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Research article2017Peer reviewed

Source separation: Challenges & opportunities for transition in the swedish wastewater sector

McConville, J. R.; Kvarnstrom, E.; Jonsson, H.; Karrman, E.; Johansson, M.


A paradigm shift to waste reuse has started in the wastewater sector with many experts calling for greater resource recovery, often facilitated by alternative solutions such as source separation. Source separation has been shown to be advantageous for improving treatment capacity, food security, and efficiency; yet these systems are still immature, considered risky by professionals and scarcely implemented. This study attempts to answer the question of why source separation is still marginalized by examining the Swedish experience with source separated wastewater from the perspective of Technology Innovation Systems (TIS) in order to identify obstacles and policy recommendations. Considering that source-separation is still in a development phase, the study found that source separation works moderately well within the on-site niche and that blackwater systems in general perform better than urine diversion. Knowledge development is found to be the weakest function. A major blocking mechanism is the weakness of interchange between knowledge development and entrepreneurial activity. Policy recommendations include: increased R & D; building networks and communication platforms; and establishing guidelines for technologies, legislation interpretation and organizational models. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Innovation; Resource-recovery; Source-separation; Transition; Wastewater

Published in

Resources, Conservation and Recycling
2017, Volume: 120, pages: 144-156

      Sustainable Development Goals

      End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
      Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
      Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
      Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Environmental Management
      Other Environmental Engineering

      Publication identifier


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