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Best Practices to Improve International Solid Waste Management


  • Solid waste management is a local issue with global implications.
  • Abt developed a toolkit containing best practices for managing solid waste.
  • Developing countries can use the toolkit to reduce plastic pollution and address climate change
The Challenge

Many medium and large cities in developing countries lack the capacity to adequately manage solid waste. Limited awareness of best practices for waste management and lack of access to key technical resources are key barriers to improvement. Inadequate solid waste management results in a range of environmental, health, and economic impacts.

The Approach

On behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Abt developed the Solid Waste Management Toolkit (the Toolkit) inclusive of resources to help decisionmakers in developing countries bolster their solid waste management. We drew upon our knowledge of best practices—acquired over more than 10 years of experience supporting EPA’s efforts to help countries build their capacity to manage solid waste — and disseminated those practices in a curated, interactive, easy-to-navigate Toolkit.

The Results

Since 2019, Abt has supported EPA’s Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery’s (ORCR) efforts to build out the Toolkit, building off the 100-plus page Best Practices for Solid Waste Management (SWM) in Developing Countries Guide. Since the Guide’s release, Abt has helped EPA grow the Toolkit to include e-learning modules, communication materials, webinar materials, videos, and four new chapters on emerging issues: plastic waste management, recycling markets, climate change, and equity.

The Toolkit resources are easy to use and available to decision makers implementing SWM programs around the world. Many of the resources have been translated (under Abt’s guidance) into different languages including Spanish, French, Arabic, Vietnamese, Bahasa Indonesian, and Thai. 

To access the Toolkit, please visit The Solid Waste Management Toolkit for Developing Countries | US EPA