The Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM) sector has developed considerably during the past century, paving the way for maximum resource (materials and energy) recovery and minimising environmental impacts such as global warming associated with it. The current study is assessing the historical development of MSWM in the municipality of Aalborg, Denmark throughout the period of 1970 to 2010, and its implications regarding Global Warming Potential (GWP100), using the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach. Historical data regarding MSW composition, and different treatment technologies such as incineration, recycling and composting has been used in order to perform the analysis. The LCA results show a continuous improvement in environmental performance of MSWM from 1970 to 2010 mainly due to the changes in treatment options, improved efficiency of various treatment technologies and increasing focus on recycling, resulting in a shift from net emission of 618 kg CO2-eq. tonne−1 to net saving of 670 kg CO2-eq. tonne−1 of MSWM.
Waste Management, 2013, Vol 33, Issue 9, p. 1926-1933