Proposal of Social Indicators to Assess the Social Performance of Waste Management Systems in Developing Countries: A Brazilian Case Study

  • Valeria Ibañez-ForésEmail author
  • María D. Bovea
  • Claudia Coutinho-Nóbrega
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Environmental Science book series (BRIEFSENVIRONMENTAL)


The Brazilian National Solid Waste Policy Law promotes sustainable integrated solid waste management nationally, and is committed to improve “informal” recyclable waste pickers’ socio-economic conditions. This has led municipalities to develop waste management strategies to incorporate “informal” waste pickers into the “formal” system. In order to measure the social improvement achieved by this action, it is necessary to define a set of indicators capable of quantifying the social performance of waste management systems that adapt specifically to developing countries.

In this study, a set of social impact categories, indicators and metrics capable of assessing the socio-economic and labour conditions of the different stakeholders involved in the life cycle of a municipal solid waste management (MSWM) system is proposed. Then they are applied to a case study in the city of João Pessoa, Paraíba (Brazil). João Pessoa is one of the pioneering Brazilian cities to incorporate a door-to-door selective waste collection system managed by the previous “informal” waste pickers, reorganised into associations or cooperatives of collectors of recyclable materials. Although this waste collection system has steadily expanded around the city until the present-day, it has never been analysed from a social perspective.


Waste management Social life cycle assessment Developing country Social indicator 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Valeria Ibañez-Forés
    • 1
    Email author
  • María D. Bovea
    • 1
  • Claudia Coutinho-Nóbrega
    • 2
  1. 1.Department Mechanical Engineering and ConstructionUniversitat Jaume ICastellónSpain
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversidade Federal da ParaibaJoão PessoaBrazil

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