Special Issue "Recycling In Emerging Economies: Practical Considerations for the Circular Economy in Fast-Growing Middle-income Cities and Countries"

A special issue of Resources (ISSN 2079-9276).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2018).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Anne Scheinberg

Guest Editor
Springloop Coöperatie U.A., Meidoornlaan 6, 8024 AX Zwolle, the Netherlands; Collaborative Working Group on Solid Waste Management in Low- and Middle-income Countries

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

You are invited to contribute to a peer-reviewed Special Issue of the young but ambitious MDPI journal Resources, to be edited by Dr. Anne Scheinberg, under the working title: “Recycling In Emerging Economies: Practical Considerations for the Circular Economy in Fast-Growing Middle-income Cities and Countries”.

The goal of this Special Issue is to bring together action research, statistics, scholarly research in the social sciences, that look at the realities or re-use and recycling in middle-income countries. This is a working document, and so feel free to comment on structure for the journal special issue and the main themes for your contributions.

The search to create better numbers for solid waste and recycling—especially, to support better solid waste management practice in low- and middle-income countries—has a historical relation to the line of projects and initiatives that produced the ERM-World bank Strategic Planning Guide, the policy drivers insights, the GTZ Informal Sector Study, the ISWM framework and baseline approach, the metrics of the Habitat Book and its evolution to the WasteAware Indicators, and most recently, the GWMO.

The WasteAware Indicators are becoming a well-used and reliable way to benchmark solid waste progress cities, but their ability to deliver performance analysis of informal and formal valorisation, re-use, waste prevention, downcycling, and beneficial re-use, especially in emerging economies, has proved limited. Governments, after all, are the managers of solid waste systems (the service chain), as well as the main setters of recycling and resource management targets, or circular economy packages. However, in countries where dumping fees remain low, most informal and formal recycling takes place at the edges of the solid waste system, and fails to show up in normal solid waste statistics. The value chains which capture and trade recyclables are outside of the solid waste system, and seldom willing to share information with government.

This leads to the proposition, that it is time to pay the same attention to re-use, recycling, and related metrics that has led to better solid waste benchmarking. Some of the reasons include:

  1. The growing importance of commitments to a Circular Economy approach to resource management, that raise the importance of and attention to recycling and other forms of recovery;
  2. The gradual spread of the idea that integration of the informal sector is important as a practical approach to increasing recycling and the measurement of recycling performance in low- and middle-income countries,
  3. The lack of appropriate metrics to evaluate effectiveness, efficiency, unit cost, and CO2 impact of value chain recycling and organics management, and especially to compare the performance of value chain and municipal initiatives; and
  4. The pressure on producers of products and packages to trace their products through the value chain and prove their levels of recycling. This is sometimes due to internal recycling targets, sometimes in response to externally imposed goals, and sometimes in response to legislative initiatives to ban certain materials (such as plastics), or to require extended producer responsibility organizations do manage the end of life of their packaging and/or electronic waste.

The thematic areas for the Special Issue are:

  1. Comparative recycling metrics—in and between countries, states, provinces, companies, materials, trade associations, EPR systems, resource and industry ministries, and so forth.
  2. Measuring and evaluating different types of private sector value chain recycling: what is in the waste stream and how is it being valorized when governments are not involved.
  3. Economics, public policies, regulations, economic and financial incentives, technologies related to “municipal recycling” (defined as driven by or legislated by government) in high- middle- and low-income countries: EPR systems, municipal recycling, industry product stewardship: what works to divert waste from landfill, how is it measured, what are the results and what are the links between measurement systems, financing, results.
  4. Recyclers and recycling institutions: census data, case studies and analyses of waste pickers, informal recyclers, private junk shops and traders, co-operatives and associations, and public sector recycling centers, MRFs, impex organizations
  5. The EU circular economy package, EPR and 3-R policies, deposit systems, technology incubators, and a variety of others: want is the motivation and desired results, how do these policies and program function, are they conceptual or practical, what kind of metrics do they propose or demand, what kinds of institutions are being indicated to facilitate the circular economy transition, what does this mean for emerging economies in particular.
  6. City case studies of informal and formal re-use and recycling in emerging economies (to follow a consistent but flexible framework and format provided by the editors):
    • BRICs + Turkey
    • Middle-income countries in South and East Asia and Pacific SIDS (Small Island Developing States)
    • Emerging economies in North and Southern Africa, Middle East, Emirates, and Indian Ocean SIDs (Mauritius, Seychelles, Maldives, etc.)
    • Latin America, Atlantic and Caribbean SIDS
    • Southern and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, former USSR

