DCW looks back on his CIWM Presidential year

Professor David C. Wilson’s final contribution to the CIWM Journal took the form of an interview in which he looked back on his Presidential year. This web-posting also includes an index of and links to his monthly columns for the CIWM journal, many of which were ‘think-pieces’ on issues in which he has been involved for years or even decades. Among the questions covered in the final interview were: has any topic dominated the year (yes, plastics – both marine plastics and the ‘China ban’); and what would be your advice to Enda Kiernan and future CIWM Presidents (‘Be true to yourself’ – which the editor also used as this month’s headline).
Interviews and DCW’s theme for the year:

  • Dec 2018: ‘Be true to yourself’. DCW looks back on his year as president. PDF attached at end of post.
  • Dec 2017: A key utility service. DCW revisited his Presidential address to further explain his key themes for the year ahead. The overarching theme was to have solid waste management recognised as an essential utility service.
  • Nov 2017: One small step. The editor Ben Wood introduced DCW, his story in waste and his hopes for his Presidential year. PDF attached at end of post.


  • Oct 2018: Plastics – diabolic or fantastic? How to respond to the crisis of plastics entering our oceans? Which plastic uses are diabolic and which fantastic?
  • Jun 2018: How to influence people. DCW reported on CIWM’s role in influencing the UK’s initiative on marine plastics which was announced at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London in April 2018.
  • Apr 2018: China – coming full circle. In the wake of the current China-induced recycling crisis in the West, DCW gave his personal perspective on China’s journey in waste management and recycling over the last 30-40 years and moving forward…
  • Feb 2018: Turning the tide. Where do plastics entering the ocean come from, and how do we turn the tide?

Promoting waste reduction and recycling:

  • Sep 2018: Charge! DCW reflected on the challenges of devising the right policies to charge households for solid waste management services
  • May 2018: Revaluing recycling. DCW argued that we need to rethink recycling if it is to become sustainable and proposed a framework for doing so, by considering the embodied social, environmental and technical values alongside the market price.
  • Jan 2018: Inspiring reuse. DCW showcased the five inspiring projects shortlisted for Best Reuse or Waste Prevention Project at the CIWM Sustainability and Resource Awards 2017.

Waste and climate

  • Jul 2018: Don’t waste our climate. DCW made the case for resource and waste management as an entry point to achieve significant climate mitigation. The article was subsequently re-published by the National Solid Waste  Association of India (NSWAI) in their member journal Waste Monitor in July 2019.
  • Website May 2018: Uncontrolled burning of solid waste as a significant contributor to climate change. DCW reported on current research at Imperial College London.

Tackling the global waste crisis

  • Website Nov 2018: DCW awards his Presidential Medal to Mike Webster, Founder and CEO of the charity Wasteaid.
  • Website Oct 2018: Tackling the global waste crisis through community waste management. DCW reported on two papers in the peer-reviewed literature, which follow-up on the CIWM-Waste aid toolkit Making Waste Work.
  • Dec 2017: A key utility service. A key theme for DCW’s Presidential year was to highlight the global waste crisis, the 3 billion people who lack access to basic SWM services.
  • Website Nov 2017: DCW launches toolkit for community waste management. Introducing DCW’s Presidential Report, the CIWM-Wasteaid Toolkit Making Waste Work. The Toolkit includes a dozen How-to-do-it Guides to enable local entrepreneurs to implement simple technologies using organics and low-value plastics in the waste.

Other DCW areas of interest or ‘hobby horses’:

  • Aug 2018: Hazardous waste – plus ça change. DCW reflected on 40 years of involvement with hazardous waste policy, and concluded that the current and future challenges identified by CIWM’s Hazardous Waste Special Interest Group have changed relatively little over the years.
  • Mar 2018: Let’s skip “the tip”. DCW argued that terms such as “the tip”, “rubbish”, “refuse” and arguably “tipping”, have no place in the vocabulary of the professional waste and resource manager.

