With wet biowaste rapidly increasing due to urbanization, industrialization, and a growing population, finding an effective means of repurposing biowaste becomes increasingly crucial. The World Bank has projected a 70% global increase in urban waste and an 83% increase in the treatment cost by 2025, based on the current waste treatment technology such as incineration and landfilling. Consequently, a paradigm-shift to consider biowaste as a resource rather than a waste is key for a sustainable future.
Two of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are to “end poverty” (Goal 1) and to “strive to achieve a land-degradation neutral world” (Goal 15.3), which requires that any land degradation is fully offset by restoration of degraded land. A fundamental question is whether these two SDGs are compatible. Ending global poverty while at the same time balancing land degradation with restoration suggests that there may be potential tradeoffs in attaining these two SDGs. Accurately assessing these tradeoffs will require, in turn, a clear understanding of the relationship between land degradation and poverty. Despite decades of research, it is not obvious that such a consensus view exists in the literature.