New study by Ágnes Óvári and co-authors in Waste Management scientific journal

07/29/2021 | 11:26
New study by Ágnes Óvári and co-authors in Waste Management scientific journal

This study focuses on a comprehensive sustainability assessment of the management of the organic fraction of municipal solid waste in Ghent (Belgium), Hamburg (Germany) and Pécs (Hungary). A sustainability assessment framework has been applied to analyse social, environmental, and economic consequences at the midpoint level (25 impact categories) and at the endpoint level (5 areas-of-protection).

Sustainability assessment of organic waste management in three EU Cities:

Analysing stakeholder-based solutions

Volume 132, 1 August 2021, Pages 44-55


Highlights

 

  • We applied a sustainability framework to assess the OFMSW management in EU cities.
  • Solutions for the prevention, collection and treatment of OFMSW are assessed.
  • Food waste prevention improves the performance of all the areas of protection.
  • Trade-offs can jeopardise improvements when increasing separate collection.

 

Abstract

 

This study focuses on a comprehensive sustainability assessment of the management of the organic fraction of municipal solid waste in Ghent (Belgium), Hamburg (Germany) and Pécs (Hungary). A sustainability assessment framework has been applied to analyse social, environmental, and economic consequences at the midpoint level (25 impact categories) and at the endpoint level (5 areas-of-protection). For each case study, the reference scenario was analysed, along with three solutions to improve the sustainability performance, which were selected and developed with the collaboration of local stakeholders. The solutions focus on food waste prevention, collection (increasing separate collection and household composting) and/or valorisation treatment (insect breeding, bioplastic production and improvement of centralised treatment). The results show that food waste prevention results in substantial improvements in all areas of protection when a significant quantity of food is saved. Solutions proposing innovative treatments such as insect breeding do not show clear improvements at the endpoint level, given current technology development level, but appear promising for some categories such as Revenues, Ecotoxicity, Land Use or Particulate Matter if the substituted products compensate the impact of the treatment (e.g., energy and water use). Enhancing the separate collection of organic waste can improve sustainability, but trade-offs may arise, e.g., decreased environmental savings from energy recovery at incineration. For this, the influence of the electricity mix (more or less decarbonised) should be carefully considered in future studies. The application of the solutions proposed to other cities should also consider potential bottlenecks such as legislation barriers, public acceptance, or management costs.

 

Keywords

 

Life cycle assessment
LCA
Organic municipal solid waste
Food waste
Waste management system
Social impacts

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