Sustainable waste management : a decision support framework

De Beer, Thys (2013-03)

Thesis (MScEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The aim of this thesis is to address the need for sustainable development within waste management. It explores how sustainability can be assessed and used as the basis for high level decision making within waste management. Stellenbosch University (SU) was used as a case study to demonstrate how information can be gathered and used for decision support. The literature reviewed, showed a wide area of focus within which sustainability is defined and how businesses and organisations shift towards a model of corporate responsibility. The concept of sustainability was then presented within waste management. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA), were presented as management tools that could facilitate the assessment and decision making process within a sustainable waste management framework. The two management tools, Sustainable Life Cycle Analysis (SLCA) and Analytical Hierarchal Process (AHP) (branches of LCA and MCDA respectively), were used to develop a framework to be applied to SU Waste Management System. By integrating the two tools, a framework was established that could measure the sustainability of current waste management practices and provide a decision support tool. The framework was validated by applying it to the Stellenbosch University waste system. The framework that was developed delivered a set of sustainable results from which decision makers could base policy decisions. The framework then facilitated the decision making process and a sustainable waste management policy was selected. The application modelled the decision makers preferences and resulted in a policy being selected which favoured high levels of recycling and waste prevention. The results represented an approach which, when compared to the current practice, was more expensive but more environmentally friendly and socially acceptable. The findings provide an exciting basis for future research, where decisions are based on sustainable principles. The framework has potential to be expanded into other areas of management and is not limited to a university environment.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van hierdie tesis is om die behoefte aan volhoubare ontwikkeling binne afvalbestuur aan te spreek. Die tesis ondersoek hoe die volhoubaarheid in afvalbestuur bepaal kan word, en hoe dit dan gebruik kan word as basis vir beleid besluitneming binne afvalbestuur. Die Universiteit Stellenbosch (US) is as ’n gevallestudie gebruik om te demonstreer hoe inligting versamel kan word en as ondersteuning vir beleidbesluitneming gebruik kan word. Die literatuurstudie dek ’n wye veld waarbinne daar op volhoubaarheid gefokus word. Dit wys ook hoe maatskappye en organisasies na ’n model van korporatiewe verantwoordelikheid beweeg. Die konsep van volhoubaarheid word dan binne die mileu van afvalbestuur aangebied. Die Lewenssiklus Assesering (LSA) en Multi-Kriteria Besluitnemings Analise (MKBA) wat gebruik is, kan dien as bestuur hulpmiddel om die assessering van, en besluitneming binne ’n volhoubare afvalbestuur te vergemaklik. Vanuit die twee hulpmiddels, is Volhoubare Lewens Siklus Analise (VLSA) en Analitiese Hierargiese Proses (AHP), gebruik om ’n raamwerk te ontwikkel wat toegepas is op die US. Deur die twee hulpmiddels te integreer kan ’n raamwerk geskep word wat die volhoubaarheid van die huidige afvalbestuur praktyke en wat kan dien as ‘n ondersteunende hulpmiddel met die besluitnemingsprosesse. Die waardasie van die raamwerk wat ontwikkel was, het ‘n stel volhoubare resultate opgelewer, wat besluitnemers gebruik het om hul beleidsbesluite op te baseer. Die besluitnemers se voorkeure is gebaseer op die bevindinge van die VLSA en het bepaal watter beleid gekies is. Die bevindinge het ’n duurder, maar meer omgewingsvriendelike en sosiaal aanvaarbare beleid verteenwoordig. Hierdie bevindinge bied ’n opwindende basis vir toekomstige navorsingwerk, waar besluitneming op volhoubare beginsels gebaseer is. Die raamwerk het potensiaal vir uitbreiding na ander gebiede van bestuur en is nie beperk tot ’n universiteitsomgewing nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/80319
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