The paper describes the results of a municipal solid waste management planning based on an extensive utilization of material and substance flow analysis, combined with the results of specific life cycle assessment studies. The mass flow rates of wastes and their main chemical elements were quantified with a view to providing scientific support to the decision-making process and to ensure that the technical inputs to this process are transparent and rigorous. The role of each waste management option (recycling chains, biological and thermal treatments), as well as that of different levels of household source separation and collection (SSC), was quantitatively determined. The plant requirements were consequently evaluated, by assessing the benefits afforded by the application of high quality SSC, biological treatment of the wet organic fraction, and thermal treatment of unsorted residual waste. Landfill volumes and greenhouse gas emissions are minimized, toxic organic materials are mineralized, heavy metals are concentrated in a small fraction of the total former solid waste volume, and the accumulation of atmophilic metals in the air pollution control residues allows new recycling schemes to be designed for metals. The results also highlight that the sustainability of very high levels of SSC is reduced by the large quantities of sorting and recycling residues, amounts of toxic substances in the recycled products, as well as logistic and economic difficulties of obtaining very high interception levels. The combination of material and substance flow analysis with an environmental assessment method such as life cycle assessment appears an attractive tool-box for comparing alternative waste management technologies and scenarios, and then to support waste management decisions on both strategic and operating levels. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

A waste management planning based on substance flow analysis

ARENA, Umberto;
2014

Abstract

The paper describes the results of a municipal solid waste management planning based on an extensive utilization of material and substance flow analysis, combined with the results of specific life cycle assessment studies. The mass flow rates of wastes and their main chemical elements were quantified with a view to providing scientific support to the decision-making process and to ensure that the technical inputs to this process are transparent and rigorous. The role of each waste management option (recycling chains, biological and thermal treatments), as well as that of different levels of household source separation and collection (SSC), was quantitatively determined. The plant requirements were consequently evaluated, by assessing the benefits afforded by the application of high quality SSC, biological treatment of the wet organic fraction, and thermal treatment of unsorted residual waste. Landfill volumes and greenhouse gas emissions are minimized, toxic organic materials are mineralized, heavy metals are concentrated in a small fraction of the total former solid waste volume, and the accumulation of atmophilic metals in the air pollution control residues allows new recycling schemes to be designed for metals. The results also highlight that the sustainability of very high levels of SSC is reduced by the large quantities of sorting and recycling residues, amounts of toxic substances in the recycled products, as well as logistic and economic difficulties of obtaining very high interception levels. The combination of material and substance flow analysis with an environmental assessment method such as life cycle assessment appears an attractive tool-box for comparing alternative waste management technologies and scenarios, and then to support waste management decisions on both strategic and operating levels. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11591/202996
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