Routledge is pleased to share with you our author Q&A session with Miriam Otoo and Pay Drechsel, their new title Resource Recovery from Waste!
The book features a foreword by Guy Hutton, Senior Advisor at UNICEF, and previously a Senior Economist at the World Bank, and an epilogue by Professor Jaideep Prabhu, Professor of Indian Business and Enterprise at the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge, UK, and author of Jugaad Innovation (Wiley, 2012).
Humans generate millions of tons of waste every day. This waste is rich in water, nutrients, energy and organic compounds. Yet waste is not being managed in a way that permits us to derive value from its reuse, whilst millions of farmers struggle with depleted soils and lack of water. This book shows how Resource Recovery and Reuse (RRR) could create livelihoods, enhance food security, support green economies, reduce waste and contribute to cost recovery in the sanitation chain.
About the book and the subject area:
Congratulations on the publication of your book Resource Recovery from Waste. What do you want your audience to take away from the book?
Miriam: That waste can offer multiple values for society and the environment and this not only in developed countries. There are many inspiring cases reported from all parts of low- and middle-income countries, which can go far beyond social business models. We tried to compile and describe in detail a range of such cases and derived business models in this book which has over 800 pages and we call internally the “catalogue”.
What audience did you have in mind whilst putting this book together?
Miriam: First of all students and academia coming from civil engineering or business development, interested in the other sector, but also entrepreneurs and policy makers for ideas. In general, all those who like to understand more about the saying ‘Where there's muck, there's brass (money)’.
What makes your book stand out from its competitors?
Pay: There are many books on RRR technologies and some also show some cost figures, but books which try to analyse RRR from a business perspective are only emerging through the increasing attention to the Circular Economy. Also business books in general hardly touch the waste or sanitation sectors, and certainly not in low- and middle-income countries. Finally, we tried to be rather comprehensive by not only looking at municipal solid waste, but also wastewater, fecal sludge and agro-industrial waste, and at nutrients, water and energy as resources to be recovered.
Is there one piece of research included in the book which surprised you or challenged your previous understanding of the topic?
Pay: Several case studies appeared fascinating, like those on trading wastewater against freshwater which cities might do on a regular base (like in Iran) or on demand (like in Spain). In the latter case, the investment in top-end wastewater treatment capacity appears very high during years without water shortage, and the plants might not even be used, but once there is a severe drought, the city is prepared and can prevent damage to the economy and livelihoods worth millions of Euro. Climate change adaptation and circular economy are going here hand in hand.
Pay, having been involved in a number of publications with Taylor and Francis, what do you like about publishing with Routledge, and what has encouraged you to continue working with us?
Pay: I worked also with other publishers, and Routledge provides the best collaboration with us editors or authors especially once the hard work starts, means after the manuscript is handed in. There is a strong mutual commitment to aim at the best product possible with several rounds of careful checks and indexing. Moreover, as scientists we have to publish these days open-access and Routledge is very supportive.
More About Miriam Otoo and Pay Drechsel
Miriam Otoo is a Research Economist, leading the Research Group on Resource Recovery and Reuse at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).
Pay Drechsel is a Principal Researcher at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), leading IWMI’s Strategic Program, on Rural-Urban Linkages and the related Research Flagship of the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE).
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