The overall picture
This book began with a discussion of sustainable development; the need to produce more value from goods and services, with less environmental impact and depletion of resources. When applied to waste management, environmental sustainability requires the production of more value from recovered materials and energy, with the consumption of less energy and the production of less emissions to air, water and land (Box 12.1). The lifecycle inventory (LCI) technique gives us a way to quantify the ‘more’ and the ‘less’; to predict the amounts of materials that will be recovered, the amount of energy consumed and the likely emissions that will be released. This book has constructed a lifecycle inventory (LCI) for municipal solid waste. Starting with a definition of the objectives of the LCI and the system boundaries in Chapter 4, and then definition of the quantity and composition of the waste that is being managed in Chapter 5, each stage in the lifecycle of waste has been described and discussed. For each of the processes from dustbin to grave, i.e. from waste pre-sorting in the home, through collection and waste treatment, to final disposal, the environmental inputs and outputs have been quantified, and generic values suggested. When all of these individual modules are assembled together, it is possible to calculate the overall picture, that is the environmental burden of the whole waste management system.
KeywordsLife Cycle Assessment Waste Management Municipal Solid Waste Household Waste Waste Management System
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