A Life Cycle Assessment Of Energy From Waste And Recycling In A Post Carbon Future

Burnley, Stephen (2018). A Life Cycle Assessment Of Energy From Waste And Recycling In A Post Carbon Future. In: 7th International Symposium on Energy from Biomass and Waste, 15-18 Oct 2018, Venice.

Abstract

Life cycle assessment was used to investigate the environmental impacts and benefits of managing residual municipal solid waste, waste newspapers, and organic waste for two energy supply scenarios. In the first scenario, gas-fired electricity is replaced by energy from waste and landfill gas use and gas is also used to provide the electricity and process heat used in recycling and primary material production processes. In the second scenario, wind power is the marginal electricity source displaced by energy from waste and landfill gas use and wind and biomass are used to provide process electricity and heat respectively. The results show that, under both energy scenarios, treating the residual non-recyclable municipal solid waste in energy from waste facilities is preferable to landfill. For waste paper and organic waste, recycling/composting is the better option in some LCA impact categories while energy from waste is the better option in other impact categories. These results suggest that moving from gas to wind-powered electricity does not suggest that any changes should be made in the way these wastes are managed.

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