Assessment of municipal solid waste collection in Bolivia: Perspectives for avoiding uncontrolled disposal and boosting waste recycling options

Navarro Ferronato, Grecia Paola Portugal Alarcón, Edith Gabriela Guisbert Lizarazu, Vincenzo Torretta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Solid waste open dumping is a big issue in the developing world. Environmental and social impacts due to this practice affect population health, increasing the spread of diseases and child mortality. The safe collection of waste is the first step for reducing these impacts. This research assesses households’ waste collection in a Bolivian developing city with the aim to find a solution to fostering waste safe disposal and recycling. The novelty of the study consists in implementing field analysis together with the use of geographic information systems and the life cycle assessment approach where the lack of data is challenging. Following the results of the research, the system optimization, compared to the current scenario, implies that: (1) collection distances increase by 8%, while the selective collection increases them by 27.8%; (2) the collection coverage increase from 51% to 94% and selective collection switch from zero to 6.7%; (3) about 75% of CO2-eq emissions are reduced, as well as the eutrophication potential (about 55%); (4) recycling reduces the human toxicity potential of 260% and depletion of abiotic resources of 30%; (5) finally, the cost per ton of waste collected reduces from 36.2USD t−1 to 26.5USD t−1, and rises to 39.7USD t−1 if the selective collection is applied. The research demonstrates how waste collection optimization can be implemented obtaining enormous benefits in developing cities. The methods and outcomes presented can be of reference for policymakers and stakeholders of the developing world for addressing safe collection toward sustainable development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105234
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the NGO Swisscontact for the support during the field research, the NGO COOPI – Cooperazione Internazionale for supporting the drafting and the publication of the article, and the Municipal Autonomous Government of Viacha for providing the data and allowing the implementation of the analysis.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • Developing countries
  • Geographic information systems
  • LCA
  • Open dumps
  • Selective collection
  • Waste mismanagement


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