Track: Sustainability and Green Systems
Sustainable waste management practices, Resource Efficiency (RE) and Circular Economy (CE) strategies must be mainstreamed in policies to achieve sustainable development goals. The Zimbabwean constitution provides for environmental rights which include pollution and ecological degradation prevention, conservation promotion and promoting ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting economic and social development. It calls for the development of legislative and other measures for the protection of the environment. Considering this, the legislative framework of Zimbabwe includes the Principal Act which is the Environmental Management Act and its ancillary regulations. Regulations relevant to waste management include the Effluent and Solid Waste Disposal Regulations (SI 6, 2007). This instrument regulates the disposal of waste (solid waste and effluent), using the “polluter pays” principle but does not explicitly promote circularity as industry can budget for the disposal and not work towards circularity. Hazardous Waste management Regulations (SI 10, 2007) provides for the issuing of licenses for the generation, storage, use, recycling, treatment, transportation, or disposal of hazardous waste for waste generators and waste handlers. In addition, the country also has the Integrated Waste Management Plan published in 2014 that promotes integration of waste management practices.
The legislative framework (policies, acts, regulations, and ancillary legislations) needs to be aligned to fully encompass sustainable practices in the management of industrial waste towards the transition to a CE. The policies were evaluated, analysed and interpretated for their implications on stakeholders by conducting a SWOT Analysis. The review revealed that environmental risks from industrial waste management are complex and need to be managed in a holistic approach. This requires the implementation and enforcement of policies encompassing industrial ecology, economic instruments, regulations, and strategies that create value through the closed-loop systems, internalising the environmental costs and providing incentives for efficient resource use towards a circular economy and achieving sustainable production and consumption patterns. Most of the policies did not explicitly provide for the implementation of CE strategies from a regulatory point of view as industry felt the policies use the stick rather than the carrot approach. Nevertheless, there is voluntary implementation of the strategies as industry strive to achieve a CE.