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Benjamin Madden


Ben Madden is an experienced data analyst and modeller specialising in spatial problems, environmental management, waste management, and energy efficiency. His experience includes end-use energy and water consumption modelling (residential and commercial), behavioural modelling, numerical simulation of complex systems, statistical analysis, geoinformation science, and qualitative policy research.

Ben’s current work at the Institute for Sustainable Futures includes developing a robust method for detecting tree growth from open-access high-resolution imagery; socioeconomic and biophysical drivers of urban tree growth, and; developing a decision support tool through simulation for the assessment of resource recovery interventions for New South Wales waste management systems.

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Senior Research Consultant, Institute for Sustainable Futures
Associate Member, ISF - Institute for Sustainable Futures
Development Studies (Environmental Sustainability), Environmental Management
+61 2 9514 4787


Madden, B., Florin, N. & Giurco, D. 2016, 'Assessment of waste to energy as a resource recovery intervention using system dynamics: A case study of New South Wales, Australia', Life Cycle Assessment and Other Assessment Tools For Waste Management and Resource Optimisation, Grand Hotel San Michele.
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Driven by an increasing population, affluence and economic activity, waste—an almost inevitable by-product of modern production and consumption—is being generated at a rate that is growing exponentially with time in Australia. Despite the global maturity of waste to energy technology as a waste valorisation process, it is yet to be applied at scale in Australia, which has traditionally relied on landfill disposal, and more recently recycling, for the management of waste. Recent policy frameworks implemented have enabled the uptake of waste to energy in parts of Australia to divert waste from landfill, while offsetting non-renewable energy sources in the transition to a low-carbon energy landscape. However, recent policy dictates that higher order waste valorisation processes such as re-use and recycling, must not be undermined by energy recovery processes. In this paper, we present initial findings from a system dynamics model, developed to assess interventions to improve resource recovery in a multi-stream (municipal, construction and commercial) waste system specific to New South Wales. The system under investigation is characterised by causal feedback processes between waste generation, valorisation processes, and waste management policies, making it ideal for study using a system dynamics approach, and offers benefits in terms of greater understanding of the system processes over more typical mechanistic approaches [1]. System dynamics modelling has been used in the study of sustainable waste management, and waste management planning (see [2], [3], and [4]), and has yet to be applied in the context of waste to energy in Australia. Using socioeconomic and waste management data as inputs, projected waste generation and recycling rates under reference conditions are compared to scenarios with waste to energy intervention, to estimate the potential of energy recovery in achieving local waste management targets. Several scenarios are modelled with variation in al...


Madden, B. & Downes, J. Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS 2016, Increasing commercial food waste collection services—literature review of Australian and international initiatives, Sydney, Australia.
The NSW Organics Infrastructure Fund has various waste programs focused on waste avoidance, local government household organics collections, organics processing, and markets for processed, source-separated organics. One of the program, Bin Trim, supports small to medium sized enterprises to monitor, reduce and manage waste including organic food waste. However there is currently a lack of collection services for source separated, commercial food waste. The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is investigating options for incentivising commercial food-only collection services. To complement separate research on the barriers to the establishment and expansion of commercial food waste collections in NSW, the EPA commissioned ISF to undertake a literature review of Australian and international initiatives that have sought to provide incentives to increase commercial food waste collection services. The review identified a number of government funded initiatives in other states, particularly SA, as well as examples by the UK Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). A review of the United States, and academic literature did not yield relevant examples. In these contexts the focus remains on household food waste collection.
Grant, M., Carrard, N., Madden, B., Willetts, J., Dominish, E., Bui, L. & Nghiem, T. 2016, Access to piped water services from Private Water Enterprises in Rural Viet Nam.
Fyfe, J., McKibbin, J.L., Mohr, S., Madden, B., Turner, A. & Ege, C. 2015, Evaluation of the Environmental Effects of the WELS Scheme, pp. 1-103, Sydney, Australia.
The Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) at the University of Technology Sydney, undertook a review of the environmental effects of the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) Scheme on behalf of the Australian Government Department of the Environment. The review analysed several facets of the Scheme, including: * the interactions between WELS and other urban water policies * changes in the products registered and sold since the commencement of WELS * changes in water consumption since the commencement of WELS * energy, greenhouse and household bill impacts associated with reduced water consumption