Greenhouse gas emissions of waste management processes and options : a case study

de la Barrera, Belen and Hooda, Peter S. (2016) Greenhouse gas emissions of waste management processes and options : a case study. Waste Management & Research, 34(7), pp. 658-665. ISSN (print) 0734-242X


Increasing concern about climate change is prompting organisations to mitigate their greenhouse gas emissions. Waste management activities also contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. In the waste management sector, there has been an increasing diversion of waste sent to landfill, with much emphasis on recycling and reuse to prevent emissions. This study evaluates the carbon footprint of the different processes involved in waste management systems, considering the entire waste management stream. Waste management data from the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, London (UK), was used to estimate the carbon footprint for its (Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames) current source segregation system. Second, modelled full and partial co-mingling scenarios were used to estimate carbon emissions from these proposed waste management approaches. The greenhouse gas emissions from the entire waste management system at Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames were 12,347 t CO2e for the source-segregated scenario, and 11,907 t CO2e for the partial co-mingled model. These emissions amount to 203.26 kg CO2e t(-1) and 196.02 kg CO2e t(-1) municipal solid waste for source-segregated and partial co-mingled, respectively. The change from a source segregation fleet to a partial co-mingling fleet reduced the emissions, at least partly owing to a change in the number and type of vehicles.

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