Keywords: divided collection, environmental education, landfill diversion, life cycle, municipal solid waste, sustainable waste management, thinking models, sustainability, environmental impact, landfill size, Brazil
The environmental impact of people-oriented MSW management
The author's research and practical experience with municipal solid waste management have shown the urgent need for new thinking models. Present paradigms are stalemate. They do not allow for flexible approaches to solving an extremely dynamic problem. This paper discusses the basic flaws in present thinking models of residents, municipal administrators and even scholars. Fundamental arguments presented on municipal solid waste relate to nomenclature, destinations, definitions, logistics, social dynamics, social assistance programs, education and employment philosophies. In each case, the consequences of the stalemate are explained in terms of the unsustainable situation of constantly growing landfills. In sequence, proactive thinking models are presented and explained that lead to drastic reduction of landfill size. Several of these models have been tested successfully in small communities and are now available for scale-up. Although of necessity the arguments and models apply directly to Brazil, the basic ideas behind the reasoning may be extrapolated.