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Faculty of Engineering, University Muhammadiyah of Magelang, Jl. Mayjen Bambang Sugeng Km 5 Mertoyudan, Magelang, Jawa Tengah, Indonesia

Industry 4.0 based sustainable circular economy approach for smart waste management system to achieve sustainable development goals: A case study of Indonesia


Indonesia is facing a number of independently managed challenges related to the collection, transportation, processing (composting, recycling), and landfill dependence on waste management. An intervention is needed to bring stakeholders together to solve these waste challenges. The objectives of this study are to investigate the fundamental issues and opportunities and to develop a sustainable and smart country-wide waste management system using industry 4.0 technologies. The system should provide a multi-dimensional approach, determine the maturity level of the waste management system in a technical method, and pursue the goal of designing a new strategy to minimise waste management problems. A comprehensive systematic literature review, intensive focus group discussions, and direct observation in Indonesian cities were approaches used to develop waste management business processes and their system design. Waste business processes consist of mixed-collecting, sorting, transporting, varied-treatment, and chained-disposal. The design of the proposed waste management system presents circular economy processes that can separate municipal waste, identify waste characteristics, and determine sustainable waste treatment technologies through the use of Internet of Thing (IoT) as the integrator. This study contributes to the sustainable development goals (SDG’s) such as Good health, and wellbeing (SDG 3); Clean water and sanitation (SDG 6); Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8); Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12) and Climate Action (SDG 13). The study proposes a new design of smart and sustainable waste management which could achieve satisfactory economic, social, and environmental waste management performances.


Indonesia’s waste problem creates a critical threat to the sustainability of the nation’s economy, society, and our environment. The nation’s enormous waste production demands even more space dedicated to landfills, which competes with the community’s need for more sustainable sites. When landfills become overburdened, excess waste is then burned in open and uncontrolled ways or it is spilled into waterways. Both methods increase the risk of disease, pollution, and hazardous emissions for Indonesian citizens. Further, the landfills themselves, called Waste Mountains, are dangerous areas because they attract scavengers, trash collectors, and informal workers. Based on research conducted in Jakarta, Semarang, Yogyakarta, and Magelang in 2018, the mainstream of municipal waste is collected from households and traditional markets. Municipal waste is initially collected at a temporary collection point (TPS). The TPS is divided into several different area functions: 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle), TPS with multi-compartments, and TPS with waste type-based schedule. These divisions are enacted before waste is sent to its final disposal centre (TPA). The majority of waste collection activities are still conducted manually by both formal and informal sectors (Kannan et al., 2016). A regular schedule is observed, but there is a limited use of facilities or infrastructure. Most collected waste is still mixed and unsorted, because most residents do not properly separate waste.

Based on their characteristics, most collected waste is processed through composting, recycling, gasification, anaerobic digestion, or waste-to-energy systems. However, this approach has not optimally touched the economic, social, and environmental aspects of the waste management system. Regulations for waste management in Indonesia are obvious and sufficient. For instance, Law No. 18/2008 concerns solid waste management, Government Regulation No. 81/2012 addresses economic-oriented household waste management, and the ministerial decree of environmental department Act No. 13/2012 focuses on reduce, reuse, recycle actions through the waste bank. Further, the Ministerial decree of the Interior No. 33/2010 about waste management concerns the involvement of the community as waste producers in the waste management system, Ministerial decree public work No. 03/2013 governs household waste management, and Presidential regulation No. 97/2017 is concerned with household waste national policy and strategy. Despite these decrees, most waste management systems in Indonesia are still traditional and conventional. Open dumping, transferring, collecting, and landfill are the most common methods of disposal in some urban cities. A sustainable waste management system is far from standard. In short, current waste management systems are not yet integrated, participation from corporations is rare, social awareness about environmental cleanliness is limited, and government policies are not yet optimally applied.

The current waste management system is not able to identify specific characteristics, types, and amounts of municipal waste collected in the final collection centre, nor is that system able to provide sufficient, accessible, reliable, accurate, or timely information for applying appropriate treatment technologies to manage the waste in economically, socially, and environmentally beneficial ways. A comprehensive system intervention is needed to bring stakeholders together to solve these waste problems.

The use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the Internet of Things (IoT) offer a new generation approach to improve the global waste management system effectively and efficiently in developed countries. The ICT-IoT integration consists of the use of local sensing, data integration, analytics of things, and cognitive action in the area of waste management. Waste activity could be real-time tracked and monitored to enable an efficient and effective waste management and to transform large and complex waste characteristics to become valuable resource, materials, and energy (Adam et al., 2018; Anagnostopoulos et al., 2017; Gutiérrez et al., 2014).

The research questions we plan to explore include:

What is the current waste management system in Indonesia?, At what level of maturity is the current system?, and.

What appropriate approaches and strategies are needed to achieve the expected level?

This research has developed an innovative assessment to measure the existing performance of the waste management system, and we have developed a sustainable and smart waste management system based on the maturity level of the current system. The sustainable and smart waste management system provides a better decision-making process and policy supports, appropriate treatment technologies, optimal waste, and resource recovery methods, which helps to achieve sustainable development goals (SDG’s). It uses minimal virgin materials and low energy consumption, low environmental degradation and pollution, and it supports highly skilled workers as it enhances social values.

The remainder of this paper continues as follows: Section 2 presents the materials and methods. Section 3 outlines the results. Section 4 analyses and discusses these results through our case study. Section 5 summarises the conclusions.

Section snippets

Materials and methods

The objectives of this study are to investigate the issues and opportunities of developing a country-wide waste management system in the industrial revolution 4.0 era. We also seek to design a sustainable and smart waste management system with a multidimensional approach, to present the maturity level of the waste management system in its technical method, and to design a new approach of sustainable and smart waste management for Indonesian urban cities. Partially, the IOT and ICT development

Research method implementation

This research consists of several stages, including determining the research questionnaire, developing case studies, determining the maturity level, developing multi-dimensions of sustainable and smart waste management, and analysing the gap to determine the current maturity level of each city we investigated. The maturity levels of the current waste management are ultimately used to develop a newly designed smart waste management system.

Case study on urban cities

As mentioned in the previous section, we interviewed in

Maturity level of current waste management system

Despite positive maturity levels that exist in the governance, social, and economy dimensions of waste management, the maturity levels in the environment and technology dimensions are still at a low position. Fig. 3 shows the data gathered from the survey conducted in the urban cities which assesses the environmental aspects of the waste management. Ultimate amount of wastes processed recycled and composted is far from the threshold value. The other aspects including waste management value


In this article, we present a new waste management system that is an essential part of our ongoing research objective, to design a industry 4.0 technology based smart waste management system to implement a sustainable circular economy. According to maturity level of the existing waste management system in four urban cities in Indonesia, a sustainable and waste management framework and sustainable and waste disposal system was developed. By using the ICT as the core of the system, this system

CRediT authorship contribution statement

Yun Arifatul Fatimah: Conceptualization, Validation, Writing – original draft, Supervision, Funding acquisition. Kannan Govindan: Conceptualization, Methodology, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing, Funding acquisition. Rochiyati Murniningsih: Data curation, Formal analysis, Writing – original draft. Agus Setiawan: Formal analysis, Validation, Writing – original draft.

Declaration of competing interest

The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.


This research was supported by a Grant from SDU – Direktionens Strategiske Pulje for project titled “SDG- Tools”, Ministry of Research and Higher Education, Indonesia under International Research Collaboration & World Class Professor Grant 2019, and supported by Universitas Muhammadiyah Magelang, Indonesia.

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