a comparison of existing models for life cycle assessment of waste systems
Modelling of environmental impacts from the application of treated organic municipal solid waste (MSW) in agriculture differs widely between different models for environmental assessment of waste systems. In this comparative study five models were examined concerning quantification and impact assessment of environmental effects from land application of treated organic MSW: DST (Decision Support Tool, USA), IWM (Integrated Waste Management, UK), THE IFEU PROJECT (Germany), ORWARE (ORganic WAste REsearch, Sweden) and EASEWASTE (Environmental Assessment of Solid Waste Systems and Technologies, Denmark). DST and IWM are life cycle inventory (LCI) models, thus not performing actual impact assessment. The DST model includes only one water emission (biological oxygen demand) from compost leaching in the results and IWM considers only air emissions from avoided production of commercial fertilizers. THE IFEU PROJECT, ORWARE and EASEWASTE are life cycle assessment (LCA) models containing more detailed land application modules. A case study estimating the environmental impacts from land application of 1 ton of composted source sorted organic household waste was performed to compare the results from the different models and investigate the origin of any difference in type or magnitude of the results. The contributions from the LCI models were limited and did not depend on waste composition or local agricultural conditions. The three LCA models use the same overall approach for quantifying the impacts of the system. However, due to slightly different assumptions, quantification methods and environmental impact assessment, the obtained results varied clearly between the models. Furthermore, local conditions (e.g. soil type, farm type, climate and legal regulation) and waste composition strongly influenced the results of the environmental assessment.
Waste Management and Research, 2006, Vol 24, p. 141-152
wmr 852–1; Soil; Nutrient recycling; Life cycle assessment; Organic waste; Environmental impact assessment; Life cycle inventory; Modelling; Waste management