BRAC and BSA lead 'WasteWise' initiative to promote

Waste poses a significant concern for human civilisation, yet its consequences are frequently overlooked. In response to this urgent crisis, the United Nations proclaimed 30th March as International Day of Zero Waste, to be celebrated annually.

Bangladesh Sustainability Alliance (BSA), jointly with its hosting organisation BRAC Urban Development Programme organised the 'WasteWise' fair on 31 March at the BRAC Centre to showcase initiatives that are fashioning products out of waste paving the transition to a circular economy. BSA member organisations are dedicated to enhancing waste management practices and minimising waste generation.

Mohammad Anisur Rahman, Senior Director, BRAC Enterprises said “BRAC Recycle Handmade Paper and BRAC Nursery Enterprise are pioneering forces in zero waste management, transforming waste into valuable resources. We have recycled 65 metric tonnes of waste paper and produced 1.5 million products. Meanwhile, BRAC Nursery’s innovative approach turns food waste into fertilisers, exemplifying a commitment to a greener, more efficient future.”

Expanding on the initiatives at PRAN-RFL, its CEO, Ahsan Khan Chowdhury said, “Zero waste management, at its core, is a commitment to the principles of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle for us. Innovations in packaging to Reduce the amount of plastics being used, Reusing the wooden dust from the furniture factory for making Wood Plastic Composite (WPC) doors and Recycling plastic waste to make products like flower tops, waste bins, and dustpans are just some of the examples of our endeavors to manage waste better.”

Waste management at InterContinental Dhaka is a critical aspect of its operations and sustainability efforts. Ashwani Nayar, General Manager at InterContinental Dhaka said, “In our journey towards zero waste, every small action has the power to preserve our planet and shape a brighter future. Every choice we make is a step towards a cleaner, greener world. We are dedicated to positioning InterContinental Dhaka as a pioneering force in sustainable practices, setting benchmarks for the hospitality industry."

Enterprises such as Redress.Recycle, Arbab Group, BRAC Recycle Handmade Paper, BRAC Nursery Enterprise, Pisces Corporation, Lamati, and Jotner Dokaan participated in the 'WasteWise' fair. These trailblazer initiatives are working with textile waste, food waste, paper waste and plastics waste. They demonstrated their processes and also spoke of their challenges such as competing with non-waste products and finding market linkages. 

One of the key highlights of the event was the emphasis on the importance of incorporating innovation in waste reduction and waste management at individual and organisational level.  The event also included a talk and demonstration of recipes for homemade toiletries, using everyday kitchen ingredients by Rubaiya Ahmad of Bangu Vegan. BRAC Nursery, which has been working with composting food waste, gave tips on starting a composting practice at home and community level.

Fariha Kabir, who visited the exhibition said, “I cannot imagine that it is possible to make such beautiful furniture out of plastic waste; I would love to buy and use them.”

“I am going to start taking small steps today, towards zero-waste. I am very inspired to start composting at home; in my own way, I will be able to take care of the food waste,” said, Md Imamul Azam Shahi, Programme Head of Urban Development Programme at BRAC.

Every day, a significant amount of waste is generated and discarded. As an experiment, the under-desk bins were removed for a day at the BRAC Centre, forcing the employees to walk to the communal bins to dispose of waste and inspiring a re-think on how waste can be minimised at an individual level.

As per the World Bank, globally, the world generates an estimated 2.24 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste annually. By 2050, this could rise to 3.88 billion tonnes per year. This is alarming when the effects of a burgeoning waste problem are calibrated against its impact on public health and climate change.