Sustainable Waste Management in Coastal Communities

Elective Course | 4 ECTS | Course: CRD 20

Instructor: Felicitas Schneider

Course Catalog Description

About the Course

Waste management is a complex multi-disciplinary topic which has no one-fits-all solution.

Decisions should be based on legal framework, regional characteristics and available technologies. Especially related to sensitive environment such as coastal regions which often face individual challenges related to infrastructure as well as potential pollution pathways. Thus, (future) decision makers should understand the context and interaction of waste generation and regional framework, waste management technologies and measures with different issues of sustainability based on natural sciences in order to support proper policy recommendations. I would like to provide information on both – global and regional waste management. A special focus will be made on waste prevention as this is a very important step towards sustainable development. As Food Loss and Waste (FLW) contributes significantly to inefficient use of resources on a global scale, the course will provide corresponding in-depth information as well. For the course, I would like to implement different tools of knowledge transfer including presentations, field trips, discussion sections as well as group work.

Instructor

I love to share my experiences and learn from others and thus, I hope that the course will support the professional level of the students but will also inspire future generation of decision makers and civil society.

I hold a diploma degree in Civil Engineering and Water Management in Austria and worked within Waste Management Sector for 16 years as university researcher and teacher. One focus was waste prevention and due to personal experiences in 2001, I started to work on food loss and waste (FLW) prevention in particular. This was unique in those days and I am very happy that in the recent years, the issue of FLW became an important factor within discussions related to Sustainable Development Goals, climate change, sustainable diets and resilience of food systems. After finishing my doctoral thesis which deals with FLW generation and prevention in industrialised countries, I started to work at Thünen Institute in Germany in 2017. I am the coordinator of the Collaboration Initiative Food Loss and Waste launched at the Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists at G20 countries (MACS-G20). My task is to support international colleagues to develop and implement national strategies, quantification, prevention measures, monitoring systems, research and policy advice related to FLW.

Description

This course provides a general overview on waste management by defining waste by looking at sources and characteristics of different waste types. In addition, the risk potential and corresponding disposal options of waste, under consideration of the waste hierarchy (prevention, reuse, recycling, disposal), are presented. Legal aspects such as international agreements on waste export and impact of waste on the environment are discussed from a global point of view with local examples for specific issues. Waste logistics are also taught in this class. They are an important issue which is also connected to social and economic aspects. Sustainable waste management is challenging in a coastal and marine environment, especially in connection with extreme climate conditions. Issues like small-scale recycling and recovery, waste transport, marine and coastal pollution through intended and unintended waste dumping, interaction with wildlife, impact of ship cruise tourism are thus part of this course. A special focus of the course will be laid on waste prevention in general and food waste prevention specifically.

On completion of the course, a student:

  • can distinguish between waste and by-products
  • can assess the risk of a specific waste stream and decide which waste management option should be selected for sustainable treatment
  • can develop alternative options for more sustainable solutions within existing waste management systems according to waste hierarchy
  • can explain the impact of waste on the environment by using selected indicators
  • can include waste management into regional planning