Integrating Solid Waste Management: A Framework for Analysis

Steven G. Thorpe



Owing to the number of potential impacts and the vast heterogeneity of state and local solid waste management programs, any careful attempt to assess the benefits and costs of solid waste management practices must begin with a fairly comprehensive organizational framework, one that is applicable to a wide range of available waste management options and that accounts for all possible impacts while taking care to avoid potential double-counting. This paper provides such a comprehensive framework by combining the traditional economic method of benefit-cost analysis with the more recent life-cycle approach found in systems analysis, resulting in a framework based on the flow of waste materials through generation, collection, processing, recovery, and/or disposal. The framework presented in this article is valuable to researchers, decision makers, and others who are interested in identifying and analyzing the large number and types of benefits and costs associated with integrated solid waste management systems.

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