Tackling the “last mile” problem in renovation waste management: A case study in China

Zhikang Bao, Weisheng Lu*, Jianli Hao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Solid waste generated from building renovation, called “renovation waste” in this study, represents a major waste management problem. A particular difficulty is sourcing renovation waste arising sporadically from discrete sites for central processing. This can be characterized as a “last mile” problem in renovation waste management (RWM). This study reports good practice for dealing with the RWM last mile problem in a city in China. We conduct qualitative research comprising site investigations and interviews, organized in an in-depth case study. We discover that the city effectively solved the last mile problem by developing a multi-layer, nested waste management system, empowered further by various smart technologies and concerted collaboration from multi-stakeholders coordinated by a determined government. Nevertheless, the longevity of the RWM is contingent on confronting several challenges, including (a) achieving cost and benefit balance, (b) defining clearer standards and policies, and (c) raising stakeholders' awareness of waste management. A general RWM strategy is recommended to establish fluent channels through which to source and qualify renovation waste for central treatment. The study delves into the much neglected world of RWM and provides a valuable reference for tackling similar problems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number148261
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date9 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2021


  • Construction
  • Last mile problem
  • Renovation waste
  • Waste management
  • Waste management system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


Dive into the research topics of 'Tackling the “last mile” problem in renovation waste management: A case study in China'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this