Title: Environmental Assessment of Municipal Waste Management Scenarios: Part I Data Collection and Preliminary Environmental Assessments for Life Cycle Thinking Pilot Studies
Publisher: OPOCE
Publication Year: 2007
JRC N°: JRC41238
ISBN: 978-92-79-07449-3
ISSN: 1018-5593
Other Identifiers: EUR 23021 EN
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC41238
DOI: 10.2788/4915
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: The European Commission¿s Strategy on the Prevention and Recycling of Waste outlines why life cycle thinking is essential in the move towards more sustainable consumption and production. The importance of life cycle thinking is further highlighted in the Commission¿s complimentary Strategy on the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources, in its Integrated Product Policy, as well as in the proposed revisions to the European Waste Framework Directive and the up-coming Sustainable Consumption and Production Action Plan. In 2004, following its international workshop and conference on life cycle assessment and waste management, the Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES) of the European Commission¿s Joint Research Centre (JRC) launched a series of regional pilot case studies in collaboration with representatives of the European Union¿s new member states, acceding countries, and associated countries. The representatives selected, and provided, statistical data for nine waste management regions. The life cycle assessments took into account the situation around 2003 in each region and example management scenarios that achieve Directive compliance and beyond. This report presents the results of the studies, describing the waste flows, the waste compositions, quantities of solid waste landfilled, some of the key emissions to air and to water, and the main contributions to climate change for each waste management scenario for each pilot region. The results take into account the emissions and resources consumed that are associated with e.g. energy recovery avoiding the use of other fuels, avoided use of conventional fertilizers through composting, and the avoidance of e.g. extracting and processing virgin materials by recycling. It emerged that management options vary in terms of preference when considering a local perspective of e.g. landfill reductions versus the potential for more global environmental benefits achieved through recycling, compost production, and energy recovery. These pilot studies highlight why Life Cycle Thinking is essential in complimenting many traditional environmental impact assessments that have a more local or regulatory focus, and how tools, such as Life Cycle Assessment, help in quantifying the potential benefits and trade-offs of waste management options.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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