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Assessing the eco-efficiency of end-of-pipe technologies with the environmental cost efficiency indicator - A case study of solid waste management
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment.
2005 (English)In: Journal of Industrial Ecology, ISSN 1088-1980, Vol. 9, no 4, 189-203 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The concept of eco-efficiency is increasingly being applied to judge the combined environmental and economic performance of product systems, processes, and/or companies. Eco-efficiency is often defined as the ratio of economic value added to environmental impact added. This definition is not appropriate for end-of-pipe treatment technologies because these technologies aim at improving the environmental performance of technical processes at the cost of financial expense. Therefore, an indicator for the assessment of end-of-pipe technologies has been proposed. This indicator, called environmental cost efficiency (ECE), is defined as the ratio of net environmental benefits to the difference in costs. ECE is applied to four end-of-pipe technologies for the treatment of municipal solid waste: sanitary landfill, mechanical-biological treatment, modern grate incineration, and a staged thermal process (pyrolysis and gasification). A life-cycle assessment was performed on these processes to quantify the net environmental benefit. Moreover, the approximate net costs (costs minus benefits) were quantified. The results show that, relative to grate incineration, sanitary landfills and mechanical-biological treatment are less costly but environmentally more harmful. We calculated the ECE for all combinations of technologies. The results indicate that the staged thermal process may be the most environmentally cost-efficient alternative to all other treatment technologies in the long run, followed by mechanical-biological treatment and grate incineration.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 9, no 4, 189-203 p.
Keyword [en]
incineration, indicator, industrial ecology, landfill, mechanical-biological treatment (MBP), waste treatment
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-15252ISI: 000233942700021ScopusID: 2-s2.0-33750625107OAI: diva2:333293
QC 20100525Available from: 2010-08-05 Created: 2010-08-05Bibliographically approved

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Finnveden, Göran
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