Community-based Waste Management

Community-based waste management programmes are community-led initiatives. These can be collaborations between NGOs, government agencies and impacted communities to establish an effective local waste management programme whereby the local communities are empowered to run these programmes independently.

Key Considerations: Community-based waste management programmes often require initial support, guidance and resources from local authorities, NGOs and/or private sector partners.

The Problem

Regular waste collection is taken for granted in wealthier parts of the world, but there are still more than two billion people living in lower and middle income countries without this basic service.

When there is no such service, people resort to dumping or burning their waste close to where they live. These practices are harmful to public health, local economies and the environment, especially in areas near waterways, which prove to be a convenient receptacle for urban waste.

Potential Solutions

Community-based waste management programmes offer communities in low and middle-income countries where there is lack of or inadequate municipal waste management services with a community-centric, low-cost and effective waste management system.

Such systems encourage:

  • Direct community-member engagement and accountability
  • Tracking of waste collection and reduction
  • Segregation of waste at the household level
  • On-site utilization of valuable and reusable items
  • Composting of organic waste
  • Collection and transportation of waste to a treatment site by a public collection service. 


Community-based waste management has emerged as a viable and effective approach to address the challenges of waste disposal and recycling. By involving local communities in waste management practices, this decentralized model promotes sustainability, environmental preservation, economic growth, and community empowerment. As more communities adopt this approach, we move closer to building a more sustainable and waste-free future.

Case Studies

Inspiring Stories of Community-Based Waste Management
Inspiring Stories of Community-Based Waste Management: Sharing Experiences Across Indonesia via Participatory Action Research
Surat Thani Case Study
[WWF] Community Generates Funds from Selling Recyclables through a Waste Bank Initiative
Vietnam Community-based Municipal Solid Waste
Vietnam Material Recovery Facility Initiative
Kabadiwalla Connect
Waste Worker Inclusion

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