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About UNEP
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United Nations Environment Programme
Division of Technology, Industry and Economics
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Newsletter and Technical Publications
<Municipal Solid Waste Management>

Sound Practices
Overview of the Sound Practices section

1.1.2 Criteria for evaluating alternatives

For each technology or policy under consideration, decision makers should ask a number of questions designed to facilitate comparison of the available alternatives. It is not necessarily easy to answer these questions, but attempting to answer them will often shed light on particular points that need to be resolved before a well-informed decision can be made.

 

  • Is the proposed technology likely to accomplish its purpose in the circumstances where it would be used? More specifically, is it technologically feasible and appropriate, given the financial and human resources available?
  • Focusing on the financial aspects of the practice, is it the most cost-effective option available?
  • What are the environmental benefits and costs of the practice?
    Could the environmental soundness of the proposed practice be significantly enhanced by a small increase in costs? If so, do the environmental benefits justify budgeting for these costs?
    Conversely, would it be possible to significantly reduce the cost of the practice with only a small detriment to environmental soundness? If so, should that cost-reducing option be chosen, perhaps with the aim of more fruitfully investing societyÕs resources in environmental quality improvement or toward other ends?
  • Is the practice administratively feasible and sensible?
  • Is it practical in the given social and cultural environment?
  • How would specific sectors of society be affected by the adoption of this technology or policy? Do these effects promote or conflict with overall social goals of the society?

These are questions that need to be answered in the specific context where they are raised. As such, the Source Book can ask these questions about the practices it discusses, but usually cannot make definitive judgments about them that apply in all situations.

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