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.
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