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Sustainability assessment of increased circularity of urban organic waste streams

The circular economy, from an urban organic waste perspective, is seen as an approach to deal with increasing waste streams, while contributing to meeting the increasing demand for water, energy, food and other resources in urban areas.

Daniel Ddiba / Published on 28 September 2022

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Citation

Ddiba, D., Ekener, E., Lindkvist, M. and Finnveden, G. (2022). Sustainability assessment of increased circularity of urban organic waste streams. Sustainable Production and Consumption, 34:114-129. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.spc.2022.08.030.

However, there is need for a systematic assessment of the broader environmental and social benefits and trade-offs of resource recovery from organic waste streams. This paper presents a framework for assessing the societal impacts of increased circularity in terms of resource recovery from organic waste streams at city scale, building on the design of alternative scenarios for future technology systems.

The framework was developed based on a literature review of current frameworks in the area, adapting and combining some of their aspects and adding required features to allow for a broad sustainability assessment. It was also informed by stakeholder interviews.

The framework was applied to the case of Naivasha, Kenya to illustrate its applicability and usefulness. The outcome of the application in the Naivasha case indicate potential sustainability improvements from increased circularity, where resource recovery could lead to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, more efficient natural resource usage and job creation. It indicated also some risks of negative impacts on the health of workers in resource recovery facilities, and, in this specific case, negative impact on smallholder farmers.

The framework proved applicable and useful in the case study, and hence could provide input at early stages of planning even with low availability of data. Thereby it could provide policy-relevant insights towards circular economy implementation approaches that harness the benefits while mitigating any identified potential negative impacts.

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SEI author

Daniel Ddiba
Daniel Ddiba

Research Fellow

SEI Headquarters

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