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Managing municipal solid waste from a system perspective: A comparative study of Dalian, China and Waterloo, Canada


  • Xudong Chen
  • Murray E. Haight

    (School of Planning, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada)

  • Yong Geng

    (Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenhe District, Shenyang,China)

  • Tsuyoshi Fujita

    (National Institute for Environmental Studies, 16-2 Onogawa, Tsukuba, Japan)


In China, one of the challenges on managing solid wastes is how to realize waste reduction, reuse and recycling while maintaining rapid development, leading to a demand for an Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM) approach. A practical way to improve ISWM in developing countries is to learn from successful experiences in developed countries. Hence, systematic comparisons that reflect the complexity of ISWM systems in different contexts are needed. This paper takes a system perspective to compare and contrast two cases, the Region of Waterloo in Canada and Dalian in China, exploring the reasons for the different management approaches between the two cases. The results show that in some aspects, differences between the two waste management systems are tightly linked to their respective social and economic contexts, which can hardly be changed, whereas other differences can be attributed mainly to management strategies and tools. Suggestions are provided on waste planning, the development of waste diversion programs and waste treatment industries, the design of new programs, and the role of the local government. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Xudong Chen & Murray E. Haight & Yong Geng & Tsuyoshi Fujita, 2010. "Managing municipal solid waste from a system perspective: A comparative study of Dalian, China and Waterloo, Canada," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 282-294.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:sustdv:v:18:y:2010:i:5:p:282-294
    DOI: 10.1002/sd.479

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