Document Type

Article

DOI

doi:10.3390/systems3030133

Publication Date

2015

Abstract

Waste management is a complex task involving numerous waste fractions, a range of technological treatment options, and many outputs that are circulated back to society. A systematic, interdisciplinary systems management framework was developed to facilitate the planning, implementation, and maintenance of sustainable waste systems. It aims not to replace existing decision-making approaches, but rather to enable their integration to allow for inclusion of overall sustainability concerns and address the complexity of solid waste management. The framework defines key considerations for system design, steps for performance monitoring, and approaches for facilitating continual system improvements. It was developed by critically examining the literature to determine what aspects of a management framework would be most effective at improving systems management for complex waste systems. The framework was applied to food waste management as a theoretical case study to exemplify how it can serve as a systems model for complex waste systems, as well as address obstacles typically faced in the field. Its benefits include the integration of existing waste assessment models; the inclusion of environmental, economic, and social priorities; efficient performance monitoring; and a structure to continuously define, review, and improve systems. This framework may have broader implications for addressing sustainability in other disciplines.

 
 

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