Sustainability (Apr 2021)

Converting Municipal Waste to Energy through the Biomass Chain, a Key Technology for Environmental Issues in (Smart) Cities

  • Catalin Vrabie

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 13, no. 4633
p. 4633


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Cities around the world should prioritize the management of municipal solid waste (MSW). For this to be effective, there is a strong need to buildup a complex system that involves social, economic, and environmental processes, leading to a supply chain (SC). The actors involved in dealing with MSW—from suppliers, collectors, distributors, industries, and managers—should be engaged in strategic planning. This paper focuses on alternative energy solutions and uses existing SC models of managing MSW, as well as the existing literature, to identify successful stories in cities like Bergen and Tønsberg in Norway, London in UK and Barcelona in Spain and draw a conceptual framework for city officials in Romanian municipalities (but not only) to innovate—and convert MSW in biogas to be used in delivering public services, i.e., public transportation. The article shows that when the innovation is accepted and well implemented by all actors, the benefits for the citizens and the municipality are considerably higher than by using conventional methods of collecting and depositing MSW. The proposed approach is also relevant for implementing the EU environment policy, where delays are usually observed (as the case for Romania).