The International Alliance of Waste Pickers is a union of waste picker organizations representing more than 460,000 workers across 34 countries
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Written by Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA)


October 15, 2013
Written by Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA). 09/11/2013

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GAIA would like to invite our members and allied groups to join our 13th Global Day of Action against Waste Incineration and for Zero Waste Alternatives on November 8, 2013.

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The 2013 Global Day of Action on Waste and Incineration will be part of the Global Month of Action on Dirty Energy organized by a coalition of international networks. This Month of Action is a united effort to demand the transformation of our energy systems in favor of sustainable and community-based solutions.

This is a very special opportunity to highlight that waste is as dirty, unsustainable, unjust, and carbon-intensive as burning any other fossil fuel contributing to climate change, so we’re calling to the GAIA network and allies to participate in this joint effort and show our solidarity with all these communities struggling with harmful and false energy solutions.

We will do this by highlighting the following messages:

  • Burning waste pollutes people and pollutes the climate. Waste gets burned in “waste to energy” incinerators, in two-stage incinerators like gasification, and mixed with other fossil fuels to be burned in cement kilns and power plants. Mercury, dioxins, lead, and other poisons come from burning waste. Incinerators emit more carbon dioxide (CO2) per unit of electricity than coal-fired power plants.
  • Energy from incinerators is non-renewable. Paper, plastic, and metals come from finite natural resources such as forests that are being severely depleted. Plastics and tires are fossil fuels. Burning these resources creates a demand for more “waste” and discourages the real solutions: conservation, redesigned packaging and products, reuse, recycling, and composting.
  • All incinerators, including gasification, pyrolysis, and plasma arc, are a massive waste of energy. Due to the low calorific value of waste, incinerators are only able to make small amounts of energy while destroying large amounts of reusable materials. Burning waste also drives a climate changing cycle of new resources pulled out of the earth, processed in factories, shipped around the world, and then wasted in incinerators and landfills. Conversely, zero waste practices such as recycling and composting serve to conserve three to five times the amount of energy produced by waste incineration.
  • Zero Waste creates jobs, saves money, and is an essential strategy to combat climate change. According to the IPCC Fourth Assessment report on Climate Change, “Waste minimization, recycling, and re-use represent an important and increasing potential for indirect reduction of GHG emissions through the conservation or raw materials, improved energy and resource efficiency and fossil fuel avoidance.”
  • Zero Waste is an achievable goal that is being successfully implemented in cities around the world.


As suggested by some GAIA members, we will be promoting the “Don’t burn our future” slogan for this year’s theme. But members are free to add taglines to support their respective activities and campaigns.


The extent of your participation and the amount of time you put into the Global Day of Action is totally up to you. Please organize activities according to your campaign priorities.

Once you’ve organized your action, share your plans with the international coalition here.

All our activities will be shown in this global map of action.

Here are some ideas of what you can do during the build up and observance of the GDA:

  • issue press release or send letter to the editor
  • appear in TV/talk over the radio on waste concerns
  • meet with government departments in charge of waste management, climate change, and/or energy
  • celebrate Zero Waste with an exhibition or street party
  • convene public meetings to raise awareness and promote collective action
  • arrange a public debate on waste, climate and energy issues
  • organize non-violent direct action
  • hold picket, rally and other protest assemblies
  • stage street theater or drama on waste and pollution, or on zero waste in action
  • submit petitions to ministries or funding institutions
  • launch a cyberaction/cyberalert


Please tell us about your plans for the Global Day of Action, by writing to or your GAIA regional coordinator:

Europe: Joan Marc Simon
Latin America: Magdalena Donoso
India: Dharmesh Shah
Asia: Anne Larracas
US-Canada: Monica Wilson monica(at) and Ananda Tan

For more information on the Global Month of Action go here.

Feel free to use these flyers to spread the word about the Global Month of Action: English, Spanish, and French.