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Success Stories for Recycling of MSW at Municipal Level: A Review


Waste management is increasingly considered one of the most critical environmental challenges on a worldwide basis. Municipal solid waste and packaging waste in specific is an important and growing waste stream. It has been widely recognized that recycling practices and in specific separation at source schemes should be adopted in order to achieve sustainable management of municipal solid waste and efficient resource use. Separation at source provides a promising option with environmental and economic benefits, as it contributes to the recovery of high quality materials with, eventually, cost savings for the waste management authorities. This paper provides a review and evaluation of all instruments, as well as strategies employed in operating waste management schemes at international level. More specifically, nineteen case studies are presented and assessed. Special emphasis was given in those best practice schemes that follow the waste hierarchical approach, namely prevention, preparing for re‐use, recycling, other recovery (e.g. energy recovery), disposal. Additionally, local policies that encourage separate collection at source of at least four waste streams (paper, metal, plastic, glass) were taken under consideration. The factors found to influence recycling performance were the implementation of kerbside waste collection schemes, the provision of economic incentives as well as the use of legal instruments. Furthermore, the level of public awareness and engagement achieved, the population size as well as the duration of the implementation of the scheme were also found to influence the effectiveness of the applied schemes.

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The authors acknowledge the European financial instrument for the Environment, LIFE+, for part financing this work in the framework of the Recycling@home project (LIFE11 ENV/GR/000950) and the ISWM-TINOS project (LIFE10 ENV/GR/000610).

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Xevgenos, D., Papadaskalopoulou, C., Panaretou, V. et al. Success Stories for Recycling of MSW at Municipal Level: A Review. Waste Biomass Valor 6, 657–684 (2015).

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  • Municipal solid waste
  • Recycling
  • Separation at source
  • Extended producer responsibility
  • Pay-as-you-throw
  • Deposit-refund
  • Landfill/incineration taxes
  • Regulatory instruments
  • Zero waste
  • Success stories