Simple tool for a complex challenge
The design of effective and sustainable waste management systems has become an essential component in enabling a circular economy. The realization of a circular economy brings environmental benefits such as less waste, reduced emissions, and protection of the earth’s natural capital. It has also contributed to poverty reduction due to its potential to create new job opportunities, businesses, and industries.
However, designing and planning diverse and integrated waste management systems that promote circularity is complex, requiring significant technical expertise due to a wide range of factors that need to be considered. These design factors include waste volume, type, and quality, facilities that can sort waste and recover materials and energy, capital expenses, operation expenses, revenue from waste collection fees and selling materials and energy, subsidies, and environmental pollutants. There is also the process of translating the operation of the waste management system into environmental, financial, economic, and social performance indicators so that decision-makers can choose which type of waste management system is best suited for their region.
As waste management is a public service, national and city governments are often responsible for deciding and administrating the waste management system. However, many policymakers and planners in developing countries in Asia lack the technical expertise required to design complex waste management systems and objectively compare each option against a common baseline. As a result, planning such systems can take a lot of effort and a long time for governments, which often leads them to default to conventional and less environment-friendly solutions, such as large waste energy incinerators.
Analytical tools that allow policymakers and planners to rapidly design and evaluate different waste management systems will enable them to explore the wide range of options that can be considered and choose a system that is best suited to their circumstances while bringing them the highest benefits at the same time.
Specific Interventions Supported
With funding from the ASEAN Australia Smart Cities Trust Fund (AASCTF), ADB has developed the ADB Waste Analytical Resource Planning Scenarios Tool (ADB WARPS Tool). This tool facilitates the planning of different waste management systems and measures their environmental, economic, and social performance. The ADB WARPS Tool automates the calculation of waste flows between various processes and generates economic and environmental results that can be used by decision-makers such as policymakers and planners. Users can quickly enter a specific waste profile, select the type of technology they want to use to deal with their waste streams, and modify policy and price conditions.
The tool offers a multi-level analysis by presenting the total system-level environmental, financial, economic, and social performance results and breaks down the results according to the type of agents selected (such as sorting, recycling, waste-to- energy). This allows the user to see how much each agent contributes to the performance of the entire waste management system. Users can also design and analyze a waste management system by undertaking five steps: creating a waste profile, selecting agents to design the system, setting the policy and price conditions, viewing the results, and visualizing the system through a Sankey diagram.
The ADB WARPS Tool was designed to simplify the process of analyzing and comparing different waste management systems in terms of economic and environmental performance. This can help policymakers and planners, who may have limited technical expertise, to design effective waste management systems. The tool is built off Microsoft Excel, a widely accessible office software, eliminating the need for more advanced applications. Users just need to download the Excel spreadsheet file.
As a decision-support tool, the ADB WARPS Tool’s results can inform governments on the most promising options. While the tool does not mean to replace the conduct of a complete feasibility study, it does provide accurate calculations to assist governments at the start of the decision-making process in making an initial comparison between different waste management system options. With this initial level of insight, governments can narrow their focus and take a more targeted approach in the feasibility study they finance to gain additional information beyond the tool’s results, which would be necessary for the final stages of decision-making and investment.
Results and Impact
To evaluate the effectiveness of the ADB WARPS Tool, the project team carried out a case study for the city of Balikpapan, Indonesia, with the support of the Indonesian Ministry of Finance (MOF). The case study measured the impacts on the economy (such as subsidy requirements and jobs created) and the environment (such as emissions of greenhouse gases, particulate matter, and unintentionally produced persistent organic pollutants), as well as the social benefits of different waste management scenarios.
The ADB WARPS Tool was able to generate useful insight into the environmental, financial, economic, and social advantages and disadvantages of 14 different waste management systems for managing waste in the city under different price and policy conditions. Each scenario is unique based on deployed technologies, policies, and financial support. It was designed to test out different waste management systems that could be considered and how certain policies could affect their performance.
The simplicity of the ADB WARPS Tool’s interface, combined with the detailed representation of waste management technology, policy, and financial conditions, offers governments a way to quickly examine potential waste management systems being considered. Once all the data for the scenarios was gathered, it took a short time (between 1–2 hours) to enter the data and generate results for each scenario. In the early stage of the case study, assumptions were entered for certain values due to some data gaps, but as soon as higher quality data was acquired, it was a simple process to enter the new data value and generate updated results.
The findings of the case study demonstrate that it would be beneficial for Balikpapan to invest in a waste management system that features sorting and recycling in the future. Not only will implementing sorting and recycling result in the lowest emissions, but it also provides more jobs, more formalized employment, more jobs for women, and has the lowest human health impacts.
The ADB WARPS Tool was able to show which type of waste management system under specific price and policy conditions would offer the most significant benefits for the Indonesian MOF. This tool’s capabilities and the case study results demonstrate that there are opportunities to use the tool to support waste management planning and decision-making in ADB’s developing member countries and beyond Asia. The system will be further expanded to over 100 types of interventions based on the initial pilot success.
A video overview on how to use the tool is available here.
AASCTF is financed by the Australian Government, managed by ADB, and implemented by Ramboll.
This impact story was published as part of the ADB Urban Financing Partnership Facility Mid-Year Report: January to June 2022.
Kristine Lucero, AASCTF