Introduction of the circular economy within developing regions: A comparative analysis of advantages and opportunities for waste valorization.


Department of Theoretical and Applied Sciences, University of Insubria, Via G.B. Vico, 46, Varese 21100, Italy. Electronic address: [Email]


The introduction of effective solid waste management strategies in developing countries should be considered for improving sustainability at global level. Many barriers should be overcome, concerning the introduction of environmental policies, effective investments, social inclusion and public awareness, which are significant issues in low-middle income countries. The Circular Economy could represent the answer for improving current solid waste management activities worldwide, since denote the principle of waste valorization and recycling for boosting developing economies. This paper is focused on this theme, analyzing main opportunities for improving the current state of solid waste management in developing big cities. The solid waste management of two countries are reviewed: Romania is the emerging country where Circular Economy is becoming a future objective due to economic aids and strength regulations which the European Union (EU) established for the nations forming parts the alliance; as a comparison, Bolivia is reported for evaluating main differences founded for developing recycling systems in a no-EU country. These two case studies could be of interest for highlighting main pros and cons of the participation into a wide organization like the EU for introducing in short terms Circular Economy principles. Moreover, a theoretical Circular Economy model for developing big cities in low-middle income countries is described within the study for effectively comparing which chances can spread for these countries as regard municipal solid waste exploitation. Despite the economic level, Romania and Bolivia are both facing with many solid waste management issues although in different magnitude. For the Romanian case study, it is visible how it cannot achieve the European goals for 2020 due the need of change in public recycling behavior. Bolivia, instead, represents the case where international aids and new investments are required, considering the informal sector into the formal management system as a real opportunity for improving local recycling rate. In conclusion, the comparison suggests how external supports led to implement the principles of the Circular Economy within a developing region. The model of Circular Economy proposed is recommended for developing big cities in order to advance a new form of safe employment, encouraging the activities that are still in action (i.e. informal sector) and boosting the principles of sustainable development.


Circular economy,Developing countries,European framework,Recycling behavior,Solid waste management,Sustainability,