Environmental assessment of existing and alternative options for management of municipal solid waste in Brazil

Priscila De Morais Lima*, Diogo Appel Colvero, Ana Paula Gomes, Henrik Wenzel, Valdir Schalch, Ciprian Cimpan


Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Life cycle assessment (LCA) was used to evaluate and compare three different categories of management systems for municipal solid waste (MSW) in Brazil: (1) mixed waste direct disposal systems, (2) separate collection systems, based on wet-dry streams, and (3) mixed waste mechanical-biological systems, including materials recovery. System scenarios were built around main treatment techniques available and applicable in developing countries, and considered barriers as well as potential synergies between waste management and other industrial production. In the first category systems, we measured the impact magnitude of improper disposal sites (semi-controlled and controlled dumps) still used for approximately 40% of collected MSW, and found that sanitary landfills could decrease it 3–5 fold (e.g. GWP, from 1100–1200 to 250–450 kg CO2 eq. t−1 waste). As an alternative, waste incineration did not show significant benefits over sanitary landfilling, due to limitations in energy utilization and the low-carbon background electricity system. Category two of systems, revealed recycling benefits and the necessity as well as potential risks of biological treatment for wet streams. Simple wet-dry collection could result in relatively high levels of contamination in compost outputs, which should be mitigated by intensive pre- and post-treatment. Potential impact of air emissions from biological degradation processes was important even after anaerobic digestion processes. Biogas upgrading and use as vehicle fuel resulted in bigger savings compared to direct electricity production. Lastly, category three, mechanical-biological systems, displayed savings in most environmental impact categories, associated with materials recovery for recycling and refuse-derived fuel (RDF) production and utilization in cement manufacturing.

TidsskriftWaste Management
Sider (fra-til)857-870
StatusUdgivet - 2018


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