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Implementing resource recovery from urban organic waste in low- and middle-income countries: tools to support planners and policy makers

Globally, there is increasing awareness of the importance of applying circular economy principles to the management of organic waste streams through resource recovery. This is especially relevant in urban areas of low- and middle-income countries which are going to host a significant part of population growth over the next few decades.

Daniel Ddiba / Published on 30 June 2022

Ddiba, D. (2022). Implementing Resource Recovery from Urban Organic Waste in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Tools to Support Planners and Policy Makers. Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 76 pp. ISBN: 978-91-8040-198-2 (print).

Circular economy approaches for sanitation and waste management can provide incentives to improve infrastructure and consequently contribute resources for water, energy and food that power urban livelihoods.

This thesis aims to contribute new knowledge, methods and tools that are applicable as decision support for the planning and implementation of circular approaches to the management of organic waste streams. The research questions in the thesis focus on three aspects of resource recovery from organic waste streams;

(1) how decision support tools estimate its potential to contribute to a circular economy,

(2) the governance conditions that facilitate or impede its implementation,

(3) its sustainability implications.

The research in this thesis employed a mixed methods approach including literature reviews, semi-structured interviews, field observations, workshops, quantitative modelling, diagnostic governance assessment, scenarios as well as quantitative and qualitative sustainability assessment. The research was operationalized in three case study locations: Chía (Colombia), Kampala (Uganda) and Naivasha (Kenya).

The findings reveal the quantities of resource recovery products like biogas, compost and black soldier fly larvae that can be obtained from the organic waste streams collected in a large city, as well as the available decision support tools that can be used to address various aspects of resource recovery in sanitation systems.

By providing new insights on resource recovery from organic waste streams in the case study locations, the tools and frameworks in this research demonstrate approaches that can be applied in a policy and practice context to offer decision support for the implementation of resource recovery from organic waste streams. This is particularly relevant for urban areas in low- and middle-income countries whose stakeholders wish to explore the potential of resource recovery from their organic waste streams, to undertake a diagnostic assessment of their governance capacity and to assess the sustainability implications of implementing more circular approaches in their sanitation and waste management systems.

The abstract and summary are available in Swedish, Swahili and Spanish.

SEI author

Daniel Ddiba
Daniel Ddiba

Research Fellow

SEI Headquarters

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