Ambitions for greening solid waste management: Perspectives from Urban(ising) Africa

Waste ‘reclaimers’ earn a living by collecting recyclables, sorting them and selling on to the recycling plants in Johannesburg, South Africa. Image: iStock, Vladan Radulovic (RSA)

African cities are vexed by the triple challenge of rapid population growth, urban expansion and poor waste management.


  • The management of solid waste in urban areas is a challenge with wide-ranging implications for the sustainability and liveability ambitions of urban Africa.
  • Adopting Green and circular economy frameworks has the potential to catalyse green growth and improve sustainability on a number of levels and at a number of scales in African cities.
  • A continuum of solutions — including technology innovation and policy reform ­— is considered the best way forward to move towards more circular modes of production and consumption.
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