An analysis of household waste management policy using system dynamics modelling

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This paper analyses the Flemish household waste management policy. Based on historical data from the period 1991-2006, literature reviews and interviews, both mathematical and descriptive relationships are derived that describe Flemish waste collection, reuse, recycling and disposal behaviour. This provides insights into how gross domestic product (GDP), population and selective collection behaviour have influenced household waste production and collection over time. These relationships are used to model the dynamic relationships underlying household waste management in Flanders by using a system dynamics (SD) modelling approach. Where most SD models in literature are conceptual and descriptive, in the present study a real-life case with both correlational and descriptive relationships was modelled for Flanders, a European region with an outstanding waste management track record. This model was used to evaluate the current Flemish household waste management policy based on the principles of the waste hierarchy, also referred as the Lansink ranking. The results show that Flemish household waste targets up to 2015 can be achieved by the current waste policy measures. It also shows the sensitivity of some key policy parameters such as prevention and reuse. Given the general nature of the model and its limited data requirements, the authors believe that the approach implemented in this model can also assist waste policy makers in other regions or countries to meet their policy targets by simulating the effect of their current and potential household waste policy measures. © The Author(s) 2010.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-370
Number of pages19
JournalWaste Management & Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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