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de Kraker, J., Kujawa-Roeleveld, K., Villena, M. J., & Pabon-Pereira, C. (2019). Decentralized Valorization of Residual Flows as an Alternative to the Traditional Urban Waste Management System: The Case of Penalolen in Santiago de Chile. Sustainability, 11(22), 26 pp.
Abstract: Urban residual flows contain significant amounts of valuable nutrients, which, if recovered, could serve as input for the own city needs or those of its immediate surroundings. In this study, the possibilities for decentralized recovery of nutrient rich residual flows in Santiago, Chile, are studied by means of a case study considering technical and socio-economic criteria. In particular, we calculate circularity indicators for organic matter (OM), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) and cost-benefits of household and community on-site technological alternatives. Kitchen waste (KW) and garden residues (GR) as well as urine were considered as system inputs whereas urban agriculture, municipality green, or peri-urban agriculture were the considered destinations for nutrients recovered. The technologies studied were anaerobic digestion, vermicomposting, and composting, while urine storage and struvite precipitation were considered for nutrient recovery from urine. Material flow analysis was used to visualize the inputs and outputs of the baseline situation (the traditional urban waste management system), and of the different household and municipality resource recovery scenarios (the decentralized valorization systems). Our findings show that decentralized valorization of KW and GR are a clear win-win policy, since they can not only produce important environmental benefits for the city in the long run, but also important cost savings considering the landfill fees and residues transportation of the current centralized waste management system.