UN to promote Turkish first lady’s ‘Zero Waste Project’

UN to promote Turkish first lady’s ‘Zero Waste Project’

UN to promote Turkish first lady’s ‘Zero Waste Project’

Türkiye’s first lady Emine Erdoğan and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have signed a declaration of goodwill for the global promotion of the Zero Waste Project, carried out by Erdoğan in a bid to fight against climate change.

Erdoğan will lead the project that is aimed to be implemented globally under the umbrella of the United Nations.

Stating that they admire the efforts headed by Erdoğan, Guterres said, “Societies have started to produce a lot of waste, which is a vital problem. In this sense, the Zero Waste Project is very valuable and impressive.”

“It was a pleasure to come together in this context,” he added.

Guterres called on U.N. member countries to expand the project globally, as environmentalist projects are “among the most important issues the U.N. is struggling with.”

“The issue of waste is also a matter of justice and equality. In this sense, the project is important as it also aims to establish equality and justice in the world.”

“I hope that the number of signatures under this statement, which reveals our common intention on this matter, will increase,” said Erdoğan, adding that she wishes to spread zero waste globally.

It was committed in the statement to realize the strong link between sustainable waste management and climate change, and to implement waste prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse practices.

The declaration also promises to support zero waste initiatives, campaigns, programs, projects and activities to encourage conscious waste generation and consumption.

It was also stated that the development of similar policies on waste management will be encouraged.

The deal also urges U.N. member states, U.N. agencies and members of civil society, the private sector, the media and local governments to adopt these approaches to help accelerate the global transition to a circular economy and reduce the negative impact of waste on climate change.

Erdoğan received the World Bank’s first-ever “Climate and Development Leadership Award” for the pioneering role she has assumed in the fight against climate change with her Zero Waste Project.

The project is held by the coordination of the Environment, Urbanization and the Climate Change Ministry and is effectively implemented in many public institutions across the country.

Between 2017, when the project was launched, and January 2022, 16.5 million tons of paper and cardboard, 4.1 million tons of plastic, 1.7 million tons of glass, 400,000 tons of metals and 1.5 million tons of organic and other wastes have been recycled, Erdoğan said earlier, noting that total waste recycled amounted to 24.2 million tons over this period.

The recycling rate in Türkiye was 13 percent when the Zero-Waste Project was initiated, but the rate is presently around 22.4 percent, she said. “We aim to increase the recycling rate further up to 35 percent in 2023.”

The first lady also said that plastic bag usage has declined as much as 75 percent, thanks to the regulation that requires businesses to charge consumers use of plastic bags.