Together with its partners, the Joint Initiative has produced these resources to showcase potential solutions to the packaging challenge:
RESOURCE: Procurement Decision Tree to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Humanitarian Packaging
This simple tool is designed to support staff in humanitarian organizations to make decisions that reduce the environmental impact of packaging. The tool can be used to inform decision-making related to the packaging of humanitarian relief items, or items used in the office, in events or in training sessions. This resource was developed in collaboration with IOM and ACTED.
RESOURCE: Packaging Sustainability Criteria
While the procurement processes of humanitarian organizations vary, this list of 25 criteria is an excellent starting place and can be used as a checklist or aide-mémoire of important aspects to take into consideration when trying to procure more sustainable packaging. It includes technical, administrative and transport criteria.
RESOURCE: Guidance Note on Regulatory and Legislative Frameworks for Humanitarian Workers (plastics)
As an international treaty on plastic pollution gets underway, national legislators are increasingly regulating and restricting the use of plastic packaging and, in particular, single use plastics. This has a direct impact on humanitarian organizations and plastic bans have already forced some actors to make changes in operations and activities. This resource provides information on existing frameworks governing plastics and offers food for thought on potential solutions based on modification of procurement practices.
RESOURCE: Guidance Note on opportunities and challenges related to alternatives to petrol-based plastic in humanitarian packaging
Many humanitarian organizations are turning to alternatives to petrol-based plastics for their packaging. These alternatives also present risks for the environment and are not quick-fix solutions or “silver bullets.” This guidance note explores some of these alternatives to plastics packaging, and their related challenges.
EN FRANÇAIS: Les alternatives aux emballages en plastique conventionnel (à base de pétrole) – Définitions, avantages et défis pour le secteur humanitaire
Un type particulier d’emballage qui pose problème aux acteurs humanitaires et s’avère prévalent dans leur travail est l’emballage en plastique. Plutôt que de fournir des réponses, ce document vise à fournir des informations et des points de réflexion, afin d’aider le personnel chargé à prendre des décisions plus éclairées.
RESOURCE: Recycling and repurposing
While waste reduction – eliminating or reducing packaging, or making this more sustainable – is the priority, recycling is also an essential aspect of sustainable waste management.
The Joint Initiative has mapped recycling facilities in several countries where humanitarian operations are ongoing, in collaboration with the WREC project:
Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Madagascar, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sri Lanka and Uganda.
MORE INFORMATION: WREC recycling facilities map | Webinar on recycling
If you have mapped recycling facilities, please contact email@example.com.
RESOURCE: Operationalizing and Scaling-up Donors’ Climate and Environmental Commitments: an analysis of progress, gaps and opportunities
Published in October 2023 in partnership with the Climate Action Accelerator, this report presents an analysis of how donors’ climate and environmental ambitions and commitments are influencing the way they fund humanitarian assistance. It also updates and expands the scope of the Multi-donor Policy Landscape Analysis published by the Joint Initiative in January 2023, including information on donors’ efforts to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions and become more environmentally sustainable.
RESOURCE: Multi-donor Policy Landscape Analysis: Environmental sustainability and climate change mitigation
This report outlines how donors are integrating and mainstreaming environmental sustainability and climate change mitigation into their priorities, partnerships and funding of humanitarian organizations. It explores current drivers, trends and requirements relevant to humanitarian action that is committed to transition and adjust towards more sustainable ways of working. (NB: This report was updated in October 2023, in collaboration with the Climate Action Accelerator. See resource above for a more up-to-date and expanded analysis.)
EN FRANÇAIS: Durabilité environnementale et atténuation du changement climatique: Analyse des politiques bailleurs
Cette analyse des politiques de différents bailleurs donne un aperçu de la manière dont les bailleurs agissent, en intégrant et en généralisant la durabilité environnementale et l’atténuation du changement climatique dans leurs priorités et le financement des acteurs humanitaires.
RESOURCE: Guidance Note on Regulatory & Legislative Frameworks for Humanitarian Workers
An overview of existing frameworks governing plastics and how they are likely to evolve. This report also documents awareness-raising efforts and changes in procurement practices.
RESOURCE: Guidelines for Packaging Waste Management in Humanitarian Operations
This document provides guidelines to ensure sound management of packaging waste reuse and repurpose, recycling, and disposal in humanitarian operations, taking into account the challenges of collection and recycling in areas where humanitarian operations take place.
RESOURCE: Options for Humanitarian Packaging Reuse, Repurposing, and Recycling
The document presents 14 initiatives implemented by humanitarian organizations to reuse, repurpose or recycle packaging. These initiatives show that packaging waste can become a resource for other productive uses.
WFP RESOURCE: Recycling Company Assessment Checklist for Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Waste
A general guide used by World Food Programme (WFP) to assess company recycling and disposal procedures.
Webinar Series: Packaging Matters
Packaging Matters provides a space where humanitarian actors can share, connect and learn from one another. It offers participants the chance to hear from technical experts about new technologies and examples of innovation, discuss common challenges and identify solutions together, learning from others’ successes and pitfalls.
Episode 1: The journey to sustainable packaging: synergies between humanitarian organizations and the private sector
ALPINTER, Mondi Group and the WFP shared insights into bottlenecks and levers for humanitarians to make real improvement to packaging.
RESOURCES: recording, outcomes document, and presentation.
Episode 2: Eliminating single-use plastics from packaging of non-food items: ShelterBox’s success story,
ShelterBox team explain how they managed to do away with single-use plastics from their shelter kits packaging, which includes household and hygiene items.
RESOURCES: recording and presentation
Episode 3: Recycling Humanitarian Assistance Packaging Waste: Challenges and Opportunities
The World Food Programme Environment Unit, the Réseau Environnement Humanitaire members, and the Danish Refugee Council’ Fair Recycling Programme discuss how they recycle packaging waste from their operations.
RESOURCES: recording, presentation and outcomes document.
Episode 4: Using bioplastics in packaging: What do humanitarians need to know?
The Plastic Pollution Coalition, the Eco Design Tarpaulin Project and ShelterBox share their experiences and challenges in the use of bioplastics.
RESOURCES: recording, presentation and key takeaways.
Episode 5: Repurposing of Humanitarian Assistance Packaging and Plastic ‘Waste’: What’s the story?
UNICEF, WFP and the Plastic Pollution Coalition explain how they are giving used packaging a second life and purpose, and some of the environmental risks of repurposing humanitarian packaging.
RESOURCES: recording, presentation and key takeaways.