Charge! – Paying for household waste services

CIWM President and lifelong waste policy and planning consultant David C Wilson reflects in his September column for the CIWM Journal on the challenges of devising the right policies to charge households for solid waste management services. Of course, we already pay for our solid waste services, but that charge is usually hidden within a wider charge or tax, which in the UK is council tax. Across Europe, many local authorities have been experimenting over the last https://www.babyscanclinic.com/blog/order-generic-levitra/ 20 years with pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) systems, where the charge varies at least in part according to usage. The growing evidence base suggests that PAYT does work, in terms of reducing waste quantities and increasing recycling. But why should local authorities, and ultimately households, pay for all the costs of municipal solid waste management? Particularly in the context of Defra’s forthcoming Resources and Waste Strategy for England, DCW argues for real Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), with teeth, that will move the full financial burden of collecting, recycling and disposing of packaging and other products in the municipal waste stream from local authorities to the producers and supply chain. If we cannot have PAYT, let us at least have PAYB (pay-as-you-buy).

Wales consults on national Waste Prevention Programme

The Welsh Government has launched a public consultation on its national Waste Prevention Programme. The programme focuses on the actions that householders and businesses can take to reduce waste, while at the same time saving money; and also on the possible interventions that Government can take to facilitate the process. Professor David C Wilson was invited to chair the stakeholder Steering Group convened to review the evidence base and advise on finalisation of the consultation document prior to its publication.

All EU Member States are required under the revised Waste Framework Directive to prepare a national Waste Prevention Programme. The deadline for publication is December 2013, and Wales is one of the first countries to consult on its proposed programme. A series of industry workshops will be held during May to help elaborate the proposals, and the consultation closes on 20 June 2013.                                                             

The Waste Prevention Programme will ensure that householders and businesses in Wales are able to reduce: the quantity of waste, including through the re-use of products or the extension of the life span of products; the adverse impacts of the generated waste on the environment and human health; and the content of harmful substances in materials and products.  

Professor Wilson has worked extensively on waste prevention over the last ten years, and has published a number of peer-reviewed papers on the international evidence base for both household and business waste prevention.


DCW speaks at Waste and Climate Conference

Professor David C Wilson is an invited speaker at this week’s International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) 2nd Waste & Climate Beacon Conference in Copenhagen, 19-20 April,2012. DCW’s topic is ‘Comparing Solid Waste Management in the World’s Cities’, and combines two major strands of his current work: looking at SWM around the world and in developing countries in particular; and promoting waste prevention as a major component of resource management as the next phase in modernising SWM in developed countries. The latter also builds on his particular interest in food waste prevention. DCW’s full presentation is now on the conference website.

This conference will focus ISWA’s work to bring waste management firmly onto the agenda for UN COP18 on climate change in Qatar later in 2012, a process which began at COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009. End-of-pipe waste management contributes 3-5% to global emissions of greenhouse gases, but both waste prevention and recycling have the potential for reducing global emissions by perhaps 15-20%. Waste management has already made strides in cutting emissions of methane (25 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide) from landfill. But 20% of the UK’s carbon footprint is accounted for by the food we eat – and up to 50% of our food is either wasted before it gets to the kitchen or is bought and thrown away without being eaten. So eliminating avoidable food waste would reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 5-10% – which compares to the total contribution of end-of-pipe waste management of 3-5%.

DCW to chair Waste Prevention Workshop

Prof David C Wilson will chair the morning session of the workshop: The Waste Prevention Programme – Exploring the Evidence, at Church House, London on 29 February 2012.  This workshop, organised by CIWM on behalf of Defra and WRAP, aims to showcase recent evidence on how to achieve waste prevention and resource efficiency, and to provide participants with an opportunity to update on, and contribute to, government thinking on the forthcoming Waste Prevention Programme for England.

Waste prevention is at the top of the waste hierarchy, and is now also at the top of the policy agenda as EU governments prepare to introduce their national Waste Prevention Programmes by the end of 2013, as required by the revised Waste Framework Directive. The morning session of this workshop will focus on recent evidence, with a particular focus on business waste prevention and resource efficiency, but including also a new carbon tool for local authorities. The afternoon will allow every participant to contribute to round-table discussions, with the key issues from each table being put to a high-level panel for further consideration.

DCW has been advising Defra on their waste and resources evidence programme, and in particular on the evidence relating to waste prevention, for a number of years, and has managed two evidence reviews for them, on household waste prevention, published in October 2009, and on business waste prevention, which will be launched at this workshop.