Assessing the Connections between COVID-19 and Waste Management in Brazil
- The first is related to the economic dimension in which the reduction in families’ income and the rising unemployment rate made people, on average, change preferences and reduce costs by buying only essentials, opting for cheaper brand products, and supporting the local economy.
- The second main drive is connected to people’s health and well-being, generating increased purchasing of personal hygiene products, cleanliness, and preference for essential and healthy food at grocery stores.
- Thirdly, the rise of digital and online shopping brought comfort and safety, providing a way that people could buy and stay protected from COVID-19 in their homes
2. COVID-19, Household Consumption and Waste Production
- Section 1: demographic data and information regarding the type of household, family composition, and lockdown stage: as in Leal Filho et al. , this section intended to characterise the study respondents;
- Section 2: level of consumption (changes in the consumption of certain categories of products—packed food, fresh food, takeway/online food delivery);
- Section 3: waste generation in the household (changes in the quantity of waste generated during the lockdown, reasons for those changes and types of waste more generated—including food waste, non-recyclable waste, and plastic packaging);
- Section 4: waste management and formulation of politics (municipalities procedures, challenges to the waste management systems, measures to better deal with the problem of waste during pandemic events, national politics for the waste management, and satisfaction with the waste management in Brazil).
4. Results and Discussion
4.1. Respondents’ Attitudes on Consumption and Waste Generation
4.2. Individual and Public Waste Management Practices
- Lesson 1: Whereas the green behaviour of the Brazilian population shows signs of pro-waste management initiatives, the increased consumption of households will require a re-calibration of urban waste management systems so that they may better cope with increased demands.
- Lesson 2: Government’s initiative is perceived as a missing link in improving waste management in Brazil, which will require a strong commitment from public bodies to regain the confidence of the population about the legitimacy of the government in waste management initiatives
- Lesson 3: New types of waste such as medicines and PPE—which were less prevalent before the pandemic—should receive attention from public authorities to assess the impacts of these types of waste on the Brazilian waste management system.
Conflicts of Interest
Appendix A. Questionnaire—COVID-19 and Household Waste Production in Brazil
- Level of Education
- Net monthly household Income
- Type of housing
- Number of persons or individuals in the household
|0||1||2||3||4 or More|
|Number of Adults Other|
|Number of Children (less than 18 years old)|
- Area of living place
- Stage of lockdown at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic
- Current stage of lockdown:
- Has the consumption of packed food in your household changed during the lockdowns in 2020?
- Has the consumption of fresh food such as fruits and vegetables changed during the lockdowns in 2020?
- Has the consumption of takeaway or online food delivery changed in your household during the lockdowns in 2020?
- When purchasing food online, do you look for food options that come in sustainable packaging (e.g., reusable packaging, biodegradable packaging material)?
- Has the waste generation in your household changed during the lockdowns in 2020?
- Which types of waste generation have changed the most in your household during the lockdown?
|Increased||Decreased||No Change||Do Not Know|
|Paper and cardboard packaging|
|Electric and electronic waste|
- Do you use different bins for the separation of household waste?
- Have local council regulations been changed in your city/district/area in terms of household waste separation during the lockdown?
- Have your efforts to segregate waste (organic and recyclables) changed in your household during the lockdowns?
- Which were the main challenges regarding waste management at your household during the lockdown? (Multiple answers can be selected)
- Which of the following can be considered outcomes of the lockdown in your household? (Multiple options can be selected)
- Which of the measures below should be intensified for better management of waste during disaster situations? (Multiple options can be selected)
- Please indicate your level of agreement/disagreement with the following statements: Use the following scale: 1 = strongly disagree; 2 = disagree; 3 = neither agree nor disagree; 4 = agree; 5 = strongly agree
|The national waste management policies in force in your country are adequate to deal with the variations in waste generation caused by the pandemic.|
|Waste management policies in your city are adequate to deal with variations in waste generation caused by the pandemic.|
|Current operational procedures for manual waste collection during the pandemic are adequate.|
|The current hygiene operational procedures in the management of waste collection during the pandemic are adequate.|
|Government-led information campaigns on waste management are adequate.|
|The efforts led by the government to promote the involvement of citizens in reducing the generation and separation of waste, as well as selective collection, are adequate.|
- What is your level of satisfaction with the political action in waste management in your country considering the following aspects? Use the following scale: 1 = Not satisfied at all; 2 = Little satisfied; 3 = Satisfied; 4 = Very satisfied; 5 = Completely satisfied
|Promotion of Environmental Education|
|Incentives to the recycling industry (e.g., encourage the use of raw materials derived from recyclable and recycled materials)|
|Regularization and universalization of the provision of public waste management services|
|Support for collectors of recyclable materials (e.g., creation of cooperatives)|
|Adequate selective collection|
|Search for more sustainable management and final disposal options|
- In general, has there been any variation in your level of satisfaction in relation to waste management policy in your country during the pandemic?
