The 2nd ISWA YPG online conference: a step in our journey from dumpsites to a circular economy

25 Jul 2019 -

From the Stone Age to the Present Day, we have exhausted the Earth’s natural reserves to build our civilization. According to latest figures from the United Nation, around 90 billion tons of natural resources are extracted every year to support and grow our inextricably knitted global economy. Based on current trends, that number is expected to more than double by 2050. Currently, only 9% of resources are reused and return back to the economy after their first use.

In order to maintain our civilization and save the planet for future generations, the take-make-disposal model is no longer an option. Countries around the world must take radical actions to stop dumping materials and start rethinking about our relationship with natural resources.

Believing in the role of young generations in our transition from a linear to circular economy, the ISWA Young Professionals Group[1], in partnership with Be Waste Wise[2], organised the second online conference in July 2019. The event was a platform for young professionals and entrepreneurs to share their stories and discuss ideas and strategies to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. Entitled, “the ultimate journey from dump sites to a circular economy: best practices & innovative solutions for low- and middle-income countries´, this year’s conference was a big success. Not only the ISWA YPG Research Group has managed to double the number of speakers, but also triple the number of participants. This is the first two-day event to be organised by a working group, thanks to efforts of our volunteers and members of the scientific committee[3].

The table below lists metrics reflecting the scale of our success achieved this year. As the chair of this year’s conference, I am honoured that I’ve worked with a group of passionate professionals to achieve these outstanding results.



1st conference

2nd conference

Diff (%)

Event type

1 day ( 2:30 hour session)

2 days ( 2:30 hour session)


Keynote speakers




Number of abstracts received




Number of presentation




Participants (number)




Participants (countries)








Scientific committee





After the conference, a review panel assessed all presentations to choose the best three papers which will be presented at the YPG’s special session at the ISWA World Congress in Spain. This year’s winners, in no particular order, are:


  • Mohit Somani, Indian Institute of Technology (India). Presentation title: Dumpsite Reclamation: Feasibility of Bulk Re-Use Of Aged Municipal Solid Waste
  • Annie Philip, Saahas Zero Waste (India). Presentation title: Waste –Yes, In My Backyard

·       Davis Fundi Ireri,  Sanergy (Kenya). Presentation title:  Closing Nutrient Cycles: Up-Scaling of Black Soldier Fly Treatment in Nairobi

The transition from our current take-make-waste linear economic model to a circular economy that emphasizes prosperity without waste is undoubtedly an arduous journey. Regardless its distance or the final destination, the journey begins with a single step. We are pleased that we made our first step. Have you done yours?


Dr Ramy Salemdeeb

Chair, the ISWA YPG 2nd online conference



[1] About ISWA YPG

We are an international group with members from all over the globe and established local and regional networks. Our mission is to make global connections among people, knowledge and ideas aimed at improving waste and resource management practices.

ISWA - the International Solid Waste Association - is a global, independent and non-profit making association, working in the public interest and is the only worldwide association promoting sustainable, comprehensive and professional waste management

[2] About Be Waste Wise

A non-profit organization addressing the need for knowledge dissemination in waste management by bringing the best minds in the world together to build a global waste management community. be Waste Wise provides educational resources, direct access to experts and networking for free and builds momentum around the global challenge of waste.


[3] Conference Committee

Chair: Dr Ramy Salemdeeb, Zero Waste Scotland (UK)

Deputy Chair: Vishwas Vidyaranya, Value Investment Colombia SAS (Colombia)

Secretary: Mohammed Al-Samet, Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology (Malaysia)


       Shivali Sugandh, Business Development Associate at U&I Gmbh & research fellow at Leibniz University Hannover (Germany)


       Shivali Sugandh, Business Development Associate at U&I Gmbh & research fellow at Leibniz University Hannover (Germany)

       Nathalia Lima (Brazil)

       Wisvesh BS (India)

Promotion and Marketing Coordinator:

·       Shiza Aslam (Pakistan), MSc student (Erasmus Mobility Track) and local lead for the the ISWA YPG Pakistan chapter.

Scientific committee:

  • ·       Dr Ramy Salemdeeb, Zero Waste Scotland (UK)
  • ·       Dr Andrea Winterstetter, Flemish Institute for Technological Research (Belgium)
  • ·       Dr Valentina Elena Tartiu, Unitelma-Sapienza University of Rome (Italy)
  • ·       Dr Frida Jones, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden AB (Sweden)
  • Vishwas Vidyaranya, Value Investment Colombia SAS (Colombia)


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