Analysing plastic waste flow across different urban landscapes. A case study from Bandung, Indonesia

Auteur Giulia FRIGO
Directeur /trice Claudia Binder
Co-directeur(s) /trice(s) Christian Zurbrugg
Résumé de la thèse

With an ever-increasing population and growing consumption, plastic waste management has

become one of the most challenging problems in Indonesia. Because of its inadequate and

insufficient infrastructure for disposing and managing waste, the majority of plastic waste

generated in the archipelago is burned or uncollected. As a consequence of the local

government’s inability to provide municipal waste services to a growing population, local

actors have been informally engaging in waste management, creating a long and fragmented

supply chain of formal and informal interactions. Due to the system’s fragmentation, there is

little reliable data on plastic waste flow at the local level.

In Indonesia, rapid urbanisation resulted in urban sprawl and fragmented urban planning,

causing unequal access to waste disposal services within cities. This is relevant as

socioeconomic factors, such as income, and urban planning features have an impact on plastic

consumption and disposal methods. Recycling and collection rates as well as disposal choices

might thus differ considerably according to the socio-spatial characteristics of the city.

However, research on plastic waste and material flow is generally based on data on a

macroscale level. The majority of Urban Metabolism studies analyses flow at the regional or

city level, without considering differences within the system. As a result, cities are frequently

regarded as homogeneous and a-spatial entities. Taking Bandung (West Java Island, Indonesia)

as a case study, this PhD thesis aims to quantify plastic waste flow in different neighbourhoods

of the city, addressing the hypothesis that specific socio-spatial characteristics can be

associated with a specific flow of plastic.

The analysis is subdivided into three main steps. The first consists of a plastic Material Flow

Analysis (MFA) in different neighbourhoods of Bandung with different socio-spatial

characteristics. The analysis includes the identification of stakeholders involved in the waste

management system and the quantification of plastic flow and stock. As data can be missing

or unreliable, this will be complemented by a geo-survey with households and stakeholders.

The second step comprises a socio-spatial analysis which aims to explore the possible relations

between socio-spatial characteristics and plastic flow. This part will deepen the MFA model as

it will identify hotspots of mismanaged and recycled plastics within the neighbourhoods. The

third step concerns the development of a methodological approach that can be generalized

to other cities in developing countries. This part aims to provide a guiding framework for

researchers and policymakers to assess plastic waste flow from a systemic perspective and

transform the knowledge gained in steps 1 and 2 into action.

This PhD project supports the transition towards a more sustainable waste management in

cities in developing countries, by creating new knowledge that is academically and socially


Statut au milieu
Délai administratif de soutenance de thèse 2026
URL https://www.linkedin.com/in/giulia-frigo-9ba529140/