A Stride Towards Zero Waste Future in Tanzania

In the quest for sustainable waste management solutions, Tanzania is taking a significant stride towards a Zero Waste future with the implementation of the Zero Waste Model. This model decentralized waste management system, initiated in 2019, has not only made steps in Dar es Salaam but has recently expanded its footprint to Arusha and Zanzibar. This expansion marks a strategic move towards creating a broader impact on waste management practices in Tanzania and beyond.

This community-based approach, led by Waste Pickers, women, and youth in Zero Waste Cooperatives, is transforming neighbourhoods and promoting environmental stewardship. These cooperatives play a pivotal role in fostering partnership, social inclusion, and waste management practices. Since its inception, the model has successfully diverted a minimum of 75% of household waste, contributing significantly to climate balance.

Understanding the unique challenges each community faces is crucial for effective waste management. We conducted a Household Zero Waste Survey in Chumbuni Sub Ward, Zanzibar, and Kipunguni B Sub Ward in Dar es Salaam. The survey engaged nearly 6,000 individuals in Chumbuni and over 1,200 households in Kipunguni B. The gender-diverse participation highlights the importance of community involvement and collaboration in addressing solid waste management challenges. This approach ensures that solutions are not only effective but also sensitive to the needs of different community members.

The survey provided valuable insights into the current state of solid waste management in these communities. For instance, in Chumbuni, 79% of the respondents were women, emphasizing the significant role women play in waste management. Similarly, in Kipunguni B, 67.3% of households engaged were female-led. These findings underscore the need for collaborative and gender-sensitive solutions in waste management.

The data of a collection of the segregated waste from households to the Material Recovery Center in Arusha and Dar Es Salaam from January 2023 to August 2023 from Bonyokwa, Dar es Salaam and Sanawari, Arusha show that Household Organic waste produced more (66%) than other waste which provides an opportunity for the community ensure production of compositing and maggots from the organic waste. Residual waste counts for 12% more than recyclable and hazardous waste which shows that there is an increase in production of non-recyclable waste which should be banned.

To prepare for door-to-door waste collection, we employ several key activities:

  • Household Waste and Brand Audits: to inform the construction of the material recovery facility based on waste volumes and the waste profile.
  • Household Surveys: to gather perceptions and information around waste management in the area that can inform implementation.
  • Community awareness raising and education: to build understanding and partnership.
  • Waste management survey: to map potential opportunities and threats in the selected area related to waste management.

These Zero Waste Models are not merely a waste management system; it is a holistic community-driven solution that empowers residents, fosters collaboration, and addresses the environmental challenges posed by improper waste disposal. As Tanzania embraces these models, the journey towards a zero-waste future is well underway, setting a precedent for best waste management practices across the continent.