Post D

Developing and nations do not have the appropriate framework or authoritative body to cope with their organic waste streams. Thus, waste organic becomes the responsibly of local municipalities through a diverse range of coexisting subsystems this is shown through the local lens of China. Developed countries, who have the infrastructure, resources and technologies to achieve large-scale organic waste reduction are challenged by the complexities of the system and subsystems in which the organic waste stream operate.

China is an ideal case study where the separation between municipal and state is far greater because of an underlying neglect of a state-wide waste management plan. This creates a vast need for organic waste management on the local level; meaning other mechanisms that involve individual actors to process local waste need to be employed. Chinese population growth has coincided with the vast expansion of their economy. There has been the development of a sizeable middle-class which contributes to China’s ever increasing waste production.This combined with urban expansion has also furthered an unprecedented increase in the amount of solid and organic waste. To combat the ever-expanding gap in a rapidly developing society an ‘informal’ sub system has been created, comprising of individual agents whom deal with waste management in the ‘informal sector’ within “all levels and at every stage of the waste management stream”(D. Zhang et al. 2011).  Chinas wast management system deals predominantly with “informal” sector, with “twice as many people in the informal sector as those in the formal sector (World Bank, 2005).” Displaying that with out the appropriate frame work it becomes the responsibility of individual agents and municipalities to process their organic waste.


Approximately 30% of the generated MSW was not collected in 2006 (see Fig. 1) (D. Zhang et al. 2011)

Reducing food waste losses is attracting growing public and international attention among developed countries, and is becoming largely excepted to “contribute to abating interlinked sustainability challenges” including “food security, climate change, and water shortage”. Organic waste, or the clever reuse and distribution of it, is a testament to a system’s ability understand complex systems and communicate effectively and between governing bodies and stakeholders.

Actions to improve organic waste reduction need to be tailor made to suit the complex system it operates within. As the food supply chain becomes increasingly complex, communication and transparency are key in establishing collaborations to combat the issue. differing societies are challenged by differing systems and subsystems both for obtaining and distributing food and the disposal or processing of the organic waste it creates. (as seen in fig. 2)

Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 8.05.35 PM.png

south Korea’s government successfully understood the complexities of their organic waste stream through the ‘Food Waste-to-Resource Plan’ in 1998 which was established to take “comprehensive measures to reduce discharge of food waste by more than 10% and recycle more than 60% of the discharged food waste as resources”(M. Bagherzadeh et al. 2014) through the introduction of green bins for commercial and residential use. later paired with the  ‘Enforcement Decree of the Waste Control Act’ ( 2004) which made it mandatory for food waste processing facilities to undergo regular inspections and report the status of processed organic waste. as well as new regulations surrounding the installation of new facilities. as a result, “95.3% of food waste generated (12 905 ton/day) was recycled as animal feed and compost in 2011.”(M. Bagherzadeh et al. 2014).

With such promising results from previous policies, South Korea’s government decided to go ahead with the ‘Master Plan for Food Waste Reduction'(2010) a new policy that further pushed for greater food waste goals and its correlation to the green growth sector. The policy’s main goal was to introduce a “volume-based food waste fee system” where the “levy is borne by dischargers”(M. Bagherzadeh et al. 2014) of all 114 local governments in urban areas. The government Trialled a RFID system to measure food waste in bins through a piloted program in 2012 of “490 000 households” and “recorded an on average 25% reduction in food waste”(M. Bagherzadeh et al. 2014). such reductions in organic waste are a testament to a system’s ability understand and communicate effectively and between governing bodies and stakeholders.

Developing nations are unable to achieve widespread organic waste reduction because they lack the necessary framework and authoritative body instead it is up to individual agents and municipalities to manage their own waste streams as seen in China. Developed nations such as  South Korea show how through effective communication and the appropriate infrastructure, resources and technology large-scale organic waste reduction is achievable.


J. Gustavsson, C. Cederberg, 2011, Global Food Losses and Food Waste, viewed June 20 2017, <>

D. Zhang, S. Tan, R. Gersberg, ‘Municipal solid waste management in China: Status, problems and challenges’, Journal of Environmental Management, vol 91, issue 8, viewed 20 june 2017 <>

2005, ‘World BankWaste Management in China: Issues and Recommendations’, Urban Development Working Papers, East Asia Infrastructure Department.

M. Bagherzadeh, M. Inamura and H. Jeong (2014), ‘Food Waste Along the Food Chain’, OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Papers, No. 71, pp. 13- 15, viewed 20 June 2017,  <>



2 thoughts on “Post D”

  1. Interesting read about solutions needing to be tailor made. My last post looked at an articled comparing waste management of Japan and the UK. Something I noticed was that some countries had different definitions of organic waste making it even harder to compare countries.


  2. Hi Felix,

    super interesting post you wrote – for me specifically as I was thinking a lot about the waste system back in Germany during the semester connecting links to the input from our class. I realised for me personally that I have not really an idea about how waste management is working in different countries than Germany. Getting an insight into more countries therefore was very interesting for me.

    During my literature review, I also came across the issue of the municipal waste treatments which can differ a lot sometimes. I had the very funny incident in Germany when I visited a friend of mine that they separate their waste by its shape, so it was two bins – round material and flat material. I think this municipal treatment, on the one hand, is quite good, because different areas are able to develop a specific system for themselves – e.g. in regards to the infrastructure or as seen in the ‘Nature’s Treasure’ review. On the other hand just because they have the ability to use the potential it does not mean that they are really keen to do so. This can have different reasons, like a lack of awareness, not enough funding or policies. In the end, I think the state has to make smart decisions by passing the right legislations, which in the end has a positive effect on the municipal waste management systems.

    Also, your post is a nice example for picturing systems 😉

    All the best!


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