The future of sustainable water management: using a value chain analysis to achieve a zero waste society

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ABSTRACT

Zero waste is a philosophy that aims to analyze mass flow of a system and redesign it to achieve the goal of reducing waste to zero, either intrinsically or in combination with other processing facilities. A Zero Waste paradigm calls for the engineer to account for all constituents in anthropic use, have a thorough understanding of the ecosystem(s), and properly design systems to capture those materials so the waste products can be converted to a usable form with minimal environmental impact. Value Chain analysis helps enterprises innovate by accounting for all of the activities upstream, in process, and downstream of the core system. The combination of the Zero Waste and Value Chain analyses enables wastewater utilities to quantify the supply chain, in process, and downstream activities associated with the system. By combining these analyses with the principles of sustainability as criteria for performance measurement, wastewater professionals can better evaluate the benefits and costs of processing wastewater throughout the Value Chain for making more sustainable decisions. The objective of this process is to give wastewater professionals tools for communicating the value of the service provided and promote progressive thinking for waste minimization.

KEYWORDS

Value Chain analysis, Zero Waste, sustainable practices, wastewater mass/energy balance, ecoindustrial design

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