Measuring waste at the ILO

Fri, 21/10/16

Waste management is one of the key aspects the ILO is targeting to reduce its negative impact on the environment. As part of the organization’s efforts to measure and assess waste practices within its offices worldwide, the 2015 waste data was gathered from five ILO offices, which will be included in the upcoming 2016 Greening the Blue report.

More than 50 per cent of all ILO hazardous and non-hazardous waste reported in 2016, amounting to 1140kg per person, originated from the renovation works carried out in the ILO headquarters building.

Specific procedures for collection, storage and treatment have been adopted to each of the various types of construction waste, which include, scrap metal, wood, cardboard, brick/concrete, glass and asbestos. All waste streams are collected and treated by certified companies in line with applicable regulations. By reusing or recycling waste as much as possible, the intent is to divert it from landfills and incinerators. A compactor is also in use on site to minimize transportation.

Particular attention is also given to waste water, which is stored and treated on an on-site treatment unit. The treated water is then discharged into the sewage. Importantly, periodical test analysis are undertaken to monitor the treated water and guarantee its quality and safety.

With regard to non-construction waste, since 2010 the ILO headquarters in Geneva has implemented an integrated recycling system that centralizes the collection and transport of regular waste to one waste management service provider. This new approach has not only established a more efficient and coordinated waste management system, but also has resulted in cost-savings.

Recognizing that waste management is often a common challenge in various locations, ILO Environmental Sustainability Action Plan 2016-17 targets take into consideration waste management in ILO field offices. With this in consideration, strategies are being developed to implement more efficient waste management practices in five pilot-offices (Brasilia, Dar es Salaam, Islamabad, New Delhi and Santiago), including by reducing, reusing, recycling, and ensuring an adequate disposal for various waste streams. Other expected benefits resulting from the activities are safer and better workplaces, and further alignment of ILO operations with its mandate of the promotion of decent work and green jobs.