Category 18 April 2019

International Solid Waste Association (ISWA)

The mission of the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) is to promote and develop sustainable and professional waste management worldwide. By promoting the most appropriate technologies and practices available on the market, combining activities, raising awareness and carrying out tailored training, the Association is promoting the sector of solid waste management. 

The challenge

As we become more urbanised, an increasing amount of solid waste is one of the major challenges we face. By 2025 the global population will most likely increase to 4.3 billion urban residents generating approximately 1.42 kg per capita a day of municipal solid waste (2.2 billion tonnes per year).[1] Innovative concepts which aim at complying with sustainability criteria, are mandatory to allow for a habitable environment, both ecologically and economically. Waste has to be reduced to a minimum and treated properly as a new resource. In order to be able to move towards upcycling instead of waste production on a global scale, all of the stakeholders in the field, be it SMEs, industry, professional associations, or even citizens and technical centres & experts, will need to join forces.


The network

The ISWA, founded in 1970 and based in Austria, is a non-governmental organisation providing services and activities to encourage innovation in municipal solid waste treatment as well as in sustainable, comprehensive and professional waste management worldwide.[2] It is open to all market players, from institutions to individuals who want to become part of the solution to the waste problem. By now, ISWA covers more than 50 countries, with some 200 institutional members worldwide and some 50,000 members associated with the National Member Organisations.[3] With its strong link to policy makers the Association is providing consultancy and helps to improve regulation and standards. Well-defined task force groups react to newly identified challenges which require the  undivided attention of experts.[4]


The benefits

Being a member of ISWA, one becomes part of a worldwide waste association, which allows for networking and access to international organisations[5] such as UNEP[6] and WHO[7]. ISWA is an accredited association for waste issues in Europe, such as waste monitoring and supplying relevant material in relation to waste practices which supports policy.[8] Via innovative formats such as an online membership, ISWA facilitates the interaction with its broad range of stakeholders. Awards honouring the best practices help raise awareness and bring support to business. Additionally, the ISWA Knowledge Base provides information on all aspects of waste management worldwide and tailor made trainings disseminate knowledge to promote and accelerate the best practice uptake worldwide.[9]


Further deployment

The International Solid Waste Association is one of the world's largest associations in the sustainable waste management sector with potential for further deployment and transferability, qualifying it for an estimated level 8 on the generic maturity scale GML.[10] Financed by an annual membership fee[11], the Association comprehensively facilitates the activities of its members. ISWA has established different Regional Development Networks (RDN) to reach further regions outside of its traditionally strong areas in a more effective way.[12] According to the successful results of ISWA’s work, by being part of ISWA, one can make a fundamental contribution to politicians and decision-makers around the world to develop waste management strategies.[13] With its ambitious vision of a world without waste, ISWA is one of the main drivers towards a switch to a sustainable global future.