Integrated organic waste management: advancing socio-environmental policies for local development in Diadema, Brazil




Yates, Julian S.

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Integrated organic waste management, based on the door-to-door collection and decentralised processing of organic waste for urban agriculture, can be conceptualised as a socio-ecological process of re-circulating environmental amenities for social equality and environmental sustainability. In this thesis, a framework for participatory integrated waste management is presented, based on the findings of an empirical study carried out in the Brazilian city of Diadema, in 2008. The results reveal that the capacity exists for the collection and processing of organic waste, while civil society is sufficiently mobilised to ensure a reliable supply of good quality food waste. The quantity and quality of the resulting fertiliser helps enhance community food security through direct production for self-provision, reciprocal distribution networks, and increased income generation. Barriers include conflict over land and insecure political support. Such insecure support is characterised by the paradox of Brazilian politics, whereby rhetorical support for social policies contrasts their neoliberal implementation. This thesis addresses the ways in which the national political paradox affects the potential for integrated organic waste management in Diadema, paying particular attention to the need for combined social and environmental policies, the political culture of project implementation, the rhetoric of public participation versus neoliberal policy enforcement, and the contested nature of deliberative decision-making spaces. The thesis concludes with suggestions for progressive policy reform, such as a remuneration agreement with the recyclers and firm land tenure arrangements with the gardeners.



Waste management, Urban agriculture, Socio-environmental policy, Brazil, Urban development