Greening The Blue – Put it in the Bin

Oct 4, 2017

Colour coded bins at the United Nations for waste management processing. Photo/UNDP

On Friday the 29th of September 2017, the boardroom in block 11 of Arundel Office Park, was full of used plastic bottles, yoghurt containers, glass jars, soda cans and paper. The UN Greening Committee was hosting its Green Friday with staff from UN agencies with the agenda to create awareness on how the new recycling and waste management initiative would be rolled out in the Arundel Office Park.

The recycling and waste management initiative among UN agencies in the Arundel Office Park is inspired by the work of UNICEF in managing waste at their premises. “It makes an enormous difference to recycle and manage our waste, because it reduces our use of natural resources and energy and it limits pollution”, emphasised Sidsel Vognsen, the Environment, Climate Change and Energy Program Analyst at UNDP. “If you show a good example in the workplace and at home, you can inspire others and spread the message in your wider communities”. Holding up plastic bottles and cans, she asked the audience how long time it takes for our everyday waste to biodegrade in nature. “It can take several hundred years for your average aluminium can to degrade in a landfill – but if you recycle it, it can be back on the shelves in a couple of weeks”.

The UN agencies work with sustainable development, environmental protection and climate change action through many projects – and while the projects contribute to a more sustainable world, it is also important to walk the talk of sustainable development at home and in the office. The UNDP Country Director, Georges van Montfort gave an inspiring presentation on the greening initiatives that he has implemented at home. He has installed solar power and setup colour-coded bins for waste separation and recycling. He encouraged staff to try some of these initiatives in their homes and communities.  “It’s inspiring to see the Country Director show that he recycles at home. It makes me think about how I can do it as well at home” specified Sauda Luzze, the Programme Assistant in Climate Change.

The theme of the Green Friday was timely as the Environmental Management Agency is rolling out a nationwide campaign on Zero Waste. Zimbabwe is confronted with a serious waste management challenge that needs urgent attention – and there is need for a joint effort.

The UN Greening Committee comprises of all UN agencies in Zimbabwe and works to make UN operations more sustainable as well as inspiring UN staff to go green – in the office and at home. Several UN agencies have taken greening initiatives to install energy efficient lights and air-conditioners, setup waste management systems and take paper saving measures in printing. In the coming month, the Greening Committee will help UN agencies in the Arundel Office park to get started on recycling – hoping that UN staff also take up the idea at home and that everyone else is inspired to take up recycling. Recycling is a step towards a more sustainable world and we can all play our role by putting our waste in the right bin – at home, at work and in communities.

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