Current Situation and Progress of Municipal Solid Waste Management and 3R policy in Asian and the Pacific

Event: International Society for Industrial Ecology (ISIE) 6th Asia-Pacific (AP) conference
Date: September 11-14, 2018, at Shandong Academy of Sciences, Qingdao, China
Conference Paper

As part of the State of the 3Rs in Asia and the Pacific Project, we conducted a comparative study of 11 countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Japan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam) and a sub-region (Pacific island countries) to clarify the definition, classification, amount generated, and related 3R policies of municipal solid waste (MSW).

The comparative results show that the definition of MSW and associated waste streams varies between countries, and depends on the particular situation and context, while it is conventionally understood as solid waste that is collected and disposed of by or for municipalities. Between 2000 and 2015, total MSW generation and MSW per capita increased in most countries, with the exception of Japan, which has been on a downward trend since 2000. In contrast, recycling rates in the region significantly improved from 2000 to 2015. This is a promising development in Asia and the Pacific, suggesting that 3R-related efforts focused on waste management are being successfully implemented by a number of countries. At the same time, it appears that some countries have also set overly ambitious targets for recycling, such as Cambodia (12% in 2015 to 60% in 2020) and Viet Nam (8-15% in 2015 to 85% in 2020). Further efforts to carry out sustainable MSW management would prioritize resource productivity and waste minimization basis on “resource management perspective” going beyond the traditional “waste treatment perspective”. Also, capacities for data management and evidence-based policymaking need to be enhanced for continued progress on sustainable waste management and 3Rs.