Waste Recycling in a Developing Context: Economic Implications of an EU-Separate Collection Scheme

  • Amani MaaloufEmail author
  • Francesco Di Maria
  • Mutasem El-Fadel


This study assesses the economic viability of implementing a successful developed economy-based separate collection scheme in a developing economy test area while taking into consideration different influential factors. Two scenarios with different intensities of source segregated (SS) materials were simulated to compare the overall collection cost in developing versus developed economies while considering the variation in waste composition. The SS efficiencies were calculated based on a successful source separation scheme implemented in a developed economy. Scenario S1 reflects a policy towards separation of paper and packaging waste with an overall SS intensity of 13% in the test area in comparison with 25% in the developed economy. Scenario S2 considered an increase in the overall SS intensity that reached 68% in the test area in comparison with 48% in developed economy, when considering the separation of organic waste. The results showed that in the test area, an increase in SS intensity from 13% up to 68% caused a significant reduction in residual municipal solid waste but a consequent increase in the overall collection cost reaching up to ~44%. The developing economy exhibited significantly lower (63–84%) collection costs in comparison with developed economy, mainly due to significantly lower personnel cost. Variation in waste composition caused a major difference in the overall collection cost between developing and developed economies, depending on waste density, collection vehicles load, and compaction ratio. For instance, the collection of low-density waste (e.g. light packaging) resulted in lower fuel consumption and collection cost (up to 83%) in developing economies in comparison with higher fractions in developed economies.


Waste separation Waste collection 3R concept Economic assessment Developing context 



This study is supported through joint funding from the National Council for Scientific Research (NCSR) and American University of Beirut (AUB). Special thanks are extended to Dar Al-Handasah (Shair & Partners) for its support to the graduate programs in Engineering at AUB.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amani Maalouf
    • 1
    Email author
  • Francesco Di Maria
    • 2
    • 3
  • Mutasem El-Fadel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringAmerican University of BeirutRiad El-Solh, BeirutLebanon
  2. 2.LAR Laboratory, Department of EngineeringUniversity of PerugiaPerugiaItaly
  3. 3.CRIC ConsortiumJadavpur UniversityKolkataIndia

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