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Municipal Solid Waste Management from a Systems Perspective
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Ecology.
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Ecology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0297-598X
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Ecology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5535-6368
Show others and affiliations
2005 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 13, no 3, 241-252 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Different waste treatment options for municipal solid waste have been studied in a systems analysis. Different combinations of incineration, materials recycling of separated plastic and cardboard containers, and biological treatment (anaerobic digestion and composting) of biodegradable waste, were studied and compared to landfilling. The evaluation covered use of energy resources, environmental impact and financial and environmental costs. In the study, a calculation model ( ) based on methodology from life cycle assessment (LCA) was used. Case studies were performed in three Swedish municipalities: Uppsala, Stockholm, and Älvdalen.

The study shows that reduced landfilling in favour of increased recycling of energy and materials lead to lower environmental impact, lower consumption of energy resources, and lower economic costs. Landfilling of energy-rich waste should be avoided as far as possible, partly because of the negative environmental impacts from landfilling, but mainly because of the low recovery of resources when landfilling.

Differences between materials recycling, nutrient recycling and incineration are small but in general recycling of plastic is somewhat better than incineration and biological treatment somewhat worse.

When planning waste management, it is important to know that the choice of waste treatment method affects processes outside the waste management system, such as generation of district heating, electricity, vehicle fuel, plastic, cardboard, and fertiliser.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 13, no 3, 241-252 p.
Keyword [en]
LCA; LCC; Environmental systems analysis; Waste management; Recycling; Simulation model; Image ; Scenarios; Case study
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-8913DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2004.02.018ISI: 000225529700004Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-8344270205OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-8913DiVA: diva2:14398
Note
QC 20100505Available from: 2005-12-13 Created: 2005-12-13 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. On sustainability assessment of technical systems: experience from systems analysis with the ORWARE and ecoeffect tools
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On sustainability assessment of technical systems: experience from systems analysis with the ORWARE and ecoeffect tools
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Engineering research and development work is undergoing a reorientation from focusing on specific parts of different systems to a broader perspective of systems level, albeit at a slower pace. This reorientation should be further developed and enhanced with the aim of organizing and structuring our technical systems in meeting sustainability requirements in face of global ecological threats that have far-reaching social and economic implications, which can no longer be captured using conventional approach of research. Until a list of universally acceptable, clear, and measurable indicators of sustainable development is developed, the work with sustainability metrics should continue to evolve as a relative measure of ecological, economic, and social performance of human activities in general, and technical systems in particular. This work can be done by comparing the relative performance of alternative technologies of providing the same well-defined function or service; or by characterizing technologies that enjoy different levels of societal priorities using relevant performance indicators. In both cases, concepts and methods of industrial ecology play a vital role.

This thesis is about the development and application of a systematic approach for the assessment of the performance of technical systems from the perspective of systems analysis, sustainability, sustainability assessment, and industrial ecology.

The systematic approach developed and characterized in this thesis advocates for a simultaneous assessment of the ecological, economic, and social dimensions of performance of technologies in avoiding sub-optimization and problem shifting between dimensions. It gives a holistic picture by taking a life cycle perspective of all important aspects. The systematic assessment of technical systems provides an even-handed assessment resulting in a cumulative knowledge. A modular structure of the approach makes it flexible enough in terms of comparing a number of alternatives at the same time, and carrying out the assessment of the three dimensions independently. It should give way to transparent system where the level of quality of input data can be comprehended. The assessment approach should focus on a selected number of key input data, tested calculation procedures, and comprehensible result presentation.

The challenge in developing and applying this approach is the complexity of method integration and information processing. The different parts to be included in the same platform come in with additional uncertainties hampering result interpretations. The hitherto tendency of promoting disciplinary lines will continue to challenge further developments of such interdisciplinary approaches.

The thesis draws on the experience from ORWARE, a Swedish technology assessment tool applied in the assessment of waste management systems and energy systems; and from the EcoEffect tool used in the assessment of building properties; all assessed as components of a larger system. The thesis underlines the importance of sustainability considerations beginning from the research and development phase of technical systems. The core message of this thesis is that technical systems should be researched as indivisible parts of a complex whole that includes society and the natural environment. Results from such researches can then be transformed into design codes and specifications for use in the research and development, planning and structuring, and implementation and management of technical systems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2005. 77 p.
Series
Trita-KET-IM, ISSN 1402-7615 ; 2005:17
Keyword
technology assessment, interdisciplinarity, sustainability, sustainability assessment, industrial ecology, substance flow analysis, material flow analysis, life cycle assessment
National Category
Other Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-550 (URN)91-628-6708-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2005-12-16, Salongen, KTHB, Osquars backe 31, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20100505Available from: 2005-12-13 Created: 2005-12-13 Last updated: 2010-09-13Bibliographically approved
2. Towards a systematic approach for technology assessment by combining material flow analysis, life cycle assessment and life cycle costing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards a systematic approach for technology assessment by combining material flow analysis, life cycle assessment and life cycle costing
2002 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Kemiteknik, 2002. ix, 54 p.
Series
Trita-KET-IM, 2002:25
Keyword
technology assessment, material flow analysis, substance flow analysis, life cycle assessment, life cycle costing
National Category
Natural Sciences Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-1512 (URN)91-631-3448-9 (ISBN)
Presentation
(English)
Note
20100506Available from: 2003-02-13 Created: 2003-02-13 Last updated: 2010-08-17Bibliographically approved

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Björklund, Anna

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