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Review of LCA studies of solid waste management systems - Part I: Lessons learned and perspectives.

Laurent, Alexis; Bakas, Ioannis; Clavreul, Julie; Bernstad, Anna LU ; Niero, Monia; Gentil, Emmanuel; Hauschild, Michael Z and Christensen, Thomas H (2014) In Waste Management 34(3). p.573-588
Abstract
The continuously increasing solid waste generation worldwide calls for management strategies that integrate concerns for environmental sustainability. By quantifying environmental impacts of systems, life cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool, which can contribute to answer that call. But how, where and to which extent has it been applied to solid waste management systems (SWMSs) until now, and which lessons can be learnt from the findings of these LCA applications? To address these questions, we performed a critical review of 222 published LCA studies of SWMS. We first analysed the geographic distribution and found that the published studies have primarily been concentrated in Europe with little application in developing countries. In terms of... (More)
The continuously increasing solid waste generation worldwide calls for management strategies that integrate concerns for environmental sustainability. By quantifying environmental impacts of systems, life cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool, which can contribute to answer that call. But how, where and to which extent has it been applied to solid waste management systems (SWMSs) until now, and which lessons can be learnt from the findings of these LCA applications? To address these questions, we performed a critical review of 222 published LCA studies of SWMS. We first analysed the geographic distribution and found that the published studies have primarily been concentrated in Europe with little application in developing countries. In terms of technological coverage, they have largely overlooked application of LCA to waste prevention activities and to relevant waste types apart from household waste, e.g. construction and demolition waste. Waste management practitioners are thus encouraged to abridge these gaps in future applications of LCA. In addition to this contextual analysis, we also evaluated the findings of selected studies of good quality and found that there is little agreement in the conclusions among them. The strong dependence of each SWMS on local conditions, such as waste composition or energy system, prevents a meaningful generalisation of the LCA results as we find it in the waste hierarchy. We therefore recommend stakeholders in solid waste management to regard LCA as a tool, which, by its ability of capturing the local specific conditions in the modelling of environmental impacts and benefits of a SWMS, allows identifying critical problems and proposing improvement options adapted to the local specificities. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Waste Management
volume
34
issue
3
pages
573 - 588
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • wos:000332266100002
  • pmid:24369845
  • scopus:84893770129
ISSN
1879-2456
DOI
10.1016/j.wasman.2013.10.045
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
f26cb119-8546-462c-acb2-2e61e186a1a5 (old id 4222975)
date added to LUP
2014-02-03 12:39:53
date last changed
2017-11-12 03:12:32
@article{f26cb119-8546-462c-acb2-2e61e186a1a5,
  abstract     = {The continuously increasing solid waste generation worldwide calls for management strategies that integrate concerns for environmental sustainability. By quantifying environmental impacts of systems, life cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool, which can contribute to answer that call. But how, where and to which extent has it been applied to solid waste management systems (SWMSs) until now, and which lessons can be learnt from the findings of these LCA applications? To address these questions, we performed a critical review of 222 published LCA studies of SWMS. We first analysed the geographic distribution and found that the published studies have primarily been concentrated in Europe with little application in developing countries. In terms of technological coverage, they have largely overlooked application of LCA to waste prevention activities and to relevant waste types apart from household waste, e.g. construction and demolition waste. Waste management practitioners are thus encouraged to abridge these gaps in future applications of LCA. In addition to this contextual analysis, we also evaluated the findings of selected studies of good quality and found that there is little agreement in the conclusions among them. The strong dependence of each SWMS on local conditions, such as waste composition or energy system, prevents a meaningful generalisation of the LCA results as we find it in the waste hierarchy. We therefore recommend stakeholders in solid waste management to regard LCA as a tool, which, by its ability of capturing the local specific conditions in the modelling of environmental impacts and benefits of a SWMS, allows identifying critical problems and proposing improvement options adapted to the local specificities.},
  author       = {Laurent, Alexis and Bakas, Ioannis and Clavreul, Julie and Bernstad, Anna and Niero, Monia and Gentil, Emmanuel and Hauschild, Michael Z and Christensen, Thomas H},
  issn         = {1879-2456},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {573--588},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Waste Management},
  title        = {Review of LCA studies of solid waste management systems - Part I: Lessons learned and perspectives.},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2013.10.045},
  volume       = {34},
  year         = {2014},
}