies are well-designed, properly implemented, and continuously improved. Governance provides a structured approach to strategic planning in waste management. It involves setting clear goals, defining roles and responsibilities, and outlining the steps needed to achieve waste reduction targets.


  • Assign waste management and sorting responsibilities;
  • Organize the physical sorting infrastructure;
  • Check whether the sorting infrastructure signage (pictograms) is clear and uniform, modify it if necessary.


Objective 2 - Monitoring sustainability over time

Monitoring sustainability involves collecting and analyzing data on waste generation and treatment to track progress, assess effectiveness, and identify areas for further improvement.


  • Control the quality of sorting
  • Control the quantities produced by type of waste as well as the recycling or re-using channels
  • Control the performance of collection and treatment by the service providers (e.g. request sorting certificates, carry out audits)

Objective 3 - Championing change and involving all stakeholders

Only by shifting people’s mind, could we shift to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future. The following actions play a crucial role in fostering a culture of responsible behavior, ensuring long-term commitment, and driving positive environmental change. Each action taken, no matter how small, contributes to the larger goal of creating a more sustainable and carbon-free world.


  • Train all employees in sorting;
  • Train buyers in responsible sourcing to produce less waste;
  • Train cleaning agents in sorting;
  • Use eco-friendly stickers;
  • Improve internal communication on sorting (e.g. display sorting performance and annual objectives; display best practices or advice from employees; provide information on where the waste goes and how it is managed).

Thematic objectives

Objective 4 - Avoiding waste at source

Minimizing waste at the source through conscious decisions and practices is another cornerstone of sustainable waste management. The elimination of single-use containers or packages reduces the amount of plastic and other disposable materials that end up as waste after a single use. Transitioning to reusable containers promotes a circular approach, where these items can be used repeatedly, mitigating the demand for constant manufacturing and disposal. By implementing the following strategies, organizations can significantly reduce their carbon footprint and foster a culture of responsible consumption.


  • Eliminate single-use containers and provide containers for take-out meals;
  • Eliminate paper or plastic cups and provide reusable cups or water bottles;
  • Eliminate the possibility of buying bottled water in the institution;
  • Replace capsule coffee machines with bean coffee machines;
  • Install two-sides printing mode by default;
  • Install a message “Please consider the environment before printing”;
  • Promote the choice of second-hand products;
  • Promote the choice of products with no/little packaging;
  • Promote the choice of recyclable/reusable/refillable products and/or reusable packaging.


Objective 5 - Improving circularity for an enhanced use of resources

Selecting reuse channels, diversifying recycling streams and improving waste sorting provide a mechanism for improving circularity and extending the life of products, materials, and equipment, reducing the need for constant production and consumption. It’s a practical step that not only yields immediate positive impacts on carbon reduction but also contributes to a broader shift in how we perceive and interact with the resources around us.


Electronic waste

In Switzerland and by law, manufacturers are obliged to take back appliances and components of their own or imported brands free of charge. Retailers are also obliged to take back free of charge appliances and components of the type they offer in their range.

Retailers and manufacturers who pass on appliances and components to end consumers are obliged as well to take back free of charge at their points of sale during opening hours appliances and components of the type they offer in their range.


  • Select reuse channels for IT equipment, furniture and other material;
  • Allow employees to buy or recover second-hand computer equipment;
  • Change computer and phone batteries before buying new devices;
  • Complete the infrastructure available to employees by installing sorting points in strategic locations on each floor to sort the following categories of waste: paper/cardboard, glass, PET, organic waste. The sorting points can be more or less complete depending on the need;
  • Analyze the relevance of installing other sorting bins according to the type of waste produced (e.g.: aluminium and tinplate).
  • Remove individual incinerable trash bins collected by the cleaning team;
  • Reduce the number of incinerable waste bins and remove those located outside a sorting point;
  • Ensure that electronice devices, including electronic cigarettes are properly collected


Assessment and Action Plan Tool

The Assessment and Action Plan Tool suggests actions corresponding to the 5 Waste Management sector objectives of the Charter as a reference for an Action Plan definition. Based on an initial assessment, each institution should adopt its own actions, and develop and implement its own action plan in order to meet its own targets by 2025, 2028 and 2030.

The proposed objectives and actions are non exhaustive examples and are listed according to the Impact indicator priority with suggested targets :

Level 1 : Maximum priority

Level 2 : Highly important

Level 3 : Recommended


The topics addressed are based on the recommendations of the Geology, Soil and Waste Service, Cantonal Environment Office, Department of the Territory.

Waste Management Assessment and Action Plan Tool

2050Today Charter © 2023 by 2050Today is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0