Solid Waste Management


Rwanda is facing significant challenges in relation to solid waste management. Waste generation is increasing, while a sizeable portion of it is disposed on improperly located and operated dumpsites, resulting in adverse impacts on environment and health. The country has a backlog in waste legislation enforcement as well as in coordination and promotion of existing efforts to recycle and dispose waste properly.


The objective of Solid Waste Management is to implement integrated solid waste management in ways that are protective to human health and the environment.

Thus, a National Task Force shall establish an affordable, integrated approach to solid waste management based on the international waste hierarchy of:

- Reducing the amount and toxicity of material entering the waste flow (minimization); 

- Reusing as much material as practicable;

- Recycling the waste that cannot be used and recovery of resources;

- Residue disposed of in an environmentally sound way.


Thereto, the integrated approach to solid waste management must mobilize all public and private stakeholders and consider the relevant financial, technical, cultural, organizational and legal aspects. A clear division of responsibilities in terms of regulating, monitoring, promoting and operating functions shall be established among public entities at national and district level as well as among private business, communities and households.


Waste management shall aim at full cost recovery and encourage private and community initiatives for financing and operating waste management operations.

The existing legislation and regulatory framework shall be updated and establish minimum levels of service and environmental protection. Such levels can be scaled up over time, but shall remain realistic, i.e. technically, socially and economically enforceable at each stage of development. Enforcement should be accompanied by user-friendly advice and guidance and must address aspects such as operating licenses, producer responsibilities, landfill regulation, tariffs, and disposal of hazardous, industrial and agricultural waste, illegal dumping, prosecution and recovery of cleanup costs.


As response the following components will be taken into consideration:


-     Waste reduction, prevention and minimization: Waste prevention is at the top of the waste hierarchy and number one priority for the integrated approach to solid waste management.


-    Recycling: Recycling can reduce waste to landfill but also provide economic, environmental and social positives. The State shall assist private sector and community initiatives in establishing markets for recyclable products with priority for materials which are currently being recycled and/or can find sustained market demand. Such support may include training and the provision of reimbursable funding or grants.


-     Recovery: At the dumpsite, organic garden waste and paper are the source of most of the damaging leachate, greenhouse gases and odours. But they also represent a valuable resource which should be recovered, e.g. composted or transformed into briquettes.


-    Collection: Due to high transportation costs, collection efficiency is crucial and shall be optimized. Private and community initiatives for solid waste collection are to be encouraged also outside Kigali in secondary urban centres.


-   Landfill: Uncontrolled dumpsites shall cease to operate and be replaced with environmentally sound landfills. Identification of future landfill sites and technologies shall be undertaken based on selection processes considering technical, financial, social and operational criteria.


-    Hazardous waste: Due to the elevated and often concentrated environmental risks, a map and register of hazardous industrial and medical waste producers and products shall be established and include actual techniques and equipment used for disposal. To comply with environmental legislation, guidelines are to be edited for safe waste handling, storage, transport, treatment and drop-off or disposal for each category of hazardous waste.