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Waste is a big topic for island communities and nations around the world. This waste can be both internally-generated (by both locals and tourists) or washed up from the sea. The challenge of finding affordable ways to manage and remove large volumes of imported and potentially toxic waste can seem insurmountable, particularly for smaller or more isolated communities.

Although the world’s richest countries only constitute 16% of the global population, they produce more than a third of the world’s waste. Much of this ends up in oceans, creating “trash islands” around the world. According to the UN Environment division, SIDS produced an average of 2.3 kg of waste per person per day in 2019, which is 48% higher than the average set by the OECD, adding that much of this waste comes from the region’s tourism sector.

Many island nations and communities are making strides towards not just proper waste management, but also finding ways of turning waste into energy (W2E). In 2019, the International Energy Agency (IEA) noted that waste-to-energy technologies are underused but gaining ground in Southeast Asian nations. In Thailand, the government has set the goal of increasing the country’s waste-to-energy capacity from about 300 megawatts now to 900 megawatts by 2037. W2E is particularly popular in East Asia, and many argue it could bring a more stable electricity supply to off-grid islands.

Converting waste to energy is one of the greatest ways islands can kill two birds with one stone: able to produce energy and also solve issues of pollution. A waste-to-energy solution may also help islands economically – after all, tourists don’t want to visit an island covered in trash.

Do you know any innovative projects solving the waste problem? Please let us know of more examples in the members-only Island Innovation Facebook Group and LinkedIn Group.

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Taylor Mills

Taylor Mills

Marketing Startegist

Taylor is a marketing strategist who helps entrepreneurs monetize their personal stories, skills, and experiences so they can impact others and create freedom for themselves. She is a multilingual graduate of The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She has professional experience in Latin America, Europe, the U.S., and Asia producing sales and marketing campaigns for a range of clients–from small organizations to hypergrowth tech and Fortune 500 companies.Taylor is a full-time traveling entrepreneur, born and raised in Los Angeles. She’s lived in 8 cities on 4 continents and speaks English, Spanish, and Portuguese. She loves exploring languages & cultures, discovering new perspectives, and building meaningful relationships.

Isabel Godoy

Isabel Godoy

Ambassador Coordinator

Isabel Godoy is a Public Administrator and Political Scientist from the University of San Sebastián, Chile. She was a university student leader and participated with different international youth organizations related to the UN and SDG. She was a Pacific Alliance Fellow at the Autonomous University of the State of Hidalgo in Mexico and Erasmus student at the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration in Romania.

Experience managing and planning projects. Highly proactive and creative, awarded multiple times by universities of three countries for researching and working on projects for international relationships and sustainable development. Easily adapts to change, looking for challenges, and delivering high-quality results in every task.
She lived her childhood on Navarino Island (Puerto Williams), the southernmost city in the world, there she learned to adapt to adverse and extreme conditions, be creative with limited resources, appreciate the meaning of living in community, which has led to her love of the outdoors and passion for environmental protection, which drew her to link with Island Innovation.

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