A Systems Approach to Materials Flow in Sustainable Cities: A Case Study of Paper

This study develops a modelling framework within which the effects of technology choice and policy on the sustainability of cities may be assessed. A life cycle accounting system for environmental impacts is combined with systems analysis, to represent the flows of resources into cities, the wastes and pollution generated and the technological choices available in an urban environment. The approach is demonstrated through a case study of the demand for paper and management of wastepaper. The case study questions the applicability for paper of the accepted 'hierarchy' of waste management techniques; incineration imposes lower environmental costs than recycling, and consequently lower total costs under some circumstances.