You can submit the following types of papers, as long as they fall clearly within one or more of the above-mentioned themes.

  1. A traditional article on one of the above themes. Submit an abstract and ToC in advance please.
  2. A review article. Review articles need to be proposed in advance with an abstract and ToC, since only one will be accepted, and the editors may suggest authors to combine efforts.
  3. An edited-for-journal version of a PhD or MSc thesis or a project or consultant report or grey literature document, with full referencing. Send an abstract and a PDF of the document that is the basis.
  4. Edited-for-journal versions of methodological, training, or guidance documents or manuals, with full referencing. Send an abstract and a pdf of the document that is the basis.
  5. Short notes, or other forms that work with the themes indicated above. Send an abstract, proposal, or an early version.

Here are the suggested paper length:

Type of Contribution

Pages

Words

Characters without Counting Spaces

Characters Counting Spaces

Traditonal article

10

3750

20,000

25,000

Reivew

15

5625

30,000

40,000

Edited-for-journal version of a PhD or MSc thesis or a project or consultant report or grey literature document, with full referencing

20

7500

40,000

50,000

Edited-for-journal versions of methodological, training, or guidance documents or manuals, with full referencing

15

5625

30,000

40,000

Short notes

5

1875

10,000

12,500

Dr. Anne Scheinberg
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Resources is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Working with the Informal Service Chain as a Locally Appropriate Strategy for Sustainable Modernization of Municipal Solid Waste Management Systems in Lower-Middle Income Cities: Lessons from Accra, Ghana
Resources 2019, 8(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources8010012 - 04 Jan 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Twenty years of formal private sector participation in solid waste management in Ghana has failed to deliver an increase in collection coverage and recycling rates. This article shares lessons and experiences from Accra, Ghana, a middle-income city where researchers and municipal solid waste [...] Read more.
Twenty years of formal private sector participation in solid waste management in Ghana has failed to deliver an increase in collection coverage and recycling rates. This article shares lessons and experiences from Accra, Ghana, a middle-income city where researchers and municipal solid waste managers have collaborated to modernize the municipal solid waste management system by working together to develop a locally appropriate response to the informal waste service sector. Stakeholders have used inclusive decision-making and participatory research methods to bring formal service providers to work in partnership with their informal counterparts to improve collection and recycling. The Wasteaware benchmark indicator framework has been used to assess and compare the improvements in the physical and governance aspects of the municipal solid waste management system, supplemented by statistical analysis of responses to a survey on the socio-economic contribution of the informal service providers in the city. Within two years of their inclusion, the number of informal service providers has increased by 71 percent, from 350 to 600, creating new livelihoods and contributing to poverty reduction. The informal service providers have been able to increase collection coverage from 75% to 90%, waste capture from 53% to 90%, and recycling rates from 5% to 18%, saving the municipality US$5,460,000.00 in annual operational costs. The results have influenced the decision-makers to move towards structural integration of the informal service providers into the formal waste service system. The shift towards practical, locally responsive interventions in Accra provides a positive example of sustainable waste management modernization, and key lessons for cities in similar economies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
WEEE Resource Management System in Costa Rica
Resources 2018, 7(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources7010002 - 08 Jan 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Costa Rica followed different steps in order to organise and implement a waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) management system. This paper summarises the challenges, successes, and limitations of its implementation. Two phases were needed to set up the system. The first [...] Read more.
Costa Rica followed different steps in order to organise and implement a waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) management system. This paper summarises the challenges, successes, and limitations of its implementation. Two phases were needed to set up the system. The first phase created a baseline followed by the designing of a strategy. The second phase promoted a Decree for WEEE management that prohibits discarding WEEE together with household waste, as well as the creation of a National Executive Committee with representatives of importers, consumers, and government, which will establish the quotes and treatment fees, and so on. Another outcome was the development of a strategy for the implementation of WEEE management for the country, the promotion of population awareness about their responsibility for WEEE management, and an example set up for other Latin American countries. This paper draws conclusions from the regulation and notes the required consistency with the existing national waste legislation in order to reduce approval times. Additionally, the importance of the participation of stakeholders representing different electric and electronic equipment (EEE) sectors with the purpose of obtaining consensus on agreements is highlighted. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Barriers and Motivations for Construction Waste Reduction Practices in Costa Rica
