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[GreenYes] "Earth Summit Global Forum on Track for Zero Waste"

Earth Summit Global Forum on Track for Zero Waste


Contact:  Muna Lakhani, Earthlife Africa, Johannesburg, (mobile)
  Monica Wilson, GAIA, USA, (office) +1-510-524-4000 x104,
	  Gary Liss, Consultant, USA, (office) +1-916-652-7850,

Johannesburg, South Africa, 1 September 2002 -- The Zero Waste Team at the
Earth Summit congratulates the Global Forum for maintaining an average
recycling rate of 72% during the first 4 days of the Summit. While the
overall Earth Summit is reporting recycling rates of only around 20%, there
is wide variety of recycling rates at the numerous venues.  The Global Forum
is reporting the highest waste diversion rates of all Earth Summit venues.

Although the entire Earth Summit agreed on the principles of Zero Waste, the
Global Forum is the only location that is being directly supervised by Zero
Waste Team members from Earthlife Africa to organize and implement the
necessary waste reduction systems.

The significantly better waste reduction at the Global Forum is due to three
key differences:
1.	Designed More Waste Out of the System - The Global Forum site has
restricted the use of most plastics (particularly PVC plastic), while other
Earth Summit sites have only restricted polystyrene.

2.	Diverted Organic Waste - The Global Forum site is diverting discarded
food and other organic materials while other Earth Summit venues have not.
Organics are a vital part of reducing waste, making up at a minimum 30% of
the waste stream. Other Earth Summit sites are sending organics to

3.	Invested in Education and Outreach  The Global Forum is actively
promoting the message of Zero Waste with a wide variety of promotional
tools.  Posters and notices around the Global Forum site inform delegates
how to segregate their discards into different bins and what materials are
recyclable.  Television monitors throughout the Global Forum remind people
every 30 minutes to recycle and join in the Zero Waste effort.  Bicyclists
collecting materials from the recycling bins graphically engage the
attendees in seeing an innovative recycling program at work.  And special
events and concerts have included the Zero Waste message. This outreach is
crucial because delegates come from many different backgrounds and have had
very different experiences dealing with waste and recycling.

"At the Earth Summit Global Forum we are demonstrating that nearing Zero
Waste is possible," said Muna Lakhani, coordinator of the Zero Waste Earth
Summit team for Earthlife Africa in Johannesburg.  "We are disappointed to
see other Earth Summit sites are not meeting their waste reduction goals,
but we hope our example inspires others around the world to implement Zero
Waste programs when they return home."

The Global Forum is the largest component of the World Summit on Sustainable
Development, also called the Earth Summit; up to 30,000 delegates are now
attending the Global Forum daily.  The Global Forum is located at the
Johannesburg Expo Centre (NASREC).  Interested media representatives are
encouraged to visit NASREC.

The Zero Waste Team is a combined effort of nonprofits Earthlife Africa and
GAIA working together with UN and South African Summit organizers to
organize the Earth Summit as a Zero Waste event. Earthlife Africa is a
volunteer driven South African organization that has been active on
environmental and social issues since 1988. GAIA is an international
alliance working on waste reduction, with over 265 members in more than 55
countries.  For more information, photographs of the bicycle collection
systems and colorful recycling drop-off bins, updates, as well as articles
about the waste problems following the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro,
please see and

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