On 10 December 2021, representatives from the Rustavi and Zestaponi Municipalities in Georgia, together with those from local agencies and businesses, gathered in an online format to discuss the industrial waste mapping opportunities for enterprises in the two regions. The virtual event accounted over 30 relevant stakeholders and brought the topic of Industrial Waste Mapping (IWM) closer to the needs of enterprises and industries in the regions.
Some of the covered topics include the particularities of industrial waste management activities; discussion on the preliminary results and ways to refine findings to reach final goals; and a presentation of the benefits and new opportunities related to waste mapping for the manufacturing enterprises.
It would be wrong for us to put all the weight of pollution onto businesses – that is why we should assist them with their day-to-day operations and stimulate the uptake of innovative technologies, as this will not only benefit them in the future; it will benefit the whole country. The Georgian example reminds us how much waste we generate and what it goes through, but, if we recycle it, we then have taken a few steps towards having a general plan which could be updated in the future to include industrial zones. Where it is possible, we can ensure road accessibility to these zones and the facilitation of logistical and transport issues so we are enabling businesses to further improve waste transportation and management. Any of this would be impossible without having an industry-based mapping to determine where the waste is being generated from. What is going to help us achieve these results is the collaboration we have with both international partners and local ones, by creating a special working group in order to tackle this issue fully, said Mr. Besik Togonidze, Deputy Mayor of Rustavi Municipality.
IWM is a process of activities and actions needed to understand how to manage industrial waste from its generation (during the production processes) until its final disposal. This includes the collection, transport, treatment, and disposal of waste – together with the monitoring and regulation of the waste management process and waste-related laws, technologies, and economic mechanisms. An efficient waste management system leads to an increased business value. This contributes to the sustainability of manufacturing industries and the promotion of economic opportunities. The overall objective of IWM is then to identify, assess, and map waste streams of manufacturing enterprises in order to develop options for improving resource efficiency.
Because the industry sector here is very prominent, we have already taken a few steps towards the mitigation of waste. We have put greening on the top of our agendas, but there are still some issues that need to be addressed. This meeting is very important for us because any steps taken in the direction of taking care of waste management are important ones for our businesses and region, said Mr. Giorgi Jugheli, Deputy Mayor of Zestaponi Municipality
The pilot process for conducting the robust IWM exercise in Rustavi and Zestaponi started off in June 2021. Under the EU-funded EU4Environment Action’s Component on “Circular Economy and New Growth Opportunities”, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) launched the mapping exercises, supported by its regional partners and local authorities.
Today (10 December 2021) we celebrate Human Rights Day – and the protection of human rights is not possible without the provision of a healthy environment. We hope that with these activities, we will contribute even a bit to this very important process, as this is a task that addresses Circular Economy with the purpose of supporting the two municipalities and involving them as leading actors for industrial waste management, said Mr. George Abulashvili, Director, Energy Efficiency Centre.
In Georgia, the Regional Environmental Center for the Caucasus (REC Caucasus) supports UNIDO in implementing the task on “Circular Economy and Waste Management” of the EU4Environment Action. The work on Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production under this component is supported by the Energy Efficiency Center of Georgia and it covers additional activities, including:
- RECP Networking and Institutionalization
- RECP Clubs & Industry Demonstrations
- RECP Awareness & Knowledge Management and Capacity Building
- Introducing EU Single Market for Green Products (SMGP) concept in Georgia
The enterprises located in the two regions, when supported by the municipal and national Governments, are ready to promote a proper management of waste. So, working with enterprises to see which kinds of waste can be retransformed into by-products or new products is crucial. We (UNIDO) are always bringing this aspect into the dialogue, to underline that waste is a resource and that we are here to help use this resource efficiently. This way, the questions of the impact on the environment, climate change, and the negative impact on biodiversity become very actual. Thus, we are happy to acknowledge and welcome the initiative in the two municipalities in Georgia to consider these aspects of the manufacturing processes of industries and contribute with the inputs for the waste mapping exercise. We are grateful to the enterprises and to the Government for being active and positive about this exercise because we are very much at the beginning of this journey – one that is not only about the region, but about the country as a whole, said Ms. Tatiana Chernyavskaya, EU4Environment Project Manager, UNIDO.