DESWAM | Decentralized Solid Waste Management


Due to continuous high population growth and rapid economic development in urban areas, many public, private and informal sector service providers in cities in developing countries are unable to cope with increasing volumes of solid waste, especially in poor and low-income areas.

Regular and safe disposal of solid waste is the basis for hygiene and prevention of diseases and hence the foundation for any development activities oriented at poverty alleviation through improvement of health.

BORDA, along with partner organizations EXNORA (India), Balifokus and BEST (Indonesia) have demonstrated that decentralized solid waste management can be managed successfully in urban areas where residents have an explicit demand for additional solid waste disposal services. This is often the case in urban areas where conventional and informal service providers are unable to cope with increasing amounts of solid waste.

The Challenge

Solid Waste Management- a growing challenge for cities

  • 760.000 tons of solid waste produced by urban households in 1999
  • In 2025, it is estimated that 52% of the world‘s population live in cities and produce 1.8 million tons of solid waste per day.
  • In many Asian cities only 30-80 % of total household waste is collected by private and public collection services.
  • Private waste collection services mainly focus on medium and high-income residential areas, whose waste often contains a higher concentration of potentially valuable recyclables.
  • Due to non-availability of collection services, residents of low-income areas increasingly bury, burn or dump their waste in remaining open spaces within settlements.
  • Final disposal sites are not well managed.
  • Widespread unecological disposal of solid waste.

Good Practices

Improved Decentralized Solid Waste Management must address the following aspects:

    • Creates awareness about good solid-waste management practices
    • Creates awareness and understanding of different roles between different stakeholders
    • Establishes a multi-stakeholder service approach that involves households, private sector as well as public sector service providers
    • Strengthens the specific capacities of stakeholders involved in solid waste management
    • Improves information, education & communication of and between stakeholders
    • Improves management at the waste source level (separation)
    • Waste collection from households (cash & carry / bring systems that combine residual and recyclables)
    • Intermediate disposal (integrate sorting and separation within transfer stations)
    • Final separation of waste before final disposal on dump sites
    • Employing the “3 R” approach: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    Good Practices

    • Information, education and communication (IEC) programs launched for different stakeholder levels that focus on the “3 R” approach: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
    • Introduction of "Good Practices" such as:

    ·         General reduction of solid waste

    ·         Separation of waste (organic, recyclables, non-recyclables) in special "separation stations"

    ·         Promotion of recycling techniques such as composting

    ·         Promotion of efficient and sustainable collection services

    Improving collection practices of solid waste

    Training of scavengers

    • Supporting civil society organizations to run efficient waste collection services
    • Facilitating cooperation between private and public sector service providers
    • Introducing innovative waste collection service schemes with targeted high participation of stakeholders

    Material Recovery and Separation
    Waste separation can be carried out at different levels:

    • at household level
    • at solid waste transfer stations
    • at final solid waste disposal dumps

    Capacity & Awareness Building

    Capacity building and awareness building measures are designed and facilitated for different stakeholders:
    Private households, volunteers, school children, waste collectors, municipality departments, NGOs, scavengers Macro level