Inclusive Sanitation and Waste Management Approaches: Reducing costs, catalysing sustainable service delivery

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“By approaching sanitation and solid waste as one, opportunities to reduce costs and open buying markets increase drastically.”

There is not a single city not struggling with sanitation and waste management budgets and service delivery. It is expensive to keep existing systems functioning, let alone improve.

Costs to improve a non-environmentally friendly system into an internationally approved system are incredible. Transportation and maintenance of waste disposal sites (landfill, wastewater treatment plants) are major contributors to high running costs—key bottlenecks to sustainable business models. Further, investment costs for these sites are huge, often requiring outside financing.

What if municipalities approached sanitation and solid waste as one?

Ultimately, local stakeholders must decide what direction is needed for their own cities.  WASTE’s Smart Quantitative Urban Assessment Tool (SQUAT) can assist by providing insights to options and quick wins.  SQUAT facilitates the assessment of all stakeholders who influence the two sectors, visualising and clarifying the state of, and opportunities within, a city.

Solid waste service delivery and product development intertwines with that of sanitation (faecal sludge)—creating synergy for increased efficiency. Areas ripe for integration may include i.e. joint processing of sludge and organic wastes, intensified cooperation between implementers and organisations, joint policy development, cost-sharing, etc. Synergies can truly be found at various institutional and sectoral levels. By approaching sanitation and solid waste as one, opportunities to reduce costs and open buying-markets increase drastically.

Graphic design space
Example of a SQUAT tool visualisation.

Think-piece authored by WASTE Adviser and Solid Waste Expert, Verele de Vreede, edited by WASTE Communications Manager, Lauren Pope, featured in the Africa Report March 2022 edition.

Learn more about the SQUAT tool and our work in solid waste management, including plastics.

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