Abstract A method of planning resource recovery from municipal solid wastes to manage uncertainty in required data, markets, or other variables, is presented for the case of a city in a developing country. The result of the exercise can be used to decide if further (and perhaps substantial) investment in the planning process is justified. The method deals with uncertain data by using published information, analyses and some rationalization to manage unknowns such as the composition of the waste, plant design, yield of recovered products, operating costs, and product revenues. The objective is to compute what is termed the Affordable Capital Cost (ACC) for the particular local conditions which is then compared to what a community might be able to invest. The computation of ACC is based on a break even analysis (costs equal revenues) for a community economically indifferent as to whether the current method of disposal or recovery is practiced; i.e., the future disposal cost (tip fee) for recovery is first assumed to be the same as that currently paid. The planning method is illustrated for the case of Lagos, Nigeria, where only limited (and sometimes suspect) data are available on the quantity and composition of the municipal solid waste. Baseline conditions are established to permit computation of ACC. Sensitivity analyses are performed to examine options which are discussed as a prelude to further decision making.