Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 319–328 | Cite as

Measuring the environmental impact of waste flow management in Brazilian apartment buildings

  • Manfred FehrEmail author


As biodegradable material represents approximately 70% of household waste in Brazil, any strategy to divert appreciable waste quantities from landfills of necessity has to include valorization and recycling of this material. A societal change of attitude is required to perceive this challenge. Experiments in an urban apartment building are described that produced this change of attitude with a success factor of 80%. Divided waste collection was implemented that separated at the source biodegradable from inert material. Correct collection, handling and display procedures were established. Composting of biodegradable material was carried out under the rooftop of the building as an alternative to using it as animal feed. Half of the inert material entered the reverse logistics chain and was also diverted from the landfill. Waste related material flow through the building is completely quantified, food intake and waste production are related, diversion of both biodegradable and inert waste components from the landfill is measured and the composting process is described. The landfill diversion stands at 61%, mass reduction through the composting process is 80% and matured compost is returned to residents for use in flower cages. The system has been operational for two years and stands out as a precedent in successful decentralized household waste management supported by material flow analysis.


Biodegradable waste Decentralized composting Environmental management Divided waste processing Landfill diversion Material flow analysis Municipal solid waste Source separation Recycling Reverse logistics Waste management 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Federal University at UberlândiaUberlandiaBrazil

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