Journal Article

Cost-Benefit Assessment of Community-Based Recycling and Waste Management in Pakistan

Published on 1 March 2018

Following their 2016 Virtuous Circle paper on the circular economy in developing countries, Tearfund and the Institute of Development Studies have examined existing approaches to waste management in developing countries, with a view to replicating best practice. This cost-benefit assessment evaluates the pilot of a community-based approach in Pakistan and assesses the feasibility of implementing the same approach in other (poorer) areas.

Open burning of waste is estimated to cause 14,000 premature deaths a year in Pakistan and could account for a quarter of the nation’s reported carbon emissions, according to recent estimates. Dumped waste is also a major cause of diarrhoeal diseases. A community-based approach to waste management addresses these problems while also creating jobs. A centre piloting this approach offers ten dollars in benefits for every dollar invested in establishing it, and the centre became self-financing in its third year. This approach reduces the need for more expensive, centralised waste management facilities by up to 90 per cent. These figures are consistent with the wider success of this model across Asia.


Patrick Schröder

Research Fellow

Publication details

published by
Gower, R. and Schroeder, P.


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