In efforts to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, especially goals 2, 9, 7 and 11, harnessing waste materials is receiving increasing attention. However, sustainable management of municipal waste is a growing sustainability problem for governments and local authorities in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), particularly in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and East Asia. Expanding cities such as Nairobi, Kenya and Pune, India especially operate underdeveloped municipal solid waste management (SWM) systems characterized by inadequate waste collection, poor disposal practices and limited harnessing of waste into economic opportunities (particularly, in the informal sector).

The study investigates the scope, viability and potential of small-scale organic waste processing ventures in promoting a closed-loop flow of organic wastes in the circular economy. The study responds to the question: How can an analysis of small-scale ventures support strategic decisions on whether, how, and what is needed to upscale circular economy (CE) flows of urban organic waste in low- and middle-income countries?

The specific objectives of the research are as follows:

  1. To assess the potentials and viability of the different ventures in urban organic waste processing for circular economy and how they can contribute to socio-economic, health and environmental objectives
  2. To explore ways of scaling up small scale urban organic waste processing in urban areas in low- and middle-income countries