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Outbreak Measures and Policies
|Quarantine measures; Social Distancing/protective facial masks; Lockdowns/Stay at home directives; Homeschooling/work from home; Restaurant closures||Bennett ; Crokidakis ; Hsiang et al. ; Qiu et al. |
|Changes in Household Consumption||Increase in delivery services; Increase in online purchasing; Acquisition of prepared food outside/takeaway; Increase in packaged meals; Increase in packaged products’ consumption; Better Food management/Cooking at home; Rise in health concerns in food choices; Changing in shopping frequency and routines; Increase in single-use products; Stockpiling non-perishable food and other supplies||Aldaco et al. ; Amicarelli & Bux ; Burlea-Schiopoiu et al. ; Cosgrove et al. ; Leal Filho et al. ; Pappalardo et al. ; Patrício Silva et al. ; Rodgers et al. ; Roe et al. ; Sarkodie & Owusu ; Vanapalli et al. |
|Impacts on the household waste production||Scaled-up domestic waste volume; Decrease in food waste generation; Increase in packaging waste (e.g., paper/plastic boxes, bags, and sacks). Raising in COVID-19 potentially infected waste (e.g., protective facial masks, tissue paper, hygiene products).||Packaging Waste references:|
Adyel ; Leal Filho et al. ; Hantoko et al. ; Patrício Silva et al. ; Sarkodie & Owusu ; Vanapalli et al. 
Amicarelli & Bux ; Burlea-Schiopoiu et al. ; Cosgrove et al. ; Hantoko et al. ; Pappalardo et al. ; Principato et al. ; Rodgers ; Roe et al. 
Potentially COVID-19 infected waste references:
Behera ; Dharmaraj et al. ; Di Maria et al. ; Sarkodie & Owusu ; Unicef 
|Food Category||Consumption Change||Responses (%)||Distribution of Responses (%)|
|Blanks||Up to 10%||10–20%||20–30%||Over 30%|
|Packed food||No change||39.4%||100%||-||-||-||-|
|Fresh food||No change||31%||100%||-||-||-||-|
|Food delivery||No change||26%||100%||-||-||-||-|
|Waste generation||No change||16%||-||-||-||-||-|
|Do not know||3%||-||-||-||-|
|Statements on Waste Management Policies||Strongly Disagree||Disagree||Neither Disagree nor Agree||Agree||Strongly Agree|
|The national waste management policies in place are adequate to deal with the changes in waste generation caused by the pandemic.||37.1||38.8||18.2||4.7||1.2|
|The waste management policies in your city are adequate to deal with the changes in waste generation caused by the pandemic.||33.5||41.2||17.1||7.1||1.2|
|Current operating procedures for manual collection of waste during the pandemic are adequate.||24.1||38.2||25.9||10.6||1.2|
|Current operational hygiene procedures in handling waste collection during the pandemic are adequate.||24.7||38.2||27.6||8.8||0.6|
|Government-led information campaigns on waste management are adequate.||47.6||25.3||17.6||6.5||2.9|
|Government-led efforts to promote citizen engagement in reducing waste generation and separating waste, and selective collection, are appropriate.||51.8||30.0||12.9||2.9||2.4|
|Aspects of Waste Management Policies||Not at All Satisfied||Slightly Satisfied||Moderately Satisfied||Very Satisfied||Extremely Satisfied|
|Regularity and universalization of public service provision in waste management||42.9%||34.7%||14.1%||7.6%||0.6%|
|Adequate selective waste collection||42.9%||29.4%||19.4%||7.1%||1.2%|
|Support for the recycling industry||45.3%||36.5%||11.8%||6.5%||0.0%|
|Support to collectors of recyclable waste||46.5%||31.8%||13.5%||7.1%||1.2%|
|Pursuit of more sustainable management and final destination options||50.6%||30.0%||12.9%||5.9%||0.6%|
|Promotion of Environmental Education||50.6%||32.4%||13.5%||3.5%||0.0%|
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Leal Filho, W.; Salvia, A.L.; Paço, A.; Dias-Ferreira, C.; Neiva, S.; Rampasso, I.S.; Anholon, R.; de Vasconcelos, C.R.P.; Eustachio, J.H.P.P.; Jabbour, C.J.C. Assessing the Connections between COVID-19 and Waste Management in Brazil. Sustainability 2022, 14, 8083. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14138083
Leal Filho W, Salvia AL, Paço A, Dias-Ferreira C, Neiva S, Rampasso IS, Anholon R, de Vasconcelos CRP, Eustachio JHPP, Jabbour CJC. Assessing the Connections between COVID-19 and Waste Management in Brazil. Sustainability. 2022; 14(13):8083. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14138083Chicago/Turabian Style
Leal Filho, Walter, Amanda Lange Salvia, Arminda Paço, Celia Dias-Ferreira, Samara Neiva, Izabela Simon Rampasso, Rosley Anholon, Claudio Ruy Portela de Vasconcelos, João Henrique Paulino Pires Eustachio, and Charbel Jose Chiappetta Jabbour. 2022. "Assessing the Connections between COVID-19 and Waste Management in Brazil" Sustainability 14, no. 13: 8083. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14138083