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Progress and challenges to the global waste management system
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Industrial Ecology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9215-0166
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Industrial Ecology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7717-600X
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Industrial Ecology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2459-0311
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Industrial Ecology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0297-598X
2014 (English)In: Waste Management & Research, ISSN 0734-242X, E-ISSN 1096-3669, Vol. 32, no 9, 800-812 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Rapid economic growth, urbanization and increasing population have caused (materially intensive) resource consumption to increase, and consequently the release of large amounts of waste to the environment. From a global perspective, current waste and resource management lacks a holistic approach covering the whole chain of product design, raw material extraction, production, consumption, recycling and waste management. In this article, progress and different sustainability challenges facing the global waste management system are presented and discussed. The study leads to the conclusion that the current, rather isolated efforts, in different systems for waste management, waste reduction and resource management are indeed not sufficient in a long term sustainability perspective. In the future, to manage resources and wastes sustainably, waste management requires a more systems-oriented approach that addresses the root causes for the problems. A specific issue to address is the development of improved feedback information (statistics) on how waste generation is linked to consumption.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 32, no 9, 800-812 p.
Keyword [en]
Global challenges, resource management, root causes, systems approach, wastes
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-155150DOI: 10.1177/0734242X14537868ISI: 000342632500002Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84907200004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-155150DiVA: diva2:760701
Note

QC 20141104. Updated from manuscript to article in journal.

Available from: 2014-11-04 Created: 2014-10-31 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Towards a Sustainable Resource Management: A Broader Systems Approach to Product Design and Waste Management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards a Sustainable Resource Management: A Broader Systems Approach to Product Design and Waste Management
2013 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Rapid economic growth, urbanisation and increasing population have caused (materially intensive) resource consumption to increase, and consequently the release of large amounts of waste to the environment. Numerous technological and operational approaches to resource management have been introduced throughout the system of production, consumption and waste management. This thesis concludes that the current, rather isolated, efforts to influence different systems for waste management, waste reduction and resource management are indeed not sufficient from a long-term sustainability perspective. To manage resources and waste sustainably, resource management requires a more systems-oriented approach, which addresses the root causes of the problems.

This thesis identifies and discusses different sustainability challenges facing the global waste management system. To address these challenges a broader systems approach to waste management is proposed. The thesis argues that there is a need to recognise the multitudes of perspectives, cross-scale dynamics and actors’ interactions at various levels. The barriers and limitations to a systems-oriented management of waste generation including design, production, consumption and waste management are discussed. The study utilises soft systems methodology (by Checkland (2000)) within which different concepts and methods are utilised to present a worldwide view on resource dynamics and develop a research heuristic for sustainable resource management. The study emphasises the need for a shared vision among various actors across the chain of production and consumption. To assist better planning, the need for improved databases on resource use and wastes is emphasised.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2013. xii, 37 p.
Series
TRITA-IM-LIC, 2013:02
Keyword
Resource Management, Product Design, Waste Management Challenges, Systems Thinking, Sustainability Science
National Category
Environmental Management Climate Research Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Industrial Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-141126 (URN)978-91-7501-986-4 (ISBN)
Presentation
2014-03-10, Sal D3, Lindstedtsvägen 5, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20140211

Available from: 2014-02-11 Created: 2014-02-07 Last updated: 2015-02-23Bibliographically approved
2. Beyond Waste Management: Challenges to Sustainable Global Physical Resource Management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Beyond Waste Management: Challenges to Sustainable Global Physical Resource Management
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Current physical resource management (PRM) was investigated in a global perspective in this thesis, to gain a deeper understanding of its implications in a sustainability perspective. In particular, the main challenges to the current PRM system and the kinds of systemic changes needed for sustainable PRM were examined. In five separate studies, different theoretical and practical challenges to current PRM approaches were analysed. A descriptive literature review, causal loop diagrams and semi-structured interviews were performed to gather qualitative and quantitative inferences. Perspectives from industrial ecology, life cycle thinking, systems thinking and environmental philosophy were then applied to analyse global resource/waste management issues.

The analysis resulted in an overview of the global ecological sustainability challenges to current PRM and identification of major challenges to the global waste management system. Causal loop diagrams were used to qualitatively analyse the structure and behaviour of production and consumption systems responsible for unintended environmental consequences of purposive actions to improve material and energy efficiencies. Ways in which resource quality could be maintained throughout the system of production and consumption systems were determined by identifying challenges facing product designers while closing the material loops. A planning framework was devised to operationalise the sustainable development demands in society, including production and consumption systems.

A broader systems approach is proposed for future sustainable global PRM, focusing on ensuring societal functions within the human activity system. The approach involves designing and managing anthropogenic stocks of physical resources to reduce inflows of physical resources and outflows of wastes and emissions. Life cycle-based databases linking resource consumption with waste generation are needed for improved global PRM.

Abstract [sv]

I denna avhandling undersöktes fysisk resursanvändning i ett globalt perspektiv, för att få en djupare förståelse av dess konsekvenser i ett hållbarhetsperspektiv. Framför allt undersöktes de största utmaningarna med den aktuella fysiska resurshanteringen och vilka typer av systemförändringar som krävs för en hållbar fysisk resurshantering. I fem studier analyserades olika teoretiska och praktiska utmaningar för den nuvarande fysiska resurshanteringen. Litteraturstudier, kausala loopdiagram och semistrukturerade intervjuer genomfördes för att samla kvalitativ och kvantitativ information. Perspektiv från industriell ekologi, livscykeltänkande, systemtänkande och miljöfilosofi tillämpades för att analysera globala resurs- och avfallshanteringsfrågor.

Analysen resulterade i en översikt av den nuvarande fysiska resurshanteringens globala ekologiska hållbarhetsutmaningar och identifiering av stora utmaningar för den globala avfallshanteringen. Kausala loopdiagram användes för att kvalitativt analysera strukturen och beteendet hos de produktions- och konsumtionssystem som gör att ändamålsenliga åtgärder för att förbättra material- och energieffektivitet får oavsiktliga negativa miljökonsekvenser. Hur resurskvalitet kan upprätthållas i produktions- och konsumtionssystemen som helhet bestämdes genom att identifiera de utmaningar som produktdesigners möter när de sluter kretslopp av material. En planeringsmodell utformades för att operationalisera kraven på hållbar utveckling i samhället, bland annat produktions- och konsumtionssystem.

Ett bredare systemtänkande föreslås för en hållbar global fysisk resursförvaltning i framtiden, med fokus på att säkerställa samhällsfunktioner inom det mänskliga aktivitetssystemet. Tillvägagångssättet innebär att utforma och hantera antropogena fysiska resurser i syfte att: minska inflödet av fysiska resurser; och utflödet av avfall och utsläpp. Livscykelbaserade databaser som länkar resursanvändning till avfallsgenerering behövs för att förbättra den globala fysiska resursförvaltningen.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2016. 145 p.
Series
TRITA-IM, ISSN 1402-7615 ; 2016:03
Keyword
Sustainable global physical resource management, global waste management, systems thinking, life cycle thinking, planning framework, global environmental justice, circular economy
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Industrial Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-186517 (URN)978-91-7595-917-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-06-09, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
India4EU
Note

QC 20160516

Available from: 2016-05-16 Created: 2016-05-12 Last updated: 2016-05-16Bibliographically approved

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Singh, JagdeepLaurenti, RafaelSinha, Rajib

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