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Evaluating the life cycle climate impacts of solid waste management

Evaluating the life cycle climate impacts of solid waste management
Evaluating the life cycle climate impacts of solid waste management
This thesis comprises three papers that address the evaluation of potential climate impacts of solid waste management (SWM) systems and processes from a life cycle perspective for purpose of decision-support. Paper I presents a critical review of the carbon footprint quantification and communication practice of large UK-based waste management companies. Results indicated a lack of methodological consistency and transparency in current practice, emphasising the need for a robust, transparent, and standardised approach to corporate carbon footprint quantification and reporting.

Paper I also describes the importance of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission factors (EF) in helping stakeholders better understand and address the potential climate impacts of their SWM activities. However, existing EFs were reviewed in Paper II and were found to lack transparency and breadth. Consequently, Paper II presents an original and fully transparent series of GHG EFs for the recycling of a wide range of source-segregated materials . Results showed that materials recycling generally leads to (often substantial) climate benefits, due to avoided primary material production. However, results also highlighted the dearth of available high quality materials recycling life cycle inventory data, which are essential to support effective SWM decision-making.

Paper III presents a novel, practical framework for evaluating the potential climate impacts of complex SWM systems through the innovative use of publically-available waste flow data and a combined material flow analysis (MFA) and LCA approach. The performance of a complete, meso-level SWM system was evaluated and the potential effectiveness of real world waste policies was analysed. Results showed that landfilling was the greatest source of potential impacts for the existing system, whilst the increased diversion of food waste from landfill lead to the greatest reduction in potential impacts.

Overall, this thesis presents an original, practical analytical framework and valuable information to support decision makers at multiple levels in evaluating the potential life cycle climate impacts of their SWM activities.
Turner, David
39dc4dc8-88b4-4950-8bbd-c647ff110ec9
Turner, David
39dc4dc8-88b4-4950-8bbd-c647ff110ec9
Williams, Ian
c9d674ac-ee69-4937-ab43-17e716266e22

(2016) Evaluating the life cycle climate impacts of solid waste management. University of Southampton, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, Doctoral Thesis, 609pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This thesis comprises three papers that address the evaluation of potential climate impacts of solid waste management (SWM) systems and processes from a life cycle perspective for purpose of decision-support. Paper I presents a critical review of the carbon footprint quantification and communication practice of large UK-based waste management companies. Results indicated a lack of methodological consistency and transparency in current practice, emphasising the need for a robust, transparent, and standardised approach to corporate carbon footprint quantification and reporting.

Paper I also describes the importance of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission factors (EF) in helping stakeholders better understand and address the potential climate impacts of their SWM activities. However, existing EFs were reviewed in Paper II and were found to lack transparency and breadth. Consequently, Paper II presents an original and fully transparent series of GHG EFs for the recycling of a wide range of source-segregated materials . Results showed that materials recycling generally leads to (often substantial) climate benefits, due to avoided primary material production. However, results also highlighted the dearth of available high quality materials recycling life cycle inventory data, which are essential to support effective SWM decision-making.

Paper III presents a novel, practical framework for evaluating the potential climate impacts of complex SWM systems through the innovative use of publically-available waste flow data and a combined material flow analysis (MFA) and LCA approach. The performance of a complete, meso-level SWM system was evaluated and the potential effectiveness of real world waste policies was analysed. Results showed that landfilling was the greatest source of potential impacts for the existing system, whilst the increased diversion of food waste from landfill lead to the greatest reduction in potential impacts.

Overall, this thesis presents an original, practical analytical framework and valuable information to support decision makers at multiple levels in evaluating the potential life cycle climate impacts of their SWM activities.

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Final e-thesis for e-prints David Turner - 22208747 - 11.03.2016.pdf - Other
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More information

Published date: March 2016
Organisations: University of Southampton, Centre for Environmental Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 398127
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/398127
PURE UUID: 1a3cb732-5b05-4575-8fc0-41520998eee9
ORCID for Ian Williams: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0121-1219

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 20 Jul 2016 12:40
Last modified: 06 Jun 2018 12:42

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