Solid waste management in European countries: A review of systems analysis techniques

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In the past few decades, solid waste management systems in Europe have involved complex and multifaceted trade-offs among a plethora of technological alternatives, economic instruments, and regulatory frameworks. These changes resulted in various environmental, economic, social, and regulatory impacts in waste management practices which not only complicate regional policy analysis, but also reshape the paradigm of global sustainable development. Systems analysis, a discipline that harmonizes these integrated solid waste management strategies, has been uniquely providing interdisciplinary support for decision making in this area. Systems engineering models and system assessment tools, both of which enrich the analytical framework of waste management, were designed specifically to handle particular types of problems. Though how to smooth out the barriers toward achieving appropriate systems synthesis and integration of these models and tools to aid in the solid waste management schemes prevalent in European countries still remains somewhat uncertain. This paper conducts a thorough literature review of models and tools illuminating possible overlapped boundaries in waste management practices in European countries and encompassing the pros and cons of waste management practices in each member state of the European Union. Whereas the Southern European Union (EU) countries need to develop further measures to implement more integrated solid waste management and reach EU directives, the Central EU countries need models and tools with which to rationalize their technological choices and management strategies. Nevertheless, considering systems analysis models and tools in a synergistic way would certainly provide opportunities to develop better solid waste management strategies leading to conformity with current standards and foster future perspectives for both the waste management industry and government agencies in European Union. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1033-1050
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


  • Integrated solid waste management
  • Solid waste management
  • Sustainability
  • Systems analysis


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