Urban Solid Waste Management Plans – Integrated Approach

Due to increasing population, changing production and consumption habits the amount and type of solid wastes non-stop increasing, besides this situation makes solid waste management more complex and difficult. Urban solid waste management which is aims to eliminate the solid wastes generated by minimizing their effects on the environment and economy. Today, dumping or burying solid wastes indiscriminately in the ground is a management concept that the whole world has abandoned or tried to abandon. All countries are in an effort to have sustainable and environmentally effective waste management systems and technologies in line with their economic power.

What is Urban Solid Waste?

The word ‘’waste’’ in its most general form is defined as ‘’ materials that the owner does not want, need or things that out of use and want to be removed by its owner’’. Solid wastes originating from homes and workplaces are defined as “Urban Solid Wastes” in other words, “Municipal Solid Wastes”. Management of municipal solid waste is under the responsibility of local governments and most municipalities.

What are the Main Strategies of Urban Solid Waste Management?

Today, dumping or burying solid wastes indiscriminately in the ground is a management concept that the whole world has abandoned or trying to abandon. All countries are to have the most environmentally efficient waste management systems and technologies in line with their economic power.

Urban solid waste management is established around 4 main strategies:

  • 1. Waste Reduction-Prevention
  • 2. Material Recycling (recycling of paper, metal, plastic, etc. packaging waste, compost)
  • 3. Energy Recovery and Thermal Conversion (bio mechanization, incineration, etc.)
  • 4. Final Disposal (Landfill)

What are the Priorities of the Urban Solid Waste Management Plan?

An ideal waste management system is an economically affordable, minimum-cost system that protects public health, minimizes the environmental impact of waste, protects natural resources. It is very difficult to meet all these priorities at the same time. The main principles that should be prioritized while planning the waste management system are as follows:

  • Environmental impacts of wastes (air, water, soil, noise, etc.) should be minimized.
  • It must meet the legal regulations and national targets.
  • A low-cost and easily accessible system should be planned.
  • Disposal and recycling facilities should be suitable for urban aesthetics and structure.
  • Environmental effects (traffic, noise, etc.) of the solid waste collection organization on the city should be minimized.
  • It should be integrated and effective planning that covers all types of waste (organic, packaging, construction and demolition, medical waste, etc.).
  • Recovery and recycling rate should be maximized.
  • It must be flexible, able to adapt to changing needs depending on time
urban planning and solid waste management

What are the Main Headings of the Urban Solid Waste Management Plan?

Urban Solid Waste Management Plans are prepared by local government authorities. These plans should be able to reveal the current situation and needs and should be prepared in a way that includes a sustainable and financially affordable approach in the short, medium, and long term.

The main headings included in the Integrated Urban Solid Waste Management Plans are as follows:

  1. Region Promotion
  2. Service Population and Population Projection
  3. Evaluation of National and Relevant International Solid Waste Legislations
  4. Current Status of Solid Waste Management
  5. Solid Waste Characterization and Percentage Distribution of Components
  6. Solid Waste Amounts and Waste Projection
  7. Setting Short, Medium, and Long Term Goals
  8. Creating Waste Management Scenarios
  9. Picking Transport System Optimization
  10. Costs of Identified Waste Recovery and Disposal Methods
  11. Location of Waste Recovery and Disposal Facilities

While preparing the scenarios, the current situation, alternative methods, facility needs, facility capacities, facility investment and operating costs, and space needs are revealed. All alternative systems include all elements such as reduction, collection, recovery, temporary storage, need for transfer, final disposal of waste. Urban solid waste management

Introduction of the Region: A detailed description of the region to be served is made. Its geographical features, location, area, vegetation, and climate are evaluated. Its socio-economic structure is revealed. The commercial and industrial structure is determined, and the industrial zones, if any, are defined in detail. How is the transportation infrastructure? What are the energy sources? such questions are posed.

Service Population and Population Projection: The population to be served is evaluated in detail. Information such as population change over the years, urban-rural population, migration data, population growth is included.

Evaluation of National and Relevant International Solid Waste Legislations: A detailed evaluation of the necessary elements of the waste management system is made in terms of the relevant legislation. These regulations form the basis of both evaluating the adequacy of the current situation and determining new strategies.

Current State of Solid Waste Management: The current collection and transportation system of the wastes, used vehicles, transfer stations, recycling, and disposal facilities are presented. The efficiency of the current system and compliance with regulations are examined in detail.


Solid Waste Characterization and Percentage Distribution of Components: Determination of waste characteristics is carried out by field studies and laboratory analyzes. Waste components (organic, paper, glass, plastic, etc.) are defined in detail through field studies repeated in different seasons. With laboratory studies, properties such as moisture content, calorific value, and density of the waste are determined.

Solid Waste Amounts and Waste Projection: The amount of waste is determined with the scale data of the collected waste and the surveys that can be made to the households. Next year’s waste amount projections are made according to population growth estimates. Urban solid waste management

Determination of Short, Medium, and Long Term Goals: The current waste management system is reviewed within the framework of the relevant legal regulations. Legal restrictions on the acceptance of biodegradable wastes to landfills, goals related to separate collection efficiency of wastes, goals related to increasing recycling rates, and goals related to reducing the amount of waste to be disposed of are taken into consideration. Measurable, realistic, and applicable short, medium and long-term targets are set in the planning period.

Creating Waste Management Scenarios: Different scenarios are created in line with the legislation and sustainable integrated waste management principles. These scenarios reveal which systems and technologies can be used to achieve the determined goals. Methods that are financially compatible with the budgets of the municipalities, compatible with the region and that can ensure the participation of the public are selected.

Collection Transportation System Optimization: The first step of waste management in municipalities starts with the installation of an economical and sustainable solid waste collection transportation system following the selected recovery and disposal method. Settlements in the region, the amount of waste generated there, the distances to recycling and disposal facilities are re-determined according to new scenarios. Transfer station needs, if any, are determined.

After determining the places where waste collection vehicles will discharge, the number and characteristics of the collection vehicles needed are reviewed. Another important issue to be addressed while planning the vehicle is to determine how the separation will be done at the source and how many types of waste will be collected separately. The most common collection model is dual collection as biodegradable waste and packaging waste. The backbone of waste management systems is a fleet of waste collection vehicles with suitable features and numbers, primarily consisting of hydraulic compacted garbage trucks with capacities ranging from 5-30 m3.


Costs of Identified Waste Recovery and Disposal Methods: Approximate initial investment costs and operating costs of the determined facilities and collection and transportation system costs are revealed.

Location Selection of Waste Recycling and Disposal Facilities: One of the most challenging stages of the facilities planned to be established is location selection. Waste is not wanted by anyone. The place to be chosen should be appropriate in terms of environmental sensitivities, economic situation, and technical characteristics, as well as acceptable by the parties. The conditions of the relevant regulations of the facilities, the transportation status, the distance to the settlement, the safety of air transport, the distance to the forest and protection areas, the geological and geotechnical situation, the topographic structure, earthquake risk, etc. The location is selected by considering many factors. Urban solid waste management

The planning of solid waste management systems is the planning of the future rather than today. It is necessary to act with the awareness and responsibility of creating the future.

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