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GLOBAL GOALS S01E09: The Global Waste Opportunity

In episode 9, we zoom in on waste. Many countries – regardless of their level of industrialisation – are still dumping or incinerating components and products they do not want or need, rather than fixing, refurbishing, repurposing, passing on and segregating them. Virgin material is often less expensive than the used equivalent, and the consumer base for sustainable products is still niche because of cost and lack of awareness.

However, policy and education can change all of this. For Swati Singh Sambyal, Europe is starting to make progress. In the Global South, though, dismantling an unsustainable waste ecosystem will require governments standing up to cartels, and imposing landfill or incineration taxes. Recovered materials should be subject to low levels of tax. Polymers that cannot easily be repaired, remanufactured or recycled should be highly taxed. Recycling, often unregulated in the Global South, should be the last resort.

Swati is an advocate of decentralised waste management, giving the example of root zone wastewater treatment. Domestic and industrial wastewater passes down the natural gradient of the ground through a series of anaerobic and aerobic processes to purify wastewater.

We also talk to two businesses taking surplus materials to create beautiful, useful new objects:

Shashank Nimkar, inspired by broken ceramics on the roadside in Khurja, India’s capital of the material, uses rejects that would otherwise remain unweathered at Earth Tatva. He describes how he stumbled across clay itself as a binder, which means no segregation or separation is required at the end of his products’ use. He has started with tableware, with the idea that it would help propagate the idea of sustainability through its aesthetics and visibility.

This is similar to Anselm Croze, whose company Kitengela Hot Glass has been transforming scrap into glasses and jugs, but also furniture and murals, on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya, for nearly three decades. His process of blown glass requires used engine oil, though procuring that is not without its challenges, as he explains.

Both Shashank and Anselm plan to expand geographically and into different sectors. Shashank sees opportunities in using ceramics from demolition sites for new buildings, subject to more research to be able to separate tiles from cement. He believes the processing of the material must be decentralised, to avoid transporting the waste and then the finished products across long distances.

Listen to our three speakers for this and more ways to confine landfills and incineration to history.

Available on all major streaming platforms


Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Wastezon Jacqueline Mukarukundo is the co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Wastezon, a Rwandan cleantech startup that is leveraging technology to create a waste-free world. Her zeal in Marketing led Wastezon to emerge as the best E-waste Solution Provider-East Africa in 2019 Build Magazine’s Recycling and Waste Management Awards. She overseas Wastezon’s marketing strategies and manages the Clientele including over 155 users including Recycling Industries and Households. Her work earned her recognition such as SDG Competition Award at SDG Summer School, Geneva and Learning Planet Assembly Award, Paris. During her time in Geneva, she co-founded, an SDG Education Awareness startup that is currently promoting awareness on SDGs.


Owner, Kitengela Hot Glass by Anselm

Anselm Croze is the owner of Kitengela Hot Glass, located on the edge of Kenyan wilderness, 50 minutes from Nairobi city centre. His journey with glass blowing took a big step forward in 1991, when he trained in Holland with glass masters Willem & Bernard Heesen. Kitengela’s works range from individual glass artworks to entire collections custom designed for restaurants, hotels, lodges, camps and other corporate clients throughout Africa. Inspired by the pragmatism of the Kenyan ‘jua kali’ (literally ‘hot sun’) artisans, Anselm elaborates: “They make shoes from tires, stoves and lamps from old cans, using discarded items to make needed objects. That’s ingrained in our ethos here. We’ve just taken it a step further.

Freelance Waste Management, Recycling


CEO & Founder, Earth Tatva

Shashank is a multi-award winner cross-disciplinary designer who enjoys working with materials and developing solutions that add value to our society. He innovated Earth Tatva as a part of his graduation project for his Master’s programme at National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India. Using Earth Tatva ‘s recycled ceramic material he aims to turn the linear ceramic production into a circular process. So that the industry & studios can collectively reduce the carbon footprint while continue making high aesthetic and functional ceramic wares. Along with being an industrial eco-designer he is also an animator. In a sentence, he is best described as an amalgamation of purposeful execution with contextual narration.

Director and Founder, Closing The Loop Joost started Closing the Loop (CTL), a company that won the Dutch Circular Award in 2018.  Since its commercial start in 2014, CTL has been a pioneer in circularity for tech. Its efforts to close loops in an industry struggling with a less sustainable image - serving customers that are reluctant to choose sustainability over usability -  resulted in the creation of pragmatic circular services. Closing the Loop's waste-compensation services are now creating customer value and positive impact for tech buyers, some of the world's largest companies as well as the tech industry itself. Joost has been an entrepreneur for 10 years and worked for Accenture and the Global Reporting Initiative in the past.


Waste Management Specialist, UN-Habitat India

Swati Singh Sambyal is a renowned researcher on resource management. Swati has worked in India as well as across Global South on development issues concerning integrated waste and resource management. She has been a part of the National Geographic forum on circular economy. Swati is trained at Swedish EPA, Stockholm and Norwegian EPA, Oslo on environmental governance and planning. She is presently associated as a Waste Management Specialist with UNHABITAT India looking after projects in India and Global South on plastics and landfill remediation. She has worked as the head of a programme on Municipal Solid Waste at New Delhi based environment policy and advocacy organisation, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) for 9 years.


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