Resources 2017, 6(4), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources6040069 - 12 Dec 2017
Cited by 7
Abstract
Low- and middle-income countries lag behind in research that is related to the construction industry and the waste problems that the sector is facing. Literature shows that waste reduction and recycling have received a continuous interest from researchers, but mainly from developed countries. [...] Read more.
Low- and middle-income countries lag behind in research that is related to the construction industry and the waste problems that the sector is facing. Literature shows that waste reduction and recycling have received a continuous interest from researchers, but mainly from developed countries. Few reports from low- and middle-income countries are concerned about the reuse of masonry, concrete, and mortar in clay based building ceramics or recycling construction waste, but mostly in relation to concrete aggregates. Furthermore, few authors have described the major barriers and motivations for construction waste reduction. The objective of this paper is to report the findings on a research performed in Costa Rica with the objective to determine the barriers and motivations that the construction sector is facing to improve the management of the construction materials. The study is based on data collected in two phases. During the first phase, a survey was sent via e-mail to 419 main contractors registered at the School Federation of Engineers and Architects (CFIA). The second phase consisted of a focus group discussion with 49 professionals from the construction industry to analyse and validate the findings from the survey. Descriptive statistic methods helped to draw the conclusions. The result of the research is a comprehensive list of observed barriers and motivations for waste reduction practices in the construction sector. These are not only applicable to Costa Rica, but can be used as a guide for similar studies in other low- and middle-income countries. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Waste Municipal Service and Informal Recycling Sector in Fast-Growing Asian Cities: Co-Existence, Opposition or Integration?
Resources 2017, 6(4), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources6040070 - 11 Dec 2017
Cited by 4
Abstract
Despite being generally poorly recognized by public authorities, informal recycling remains nevertheless a major component in the waste sector, which questions the legitimacy of the official waste arrangements. A look at the current transformation in Hanoi (Vietnam), Delhi (India) and Surabaya (Indonesia) allows [...] Read more.
Despite being generally poorly recognized by public authorities, informal recycling remains nevertheless a major component in the waste sector, which questions the legitimacy of the official waste arrangements. A look at the current transformation in Hanoi (Vietnam), Delhi (India) and Surabaya (Indonesia) allows us to understand the socio-technical aspects of infrastructural choices in the management of waste generated in fast-growing Asian cities. The three cases present similar traditional recycling practices yet contrasted (non-) regulation within their waste policies. From the co-existence of a municipal waste management service with a traditional informal recycling sector, to an opposition between both, there is also a possibility of making use of the existing local practices to achieve a more sustainable system. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Historical Review of Waste Management and Recycling in South Africa
Resources 2017, 6(4), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources6040057 - 19 Oct 2017
Cited by 20
Abstract
Recycling has been taking place in South Africa for more than three decades, driven by social and economic needs. While the waste hierarchy is embedded in national policy, an extensive legislative framework has made it more and more challenging for the public and [...] Read more.
