Newsletter and Technical Publications
<Municipal Solid Waste Management>
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
- 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
- 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.