Waste and Biomass Valorization

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 237–257 | Cite as

Evaluation of the Effect of Recycling on Sustainability of Municipal Solid Waste Management in Thailand

  • S. N. M. Menikpura
  • Shabbir H. GheewalaEmail author
  • Sébastien Bonnet
  • Chart Chiemchaisri
Original Paper


Landfilling and recycling, the predominant waste management methods in Thailand have been evaluated in a life cycle perspective using a case study in Nonthaburi municipality. The major focus was to identify the effects of the recycling activities on the sustainability of the existing waste management. A set of relevant indicators has been used to evaluate the ultimate damages/effects related to environmental, economic and social aspects of waste management methods, including valorisation. “Damage to ecosystems” and “damage to abiotic resources” were considered as the most relevant indicators to assess environmental sustainability. “Life cycle cost” was used as the economic indicator. “Damage to human health” and “income based community well-being” were considered as the most relevant indicators for social sustainability assessment. The results obtained showed that recycling contributes substantially to improving overall social, economic and environmental sustainability of the waste management system. In fact, the recycling of 24 % of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) was found to compensate the negative environmental, economic and social impacts resulting from the landfilling of the remaining 76 % of MSW. Furthermore, the quantified results in relation to sustainability of recycling reflect the progress made in realizing the policy targets and policy effectiveness in Nonthaburi. Thus, the results of this study could be used to convince stakeholders involved in waste management about the overall benefits of recycling and its influences on sustainability for promoting and strengthening recycling activities in Thailand.


Municipal solid waste Recycling Sustainability Indicators Life cycle assessment 



Research grant from the Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment is acknowledged. The authors would like to thank Nonthaburi Municipal Council, sorting and recycling facilities in Thailand for providing required data.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. N. M. Menikpura
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shabbir H. Gheewala
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Sébastien Bonnet
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chart Chiemchaisri
    • 3
  1. 1.The Joint Graduate School of Energy and EnvironmentKing Mongkut’s University of Technology ThonburiBangkokThailand
  2. 2.Center for Energy Technology and Environment, Ministry of EducationBangkokThailand
  3. 3.Department of Environmental EngineeringKasetsart UniversityBangkokThailand

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