The relevance of the context for greenhouse gas emissions from residual municipal solid waste management

Given the current EU legislation, the assessment of greenhouse gas emissions related to the treatment of residual municipal solid waste is relevant. As to a lack of models that allow for comparing the climate impact of different treatment options (incineration, mechanical biological treatment, landfilling), a model adequate for such comparisons is developed. Due to the impact of background conditions on the climate performance of waste treatment, the model is adaptable to different EU context situations. Exemplary calculations conducted with the developed model reveal, that the context of residual municipal solid waste management is of such importance that it even impacts the order of treatment technologies when assigning them according to increasing climate impact.

The reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from municipal solid waste (MSW) management in general and methane emissions that yield from landfilling of biodegradable substances in particular is a demand that is expressed by various legislative texts showing relevance within an European Union (EU) context [UNFCCC, 1998], [EU WFD,2008], [EU LFD, 1999]. Measures that are available in order to reducing GHG emissions from residual (r) MSW management are the application of one of the state-of-the-arttreatment technologies for rMSW, which are incineration (MSWI) and mechanical biological treatment (MBT). In order to quantify the climate impact of these technologies, life cycle thinking and life cycle assessment (LCA) is the approach that is called for e.g. by the EU Waste Framework Directive. While there is wide agreement with regard to the general Advantage of applying one of said technologies prior to landfilling, a statement in terms of the climatic superiority of either of the Technologies over the other requires specific consideration. This is due not only to the impact of the chosen methodological approach on the results  of an LCA, but also due to the fact that the environmental performance of MSW management can be assumed to strongly depend on the context that it takes place in. Reviews of LCA studies that are available in the field of MSW management however reveal a lack of studies of MBT technologies and especially of direct comparisons of the Technologies MBT and MSWI. As to the relevance of both technologies and the legal requirement in numerous EU member states to establish integrated MSW management in the near future , a model was developed within a dissertation that allows to compare the GHG emissions related to MSWI and MBT and that is adaptable to varying context situations as they mayoccur in EU. In the following, the modelling approach is presented including first calculations that demonstrate the relevance of varying framework conditions on the climate performance of different rMSW management approaches.

Copyright: © Wasteconsult International
Quelle: Waste-to-Resources 2015 (Mai 2015)
Seiten: 16
Preis inkl. MwSt.: € 8,00
Autor: Dr.-Ing. Adele Clausen

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