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Municipal Waste Management System Based On Life - Cycle Assessment

Jurgis Kazimieras Stanikis, Jrat Milit, Institute of Environmental Engineering, Kaunas university of Technology CONTACT Jurgis Kazimieras Stanikis Institute of Environmental Engineering Kaunas University of Technology K. Donelaiio g. 20, LT-44239 Kaunas, Lithuania Tel: +370 37 300760, Fax: +370 37 209372 E-mail: justa@ktu.lt, www.apini.lt EXACUTIVE SUMMARY This presentation discusses the ecological optimisation of municipal waste management (WM) systems. The purpose is to help local decision-makers in designing the integrated waste management solutions that are optimal from the ecological point of view. The study uses the life cycle methodology (LCA) for building a model and testing different waste management scenarios in order to see whether the waste management hierarchy is influenced by regional conditions. The study also tests with regard to which variables in waste management systems the end results of the LCA are most sensitive. The discussion is built around a case study in Lithuania where several WM scenarios have been analysed and compared in the LCA framework. The presentation reveals several methodologyrelated issues and discusses what implications waste related policy intervention would have on the environmental outcomes of different waste management scenarios. Keywords: Life cycle assessment, environmental impact assessment, municipal waste, waste management systems, Lithuania. INTRODUCTION In the European Union the responsibility to organise municipal solid waste (MSW) management is being put on municipalities. It is not uncommon that smaller municipalities lack a clear understanding of environmental and economic implications of different elements of MSW, which lead to sub-optimal strategic decisions. For instance, recycling materials from waste management can substitute the production of virgin materials and the use of fossil fuels, which leads to environmental and economic benefits. Finding the optimal solution requires the understanding of rather complex systems and taking into consideration the whole production chain for goods and services where from waste derived material may substitute material and energy. Lithuania the main focus is being put on building new landfills other opportunities for integrated WM solutions are neglected respectively not considered at all. Decisions on costly WM investments are often being made with too little consideration of possible alternatives. For instance, recycling materials from waste management can substitute the production of virgin materials and the use of fossil fuels, which leads to environmental and economic benefits. Finding the optimal solution

requires the understanding of rather complex systems and taking into consideration the whole production chain for goods and services in those sectors where waste derived material may substitute material and energy. Most of the new EU member states face a challenge to comply with the WM commitments set by the European Union. Main difficulties are related to rapid economic growth, increasing consumption, changes in lifestyle, growing waste volumes and an increasingly complicated situation with regard to security of energy provision. Considering the rapidly changing waste composition and increasing waste volumes, the existing waste management systems have to be adjusted accordingly. The question is what are the best strategies that the regional authorities should adopt to ensure the compliance with the EU regulatory framework while guaranteeing a maximum cost-efficiency of the municipal waste management systems? For choosing the most appropriate alternative for the future the strategic decisions require a comprehensive systemic evaluation and analysis of different scenarios taking possible changes in the prevailing situation into account. The purpose of this presentation is to help local decision-makers in designing integrated waste management solutions that are optimal from the ecological point of view. The presentation is based on a case study of one Lithuanian region, where several WM scenarios have been evaluated. METHODOLOGY The southern Lithuanian region of Alytus was taken as a case study for simulating different waste management scenarios and comparing them to the current situation. The region includes one bigger town and several mainly rural municipalities with modest population densities. The region represents a typical rural setting in Lithuania as well as in the other Baltic States. At first, several possible scenarios of WM were developed for the region and primary data on the current situation were collected. Then a computer model of the waste management system was applied based on the life cycle methodology. The data of the current situation and the projected future changes were simulated in the model, and the environmental impact was calculated for four impact categories. The robustness of the results was tested by a sensitivity analysis. MODEL OF THE SYSTEM Modelling was assisted by the LCA software tool WAMPS1 which was designed by the Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL), tested and calibrated in collaboration with the Institute of Environmental Engineering APINI (Lithuania) and Stockholm Environment Institute SEI (Estonia). The model was both designed and tested within the framework of an international project Regional Co-operation in Waste Management (RECO) funded by the EU InterReg IIIb programme (Milit J. & Stanikis J. 2009). WAMPS is a streamlined model with a limited number of impact categories by using data of conventional technologies, called as average waste management technologies. The model has been used on a regional level in two countries for providing the input for strategic regional planning on municipal solid waste management, e.g. comparing different waste treatment approaches such as incineration vs. recycling. Main purpose of the studies was to test a simple and reliable screening tool for local decision makers.

WAMPS is an abbreviation for Waste Management Planning System.

