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Environmental Assessment Of Alternative Municipal Solid Waste Management Strategies. A Spanish Case Study.

M. D. Bovea, V. Ibáñez-Forés, A. Gallardo, F. J. Colomer-Mendoza
Published 2010 · Engineering, Medicine

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The aim of this study is to compare, from an environmental point of view, different alternatives for the management of municipal solid waste generated in the town of Castellón de la Plana (Spain). This town currently produces 207 ton of waste per day and the waste management system employed today involves the collection of paper/cardboard, glass and light packaging from materials banks and of rest waste at street-side containers. The proposed alternative scenarios were based on a combination of the following elements: selective collection targets to be accomplished by the year 2015 as specified in the Spanish National Waste Plan (assuming they are reached to an extent of 50% and 100%), different collection models implemented nationally, and diverse treatments of both the separated biodegradable fraction and the rest waste to be disposed of on landfills. This resulted in 24 scenarios, whose environmental behaviour was studied by applying the life cycle assessment methodology. In accordance with the ISO 14040-44 (2006) standard, an inventory model was developed for the following stages of the waste management life cycle: pre-collection (bags and containers), collection, transport, pre-treatment (waste separation) and treatment/disposal (recycling, composting, biogasification+composting, landfill with/without energy recovery). Environmental indicators were obtained for different impact categories, which made it possible to identify the key variables in the waste management system and the scenario that offers the best environmental behaviour. Finally, a sensitivity analysis was used to test some of the assumptions made in the initial life cycle inventory model.
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