Construction and demolition waste (CDW) and municipal solid waste (MSW) are the waste flows mostly generated at a global level. In developing countries, most of these waste streams are disposed of in open dumps. Policy-makers should be informed in which priorities should be established in order to improve the quality of the environment. The current research compares the environmental impacts generated by the MSW and CDW management system of La Paz (Bolivia). The aim is to evaluate (1) which environmental impact indicators are more important per waste flow and (2) if recycling can be considered a good option for mitigating such environmental footprint. A life cycle assessment (LCA) of the formal MSW management and the CDW mismanagement (i.e., open dumping) were conducted. The analysis of the management system (2019) is compared with future developments in recycling that counts with the support of an international cooperative project financed by the Italian cooperation. Results reported that, at a municipal level, CDW mismanagement contributes more than 60% to the freshwater aquatic ecotoxicity, which represents the most relevant impact generated by this waste stream. Recycling allows achieving avoided impacts higher than the ones produced for three of six environmental impacts, suggesting MSW and CDW recovery as an important option for preventing environmental degradation. The research is the first attempt to highlight the importance of organizing appropriate CDW management systems into an integrated waste management scheme for mitigating environmental impacts in developing cities.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This publication was produced with the financial support of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation in the frame of the project “LaPazRecicla. Integrated approach to the waste management in Bolivia: development of new technologies to foster circular economy in the municipality of La Paz”–AID 011908. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Agency.
The authors thank the Municipal Secretary of Environmental Management of the Autonomous Municipal Government of La Paz and the Italian non-governmental organization COOPI, La Paz field office, for their cooperation in implementing the research within the framework of the project “LaPazRecicla. Integrated approach to the waste management in Bolivia: development of new technologies to foster circular economy in the municipality of La Paz”, led by COOPI.
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.
- Circular economy
- Developing countries
- Environmental indicators
- Latin America
- Open dumping
- Sustainable development