Several scenarios including the current state were modelled in this study and compared. The primary function of a WM system is treating a certain amount of waste. However, WM systems may also deliver secondary functions, such as: production of heat and power, (through incineration or digestion) and production of secondary materials (recycling) and compost (biological decomposition). All of these secondary outputs partly substitute virgin materials and/or fossil fuels. For example, virgin aluminium can be replaced by recycled post-consumer packaging, and waste incineration can substitute fossil fuels in a district heating system. In any case of co-production when a secondary product (in this case recycled material or recovered energy) is crossing the LCA system boundary, a need arises for allocating the environmental impacts between the primary (waste management) and the secondary (materials/energy) products/services (Tillman 2000). In order to avoid the allocation controversy is system expansion(Bjarnadttir et al. 2002) also called an avoided input or output approach (Buttol et al. 2007, Coleman et al. 2003). It implies extending system boundaries and assessing what are the emissions from the life cycle when material/energy is not substituted by waste derived materials/energy. System extension can be accomplished by introducing the notion of compensatory (or background) systems (Erickson et al. 2005) the production systems that are replaced by a co-product from the WM system (Figure 1). In other words, a useful product (recycled material or energy) derived from the waste system is followed to the point where it can be used. The system is then compensated with alternative production in the compensatory system. The same approach is used in the WAMPS model. The use of the system expansion approach is not uncommon in LCAs on waste management (e.g. see ORWARE ((Assefa et al. 2005, Erickson et al. 2005) or EASEWASTE (Kirkeby et al. 2006a)). In essence, system expansion implies more information to be gathered but on the other hand, there is no need of allocation as both the main and the co-products are included in the system boundaries. That is there is no flow crossing the system boundary (which in turn is the condition for the allocation need).
Life cycle of the foreground system Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage n


PRIMARY SERVICE: waste treatment (X kg*year-1)

SECONDARY SERVICE: energy/recycled materials

Life cycle of the compensatory system Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage n

Figure 1. System boundary expansion in LCA modelling (Milit J. & Stanikis J. 2009).

In practice, this implies the division of the life cycle boundaries into a foreground and a background system (Bjarnadttir et al. 2002, Tillman 2000). The foreground system is the system under analysis and the background system is the system in which the former operates. Some processes in the background system could be replaced by the processes in the foreground system. For example, waste recycling (foreground) replaces the production of products or services from virgin materials (background system).

In the WAMPS model the foreground system embraces all the processes directly related to the waste management operations: waste collection, transportation, composting, digestion, recycling, incineration, and landfilling. The background system consists of all other processes influenced by the measures taken in the foreground system, namely: heating, electricity production or raw material manufacturing systems. Analysing the environmental effects of co-products (heat, electricity or recycled materials) implies the analysis of the environmental effects of the background system within the extended system boundaries, i.e. the production of traditional energy carriers and virgin materials (Milit J. & Stanikis J. 2009). The model considers four impact categories that are of great importance to the major environmental goals in the society, namely: Global Warming, Acidification, Eutrophication and Photo-Oxidant Formation. Uncertainties about these impact categories are generally lower compared to the other categories such as e.g. toxic impacts (Finnveden et al. 2005), which is the reason for not considering a broader spectrum of environmental impacts. The time boundary of this study was set with ten years assuming limited technology changes to take place during this period. The duration of the environmental impacts from landfilling was considered in terms of techno-/bio-sphere boundaries. Techno-/bio-sphere boundary signifies the (rather subjective) boundary between the natural and man-made systems. In the case of a landfill this boundary is defined in terms of time during which the landfill continues to exert its impact onto the environment (Milit J. & Stanikis J. 2009). The economic valuation of waste management systems was based on lifecycle costing (LCC) methodology. In this model LCC is applied by dividing the waste flow into five fractions: mixed waste, bio-degradable fraction, recyclables (glass, paper, metals and plastics), hazardous waste and rest fraction. For each of the fractions infrastructure and operation costs as well as potential revenues are calculated (Figure 2).
Life cycle costs

Mixed waste


Secondary material

Hazardous waste

Other (WEEE, bulky etc.)

Installation costs - transportation - containers - collection stations - treatment facilities - other costs

Operational costs - Labour costs, - material and fuel costs, - final products treatment - taxes - other costs

Revenues - Compost realization - Second material - Gaz realization - Electricity and heat realization

Figure 2. Conceptual Life Cycle Costing model

The model allows the calculation of both the theoretical and the specific values in relation to the projected capacities of waste management technologies. The presentation presents the results of and a discussion related to the integration all of the above mentioned technology-specific models into one decision-making system. The developed integrated model (Figure 3) suggests performing a sensitivity analysis prior to taking concrete decisions, i.e. determining input values more carefully for the parameters that are influencing the end results the most.

Environmental valuation

Monetary valuation

Goal definition: scenarios building

Sensitivity analysis

Results: (1) Agregated (2) Separately presented (3) Partly agregated

Decision making

Economic valuation

Sensitivity parameters

Figure 3. Integrated municipal waste management system model for decision support.

