(Re)defining waste

MADE Student Project

This research provides an analysis and overview of the tools available to a municipal government to design a governance strategy aimed to enhance the circularity of an urban system. This analysis is performed by means of sources found in literature and by comparing two case studies: Bucaramanga and Amsterdam. Bucaramanga is chosen due to its current solid waste challenge as a result of the problems caused by the local sanitary landfilling site. Amsterdam, on the other hand, is taken as a best practice. From the analysis of Amsterdam lessons are derived that are considered valuable for other urban areas aiming for a higher level of circularity. Additionally, a framework is provided to assess and quantify the circularity of an urban system. By means of the selected circularity indicators in this framework, the level of circularity of the two case studies could be quantified and compared. It is argued that this framework provides a valuable first assessment of circularity and is suitable for both data-rich and data-poor urban areas. It is concluded that the current urban metabolism in terms of municipal solid waste management of Bucaramanga is highly linear. Furthermore, the objectives and activities as currently formulated by the municipal government of Bucaramanga are considered to be too general to tackle this challenge effectively. Lessons obtained from Amsterdam and derived from the performed scenario analysis and governance research are provided and are argued to be valuable to Bucaramanga in constructing a governance strategy towards circularity. Generally, this research provides a number of tools and recommendations that can be used for the analysis and enhancement of circularity in MSW management. By doing this is it contributes to reducing the risk on environmental and public harm as a result of inadequate MSW management. Additionally, the opportunities and limitations of transitions towards a circular economy are explored, providing lessons that can be used by urban systems interested in this transition.

Author: Sya Hoeke

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