The amount of solid waste generated in Mongolia has significantly increased from 0.3 to 3.3 million tons per year between 2008 and 2019 due to changing urban lifestyles and consumption patterns. Even though more than half of the waste is recyclable, only 7% is reused or exported. Solid waste management in the country is challenged by poor technologies, infrastructure, equipment, and lack of strategic planning for sustainable waste management. 

To address these challenges, ADB is supporting the local governments in their efforts to introduce effective municipal solid waste management and recycling schemes. With a $2 million grant from Japan Fund for Prosperous and Resilient Asia and the Pacific, the Managing Solid Waste in Secondary Cities project is opening new income generating activity and employment opportunities through waste reuse and recycling pilots and skills and business development.

The project launched public information and education campaigns to increase awareness on effective and inclusive waste recycling and reuse. Recycling businesses and community organizations received small grants to pilot innovative programs that will reduce waste. The project also supported provincial governments in developing a sector policy framework and building capacity in solid waste management and planning. 


Sukhbaatar province, Baruun-Urt city

The amount of waste continues to grow rapidly, аlong with changing lifestyles and consumption habits in urban areas.

In 2019, 3.3 million tons of solid waste were generated in Mongolia.

Yet, only 7% of the waste was recycled or exported.

Khurelbaatar Baatarsukh, Executive Director, Solid Waste Management Company, Sukhbaatar province

In the past fifty years, unsorted waste from households was buried directly at an open dumpsite in Sukhbaatar province, following a common practice of other provinces. Burying the waste releases toxic gases and harms the health of residents, while wind disperses the waste and causes fires.

Sukhbaatar province was selected as one of four provinces to implement the Managing Solid Waste in Secondary Cities Project, financed by the Asian Development Bank.

Baruun-Urt city generates about 36-40 thousand tons of waste annually and about 30 percent of this waste is considered as recyclables. Under this project we are aiming to sort recyclables and turn them into end-products.

The project selected four pilot schemes for waste recycling. These include pressing and shredding plastic bottles, collecting and crushing glass waste, producing fuel briquettes from cardboard and paper waste. And the fourth is our plastic recycling and end-product production scheme. All four schemes are well-coordinated and implemented jointly with the local city administration to reduce waste.

Michidchimbaa Munkhbayar, Technician of Edev Shil LLC

With the support from the local authorities, we were selected to implement a pilot scheme under this project.

We bought a glass recycling machine and a container. We grind glass, which we supply to glass factories.

Paimii Sukhtogoo, Chief Engineer, Solid Waste Management Company, Sukhbaatar province

The project installed three collection shops for recyclables such as paper waste, plastic bags, and bottle and glass. We are grateful that these waste recycling shops open an opportunity to collect recyclables and produce a variety of widely used products, such as fence posts, manhole covers, plastic tents and other items.

New green jobs are being created in four project provinces.

Khurelbaatar Baatarsukh, Executive Director, Solid Waste Management Company, Sukhbaatar province

As part of the project, a controlled landfill with 53,000 cubic meter capacity has been put into operation. After sorting recyclables from general waste, the residuals are pressure-compacted at this facility, where the volume of the waste is reduced by 4-5 times, for further disposal at the controlled landfill.

Over the next 4-5 years, domestic waste will no longer be unloaded at open dumpsites, but will be disposed at this landfill, which reflects significant progress. 

To increase public awareness on the importance of waste sorting at the source, training and promotion activities are being carried out.

Manlaibaatar Iderbat, Governor of Sukhbaatar province

This is a best practice not only for few provinces. These advanced and effective waste management practices can be replicated throughout Mongolia, including at the soum level.