Materials and energy used for construction of anaerobic digestion (AD) and windrow composting plants were quantified in detail. The two technologies were quantified in collaboration with consultants and producers of the parts used to construct the plants. The composting plants were quantified based on the different sizes for the three different types of waste (garden and park waste, food waste and sludge from wastewater treatment) in amounts of 10,000 or 50,000 tonnes per year. The AD plant was quantified for a capacity of 80,000 tonnes per year. Concrete and steel for the tanks were the main materials for the AD plant. For the composting plants, gravel and concrete slabs for the pavement were used in large amounts. To frame the quantification, environmental impact assessments (EIAs) showed that the steel used for tanks at the AD plant and the concrete slabs at the composting plants made the highest contribution to Global Warming. The total impact on Global Warming from the capital goods compared to the operation reported in the literature on the AD plant showed an insignificant contribution of 1–2%. For the composting plants, the capital goods accounted for 10–22% of the total impact on Global Warming from composting.
Waste Management and Research, 2015, Vol 33, Issue 2, p. 96-106