RESULTS The region of Alytus in South Lithuania has been selected as a case study. Alytus region is one of ten administrative units in the country with about half of the population residing in the cities and the rest in rural areas and small towns. The region represents a typical setting in Lithuania, where half of the population lives in individual houses. Both Alytus town and the villages have typical features of a non-metropolitan part of the country and represent ca. 50% of countrys population. Five scenarios for 2010 were created to present different types of collection and different waste treatment methods in the future. L- reference scenario 1 in 2005 (landfilling) most of MSW is landfilled; RCL- scenario 2 (recycling, composting & landfilling) separate collection of secondary material and recycling; separate collection of biodegradable waste and composting; landfilling of remaining mixed waste; RCMI- scenario 3 (recycling, composting, MBT & incineration) separate collection of secondary material and recycling; separate collection of biodegradable waste and composting; mixed waste is sent for MBT, after which three outputs are produced: (1) noncombustible waste and (2) stabilised fraction (to landfilling), (3) combustible (to incineration); RI-scenario 4 (recycling & incineration) separate collection of secondary material and recycling; mixed MSW incineration without any pre-treatment. RMI- scenario 5 (recycling, MBT & incineration) - separate collection of secondary material and recycling, mixed waste is sent to MBT and subsequently, its products are further send to a landfill (non-combustibles and the stabilised fraction) and incineration (combustibles).
Table 1. Results obtained in five scenarios of waste management in Alytus region (Milit J. & Stanikis J. 2009)
Impact Category Global warming (tonnes CO2-eqv) Acidification (tonnes SO2-eqv) Eutrophication (tonnes O2-eqv) Photo-oxidants (tonnes C2H4-eqv) 1-L 51230 236 2286 37 RCL-2 36445 155 1580 25 RCMI-3 8226 49 537 -7 RI-4 4617 24 319 -11 RMI-5 8187 48 536 -7

CONCLUSIONS So far the majority of strategic decisions in the area of WM in Lithuanian were based solely on short-term and economically based considerations, such as to fulfill the provisions of the European

Landfilling Directive. In many of these decisions little consideration has been paid to the environmental consequences from the systemic point of view. The main reasons for that are lack of information, competence and analytical tools. The proposed integrated model allows for a more adequate valuation of developing waste management systems in environmental and economic terms. The integration of sensitivity analysis into the model contributes to improving the reliability of results and allows to more effectively determine those system related factors that are crucial to enhance the sustainability to envisaged development strategies. The empiric application of the model on a regional level provided inputs to short- and long-term regional development strategies. The analytical process and the results indicated the environmentally preferable strategies for waste management. Interestingly, while landfilling has been determined to be worst choice, composting was less advantageous compared to incineration worth energy recovery and the best option a combination of recycling and incineration. The latter was also confirmed through the economic evaluation, while landfill proved to be the cheapest option and incineration or recycling the most expensive. The findings contribute to the position that the waste management hierarchy should not be the only guiding principle in determining waste management strategies and regional characteristics are equally important. The model has proved capable in identifying the preferable waste management options and their combinations, especially when there is an opportunity to combine seemingly competitive approaches such as recycling and incineration. REFERENCES Assefa, G., Bjorklund, A., Eriksson, O. & Frostell, B. (2005): ORWARE: an aid to environmental technology chain assessment. Journal of Cleaner Production 13, pp. 265-274. Bjarnadttir, H. J., Fririksson, G. B., Johnsen, T. & Sletsen, H. (2002). Guidelines for the use of LCA in the waste management sector. Nordtest Technical Report, TR 517. Nordic Innovation Centre, Nordtest, Espro, Finland. Buttol, P., P. Masoni, Bonoli, A., Goldoni, S., Belladonna, V. & Cavazzuti, C. (2007): LCA of integrated MSW management systems: Case study of the Bologna District. Waste Management 27, pp. 1059-1070. Coleman, T., Masoni, P., Dryer, A. & McDougall, F. (2003): International Expert Group on Life Cycle Assessment for Integrated Waste Management. Int J LCA, 8 (3), pp. 175-178. Erickson, O., Reich, C., M. Frostell, B., Bjorklund, A., Assefa, G., Sundqvist J.-O., Granath, J., Baky, A. & Thyselius, L. (2005): Municipal solid waste management from a systems perspective. Journal of Cleaner Production, 13, pp. 241252. Finnveden, G., Johansson J., Lind, P. & Moberg, A. (2005): Life cycle assessment of energy from solid wastepart 1: general methodology and results. Journal of Cleaner Production, 13 pp. 213-229. Kirkeby, J. T., Birgisdottir H., Hansen T., L., Christensen, T. H., Bhander, G. S. & Hauschild M. (2006a): Environmental assessment of solid waste systems and technologies: EASEWASTE. Waste Management & Research, 24, pp. 3-15. Milit J. & Stanikis J. (2009): Application of Life Cycle Assessment in Optimisation of Municipal Waste Management Systems. Case of Lithuania. Waste Management and Research (accepted for publication), pp. Tillman, A.-M. (2000): Significance of decision-making for LCA methodology. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 20 pp. 113-123.