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Exploring sustainability management systems for landfills in New South Wales

Mildren, Suzanne (2013) Exploring sustainability management systems for landfills in New South Wales. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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In this thesis I explore the emerging concept of and existing approaches for, Sustainability Management Systems (SMS), and consider their relevance and potential application to the context of landfill facilities in New South Wales. The methods I employ for this research are literature review and analysis supported by an illustrative desktop case study. The first part of my literature review provides an understanding of universal sustainability characteristics, including the three widely recognised dimensions of sustainability: environmental protection, social or community well-being, and economic viability; along with stakeholder engagement, intra and inter-generational equity, and innovation. The literature review then explores existing approaches for developing SMS, and the context of landfills in New South Wales. Through the review and analysis of existing SMS approaches in light of the New South Wales landfill context, I identify the ‘Expansion of Environmental Management Systems (EMS)’ approach as the most appropriate to follow. I develop a SMS framework based on the ‘Expansion of EMS’ approach specifically for landfills in New South Wales. The framework follows the Plan, Do, Check, Act continual improvement cycle utilised by EMS and expands the typical scope of an environmental management system at each stage of the cycle to include sustainability characteristics identified earlier through the literature review. In applying my SMS framework to a real-life New South Wales landfill in a desktop case study I provide an example of how the framework can be interpreted to design and develop a landfill sustainability management system. Overall my study demonstrates that the emerging field of SMS is indeed relevant to landfills in New South Wales and provides a framework and guidance to the waste management industry for SMS design and development.

Publication Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Supervisor: Morrison-Saunders, Angus
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