Recycling has been taking place in South Africa for more than three decades, driven by social and economic needs. While the waste hierarchy is embedded in national policy, an extensive legislative framework has made it more and more challenging for the public and private sector to remain compliant and competitive in a local and global market, and still drive waste away from landfill towards reuse, recycling and recovery. A local recycling economy, on par with many developed countries, is in part due to a large and active informal waste sector. In the absence of separation at source across South African cities and towns, informal waste pickers have been key to accessing resources which the private sector has struggled to access, due to gatekeeping by municipalities. The South African waste and recycling sector can be defined in terms of four main stages of development—“The Age of Landfilling”, “The Emergence of Recycling”, “The Flood of Regulation” and “The Drive for EPR”, and is currently standing on the brink of a fifth stage—“The future is a Circular Economy”. The low hanging fruit, the easy to collect and recycle products, has been reaped. Moving to higher diversion from landfill targets will require more investment by the private sector and by government in the future. The social, economic and environmental benefits of doing this are clear, but must be balanced against the cost that will ultimately be borne by society, as consumers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Waste Picker Organizations and Their Contribution to the Circular Economy: Two Case Studies from a Global South Perspective
Resources 2017, 6(4), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources6040052 - 27 Sep 2017
Cited by 11
Abstract
The discussion on the circular economy (CE) has attracted a rising interest within global policy and business as a way of increasing the sustainability of production and consumption. Yet the literature mostly portrays a Global North perspective. There is a diverse spectrum of [...] Read more.
The discussion on the circular economy (CE) has attracted a rising interest within global policy and business as a way of increasing the sustainability of production and consumption. Yet the literature mostly portrays a Global North perspective. There is a diverse spectrum of community-based organizations playing important roles in resource recovery and transformation, particularly, but not only, in Global South countries, providing innovative examples for grassroots involvement in waste management and in the CE. This article proposes to add a Southern lens, situated in the context of waste picker organizations, to the concept of CE. The discursive framework in this article couples ecological economy (EE) with social/solidarity economy (SSE), focusing not only on environmental sustainability but also on social, economic, political and cultural dimensions involved in production, consumption and discard. We acknowledge that grassroots movements contribute to policy making and improve urban waste management systems. The paper outlines two empirical studies (Argentina, Brazil) that illustrate how waste picker organizations perform selective waste collection services, engage with municipalities and industries, and practice the CE. The research reveals that social and political facets need to be added to the debate about the CE, linking environmental management and policy with community development and recognizing waste pickers as protagonists in the CE. Our findings emphasize a need for a change of persisting inequalities in public policy by recognizing the importance of popular waste management praxis and knowledge, ultimately redefining the CE. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Recycling in Brasil: Paper and Plastic Supply Chain
Resources 2017, 6(3), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources6030043 - 29 Aug 2017
Cited by 2
Abstract
Although recycling is considered the core of a circular economy for returning materials to the supply chain, its procedures are poorly understood. Waste recycling is considered a big source of energy saving and a promoter of CO2 recovery. Besides that, it generates [...] Read more.
Although recycling is considered the core of a circular economy for returning materials to the supply chain, its procedures are poorly understood. Waste recycling is considered a big source of energy saving and a promoter of CO2 recovery. Besides that, it generates jobs and changes markets worldwide. The Brasilian National Policy on Solid Waste (PNRS) recognizes Waste Pickers as the major social agent in the recycling process responsible for putting Brasil among the ten largest paper-recycling countries in the world. This paper presents an analysis of Brasilian recycling chains of paper and plastics and the main challenges for expanding recycling from Municipal solid waste. The research data were obtained from primary and secondary source related to the recycling supply chain of paper and of the following plastics—High Density Polyethylene (HDPE),Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE), Polypropylene(PP), Polyethylene Terephthalate(PET) and Polystyrene(PS). Enterprises of various sizes, including informal ones and WPs associations/cooperatives, were visited, in the five Brasilian geographic regions, during the years of 2013 and 2014. A nomenclature was defined for the various enterprises that operate in the Brasilian recycling chain. Each node of the plastic and paper recycling chain was described. The main bottleneck observed in these chains is the lack of continuous programs of selective collection with an emphasis on environmental education processes in the 5570 Brasilian municipalities. Several possibilities not only to promote waste recycling but also to increase the productivity of the sorting process are discussed. Full article
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