One size fits all? An assessment tool for solid waste management at local and national levels

Dani Broitman*, Ofira Ayalon, Iddo Kan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


As environmental awareness rises, integrated solid waste management (WM) schemes are increasingly being implemented all over the world. The different WM schemes usually address issues such as landfilling restrictions (mainly due to methane emissions and competing land use), packaging directives and compulsory recycling goals. These schemes are, in general, designed at a national or regional level, whereas local conditions and constraints are sometimes neglected. When national WM top-down policies, in addition to setting goals, also dictate the methods by which they are to be achieved, local authorities lose their freedom to optimize their operational WM schemes according to their specific characteristics. There are a myriad of implementation options at the local level, and by carrying out a bottom-up approach the overall national WM system will be optimal on economic and environmental scales. This paper presents a model for optimizing waste strategies at a local level and evaluates this effect at a national level. This is achieved by using a waste assessment model which enables us to compare both the economic viability of several WM options at the local (single municipal authority) level, and aggregated results for regional or national levels. A test case based on various WM approaches in Israel (several implementations of mixed and separated waste) shows that local characteristics significantly influence WM costs, and therefore the optimal scheme is one under which each local authority is able to implement its best-fitting mechanism, given that national guidelines are kept. The main result is that strict national/regional WM policies may be less efficient, unless some type of local flexibility is implemented. Our model is designed both for top-down and bottom-up assessment, and can be easily adapted for a wide range of WM option comparisons at different levels.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1979-1988
Number of pages10
JournalWaste Management
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank the reviewers and editor for their helpful comments, and the Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection for its financial support.


  • Local level
  • National level
  • Source separation
  • Waste economic model
  • Waste management scheme


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