Inappropriate waste collection systems are a significant threat to public health. Collection systems should be customized to the local needs to be successful. The waste composition, the different waste management technologies available in the area, and the presence of informal collectors are all aspects that should be considered in the design of an appropriate collection system. Appropriate containment of waste prior to collection is also important.

Often times, the improvement of a collection system should be accompanied by educational campaigns to generate behavioral changes in the population associated to the collection. National standards for collection systems must be set, including criteria for: performance, reporting, safety, cost, and penalties for non-compliance with the law. The latter of which, is a key aspect for the successful execution of the plan.

In less fortunate cases, inhabitants in communities feel helpless when they observe mountains of garbage in their streets and find no help from their government to collect the waste. Consequently, uncontrolled burning of waste is often observed, help from experts is sought, periodic assemblies with the government are pursued…. and the problem remains unresolved. Appropriate methodologies for waste management, collection systems in particular, in these urban and their surrounding communities are needed.


  1. What are the steps needed to improve the design and implementation of waste collection systems in developing countries?
  2. What aspects influence the design of an improved collection system?
  3. Why is it that we often find that a collection system design that seems appropriate fails when implemented?
  4. What is the most popular commonality between the collection systems in developing countries?
  5. How could collection systems in these areas be improved?
  6. What are the options available to communities with low budgets?
  7. What can residents do when dealing with a government that does not provide appropriate waste collection service to manage the waste?
  • Linda Godfrey

    Principal Scientist within the Council for Scientific and Industrial Researchís (CSIR)

    Dr Linda Godfrey is a Principal Scientist within the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research�...
  • Maria Tsakona

    International Solid Waste Management Consultant

    Maria Tsakona is an International Solid Waste Management Consultant and Product Manager at D-Waste. ...
  • Sanjay Gupta

    Sanitation & Waste Management Expert

    Dr. Sanjay K Gupta works at Skat Consulting Ltd. on Urban Services including water, sanitation, wast...
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