Community-based waste management programs are collaborations between NGO’s, government agencies and impacted communities, to provide the equipment, resources and training necessary to establish an effective waste management program and to run the program independently. KEY CONSIDERATIONS: Community-based waste management programs often require initial support, guidance and resources from local authorities and/or NGOs.

Background and Objective

Regular waste collection is taken for granted in wealthier parts of the world, but there are still two billion people living in lower and middle income countries without this basic service. When there is no such service, people resort to dumping or burning their waste close to where they live. These practices are harmful to public health, local economies and the environment, especially in regions near waterways, which prove to be a convenient receptacle for urban waste. Plastic packaging waste, for example, not only blocks drains and pollutes the ocean, but when burned, is harmful to lungs, eyes and skin, and is a major contributor to urban air pollution.

Actions and Implementation

Community-based waste management programs offer populations in low and middle income countries where there is no, or inadequate, municipal waste management services with a low-cost, effective and engaging waste management system. Such systems encourage: Direct community-member engagement and accountability Tracking of waste collection and reduction Segregation of waste at the household level On-site utilization of valuable and reusable items Composting of organic waste Collection and transportation of waste to a treatment site by a public collection service. For further guidance, see “Making Waste Work: A toolkit, community waste management in low and middle income countries” -

Outcomes and Impacts

CASE STUDY EXAMPLES Phu Quoc, a Vietnamese island off the coast of Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand, joined WWF’s Plastic Smart Cities initiative in 2019, and is now implementing pilot projects with the goal of reducing plastic pollution by 30% in their pilot areas. One such pilot is in Da Chong, a small village of 1,485 people located in the northeastern part of the island next to a marine protected area, and a testing ground for a new community-based approach to waste management. Like other remote areas on the island and across Southeast Asia, Da Chong residents did not have access to public waste collection. Waste generated by the community was either burned or thrown directly into the ocean, and thus a direct threat to the highly protected seagrass area. WWF-Vietnam, together with local authorities hatched a pilot project that established a community-based waste management system, one that could prevent the community’s waste from polluting the coastal environment, an environment that not only supports the livelihoods of many Da Chong residents, from fishing to aquaculture, but also harbors many marine species, including the rare and vulnerable dugongs. The goal of the project was to establish a system in which solid waste would be segregated at the household level, valuable items would be utilized on-site, organic waste would be composted and trash would be collected and transported to a treatment site by a public collection service. An agreement was reached between the local authorities and the community members of Da Chong, leading to the launch of the first community-based waste management program in the region, in September 2019. The project provided equipment, waste separation training, and technical support to the residents, equipping them with the resources to not only establish the program, but to also run the program independently. The community selected Ms. Co Bay, a low income waste picker, to be their community waste collector. Ms. Bay collects inorganic waste door to door twice a week, and advocates for waste separation and onsite organic waste treatment. Since the pilot started, she has gained stable income from waste collection fees and from recyclables collected from participating households. Together with Ms. Bay, another local female has also been employed to monitor and audit the local waste stream. Public awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution to the ocean environment is now at an all time high in Da Chong, with residents even participating in beach cleanup events. The old habit of throwing trash into the ocean is quickly fading. It’s still yet early stages for this community-based pilot, but many lessons are being learned on the ground, which will be used to not only improve on the community-based model, but will help to expand across other communities in the region.


ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS Swachhtha App The Swachhata App and Portal is used by citizens to help municipal corporations identify unclean areas in 4,041 cities throughout India. When a citizen spots a cleanliness-related issue in the city, he or she can use the app to take a picture, chose a category and file a complaint, which is immediately monitored by a municipal corporation’s designated officials. Complaints are then assigned by the nodal officers to the relevant field official who gets a notification on the SBM Engineer App installed on his or her phone. The assigned official then goes, resolves the complaint and takes a picture as a proof that the complaint is resolved. The status of the complaint being resolved and the picture is then sent back in the citizen app as a notification to the citizen that the situation has been rectified. The citizen can then give feedback on how the municipal corporation performed on the complaint lodged by giving a "happy, neutral or sad" response and can also re-open the complaint if the citizen feels the complaint was not resolved at all. For more information, visit:

Award Scheme



Waste Management

Sustainable Development Goals

Goal 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

New Urban Agenda Commitments