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Municipal Solid Waste Management from a Systems Perspective
KTH, Industriell ekologi (flyttat 20130630).
KTH, Industriell ekologi (flyttat 20130630).ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0297-598X
KTH, Industriell ekologi (flyttat 20130630).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5535-6368
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2005 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 13, no 3, 241-252 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Different waste treatment options for municipal solid waste have been studied in a systems analysis. Different combinations of incineration, materials recycling of separated plastic and cardboard containers, and biological treatment (anaerobic digestion and composting) of biodegradable waste, were studied and compared to landfilling. The evaluation covered use of energy resources, environmental impact and financial and environmental costs. In the study, a calculation model ( ) based on methodology from life cycle assessment (LCA) was used. Case studies were performed in three Swedish municipalities: Uppsala, Stockholm, and Älvdalen.

The study shows that reduced landfilling in favour of increased recycling of energy and materials lead to lower environmental impact, lower consumption of energy resources, and lower economic costs. Landfilling of energy-rich waste should be avoided as far as possible, partly because of the negative environmental impacts from landfilling, but mainly because of the low recovery of resources when landfilling.

Differences between materials recycling, nutrient recycling and incineration are small but in general recycling of plastic is somewhat better than incineration and biological treatment somewhat worse.

When planning waste management, it is important to know that the choice of waste treatment method affects processes outside the waste management system, such as generation of district heating, electricity, vehicle fuel, plastic, cardboard, and fertiliser.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 13, no 3, 241-252 p.
Keyword [en]
LCA; LCC; Environmental systems analysis; Waste management; Recycling; Simulation model; Image ; Scenarios; Case study
National Category
Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-25653DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2004.02.018ISI: 000225529700004Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-8344270205OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-25653DiVA: diva2:1160891
Available from: 2017-11-28 Created: 2017-11-28 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Environmental and Economic Assessment of Swedish Municipal Solid Waste Management in a Systems Perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environmental and Economic Assessment of Swedish Municipal Solid Waste Management in a Systems Perspective
2003 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Waste management is something that affects most people. Thewaste amounts are still increasing, but the waste treatment ischanging towards recycling and integrated solutions. In Swedenproducers’responsibility for different products, a taxand bans on deposition of waste at landfills implicates areorganisation of the municipal solid waste management. Plansare made for new incineration plants, which leads to that wastecombustion comes to play a role in the reorganisation of theSwedish energy system as well. The energy system is supposed toadapt to governmental decisions on decommission of nuclearplants and decreased use of fossil fuels.

Waste from private households consists of hazardous waste,scrap waste, waste electronics and wastes that to a largeextent are generated in the kitchen. The latter type has beenstudied in this thesis, except for newsprint, glass- and metalpackages that by source separation haven’t ended up in thewaste bin. Besides the remaining amount of the above mentionedfractions, the waste consists of food waste, paper, cardboard-and plastic packages and inert material. About 80-90 % of thismixed household waste is combustible, and the major part ofthat is also possible to recycle.

Several systems analyses of municipalsolid waste managementhave been performed. Deposition at landfill has been comparedto energy recovery, recycling of material (plastic andcardboard) and recycling of nutrients (in food waste).Environmental impact, fuel consumption and costs are calculatedfor the entire lifecycle from the households, until the wasteis treated and the by-products have been taken care of.

To stop deposition at landfills is the most importantmeasure to take as to decrease the environmental impact fromlandfills, and instead use the waste as a resource, therebysubstituting production from virgin resources (avoidingresource extraction and emissions). The best alternative tolandfilling is incineration, but also material recycling andbiological treatment are possible.

Recycling of plastic has slightly less environmental impactand energy consumption than incineration. The difference issmall due to that plastic is such a small part of the totalwaste amount, and that just a small part of the collectedamount is recycled. Cardboard recycling is comparable toincineration; there are both advantages and disadvantages.Source separation of food waste may lead to higher transportemissions due to intensified collection, but severalenvironmental advantages are observed if the waste is digestedand the produced biogas substitutes diesel in busses.Composting has no environmental advantages compared toincineration, mainly due to lack of energy recovery. Therecycling options are more expensive than incineration. Theincreased cost must be seen in relation to the environmentalbenefits and decreased energy use. If the work with sourceseparation made by the households is included in the analysis,the welfare costs for source separation and recycling becomesnon-profitable. It is however doubted how much time is consumedand how it should be valuated in monetary terms.

In systems analyses, several impacts are not measured.Environmental impact has been studied, but not allenvironmental impact. As the parts of the system are underconstant change, the results are not true forever. Recyclingmay not be unambiguously advantageous today, but it can be inthe future.

Despite the fact that systems analysis has been developedduring 10 years in Sweden, there are still many decisions takenregarding waste management without support from systemsanalysis and use of computer models. The minority of users ispleased with the results achieved, but the systems analysis isfar from easy to use. The adaptation of tools and models to thedemands from the potential users should consider thatorganisations of different sizes have shifting demands andneeds.

The application areas for systems analysis and models arestrategic planning, decisions about larger investments andeducation in universities and within organisations. Systemsanalysis and models may be used in pre-planning procedures. Apotential is a more general application (Technology Assessment)in predominantly waste- and biofuel based energy processes, butalso for assessment of new technical components in a systemsperspective. The methodology and systems approach developedwithin the systems analysis has here been transformed to anassessment of environmental, economic and technical prestandaof technical systems in a broad sense.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2003. x, 56 p.
Keyword
waste management, LCA, LCC, systems analysis, decisionmaking, computer model
National Category
Chemical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-25625 (URN)
Public defence
2003-06-05, 12:00
Note

Vid disputationen var statusen för följande papers:

- paper II och V in press- paper IV och VI submitted- paper III manuscript.

Available from: 2017-11-29 Created: 2017-11-28 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved

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