Paper waste - Recycling, incineration or landfilling?

A review of existing life cycle assessments

Alejandro Villanueva, Henrik Wenzel

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

A review of existing life cycle assessments (LCAs) on paper and cardboard waste has been undertaken. The objectives of the review were threefold. Firstly, to see whether a consistent message comes out of published LCA literature on optimum disposal or recycling solutions for this waste type. Such message has implications for current policy formulation on material recycling and disposal in the EU. Secondly, to identify key methodological issues of paper waste management LCAs, and enlighten the influence of such issues on the conclusions of the LCA studies. Thirdly, in light of the analysis made, to discuss whether it is at all valid to use the LCA methodology in its current development state to guide policy decisions on paper waste.

A total of nine LCA studies containing altogether 73 scenarios were selected from a thorough, international literature search. The selected studies are LCAs including comparisons of different management options for waste paper.

Despite claims of inconsistency, the LCAs reviewed illustrate the environmental benefits in recycling over incineration or landfill options, for paper and cardboard waste. This broad consensus was found despite differences in geographic location and definitions of the paper recycling/disposal systems studied. A systematic exploration of the LCA studies showed, however, important methodological pitfalls and sources of error, mainly concerning differences in the definition of the system boundaries. Fifteen key assumptions were identified that cover the three paper cycle system areas: raw materials and forestry, paper production, and disposal/recovery. It was found that the outcome of the individual LCA studies largely depended on the choices made in some of these assumptions, most specifically the ones concerning energy use and generation, and forestry

Original languageEnglish
JournalWaste Management
Volume27
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)29-46
Number of pages18
ISSN0956-053X
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Fingerprint

incineration
life cycle
recycling
forestry
paper
waste recycling
energy use
waste management
landfill
methodology

Keywords

  • LCA, review, boundary conditions, key assumptions, paper, cardboard, recycling, incineration, landfill
  • Review
  • Boundary conditions
  • Key assumptions
  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Recycling
  • Incineration
  • Landfill

Cite this

@article{a527c220e6a911dc9a76000ea68e967b,
title = "Paper waste - Recycling, incineration or landfilling?: A review of existing life cycle assessments",
abstract = "A review of existing life cycle assessments (LCAs) on paper and cardboard waste has been undertaken. The objectives of the review were threefold. Firstly, to see whether a consistent message comes out of published LCA literature on optimum disposal or recycling solutions for this waste type. Such message has implications for current policy formulation on material recycling and disposal in the EU. Secondly, to identify key methodological issues of paper waste management LCAs, and enlighten the influence of such issues on the conclusions of the LCA studies. Thirdly, in light of the analysis made, to discuss whether it is at all valid to use the LCA methodology in its current development state to guide policy decisions on paper waste. A total of nine LCA studies containing altogether 73 scenarios were selected from a thorough, international literature search. The selected studies are LCAs including comparisons of different management options for waste paper. Despite claims of inconsistency, the LCAs reviewed illustrate the environmental benefits in recycling over incineration or landfill options, for paper and cardboard waste. This broad consensus was found despite differences in geographic location and definitions of the paper recycling/disposal systems studied. A systematic exploration of the LCA studies showed, however, important methodological pitfalls and sources of error, mainly concerning differences in the definition of the system boundaries. Fifteen key assumptions were identified that cover the three paper cycle system areas: raw materials and forestry, paper production, and disposal/recovery. It was found that the outcome of the individual LCA studies largely depended on the choices made in some of these assumptions, most specifically the ones concerning energy use and generation, and forestry",
keywords = "LCA, Review, Papir, Genbrug, Forbr{\ae}nding, Deponi, Sammenligning, LCA, review, boundary conditions, key assumptions, paper, cardboard, recycling, incineration, landfill, Review, Boundary conditions, Key assumptions, Paper, Cardboard, Recycling, Incineration, Landfill",
author = "Alejandro Villanueva and Henrik Wenzel",
year = "2007",
language = "English",
volume = "27",
pages = "29--46",
journal = "Waste Management",
issn = "0956-053X",
publisher = "Pergamon Press",
number = "8",

}

Paper waste - Recycling, incineration or landfilling? A review of existing life cycle assessments. / Villanueva, Alejandro; Wenzel, Henrik.

In: Waste Management, Vol. 27, No. 8, 2007, p. 29-46.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Paper waste - Recycling, incineration or landfilling?

T2 - A review of existing life cycle assessments

AU - Villanueva, Alejandro

AU - Wenzel, Henrik

PY - 2007

Y1 - 2007

N2 - A review of existing life cycle assessments (LCAs) on paper and cardboard waste has been undertaken. The objectives of the review were threefold. Firstly, to see whether a consistent message comes out of published LCA literature on optimum disposal or recycling solutions for this waste type. Such message has implications for current policy formulation on material recycling and disposal in the EU. Secondly, to identify key methodological issues of paper waste management LCAs, and enlighten the influence of such issues on the conclusions of the LCA studies. Thirdly, in light of the analysis made, to discuss whether it is at all valid to use the LCA methodology in its current development state to guide policy decisions on paper waste. A total of nine LCA studies containing altogether 73 scenarios were selected from a thorough, international literature search. The selected studies are LCAs including comparisons of different management options for waste paper. Despite claims of inconsistency, the LCAs reviewed illustrate the environmental benefits in recycling over incineration or landfill options, for paper and cardboard waste. This broad consensus was found despite differences in geographic location and definitions of the paper recycling/disposal systems studied. A systematic exploration of the LCA studies showed, however, important methodological pitfalls and sources of error, mainly concerning differences in the definition of the system boundaries. Fifteen key assumptions were identified that cover the three paper cycle system areas: raw materials and forestry, paper production, and disposal/recovery. It was found that the outcome of the individual LCA studies largely depended on the choices made in some of these assumptions, most specifically the ones concerning energy use and generation, and forestry

AB - A review of existing life cycle assessments (LCAs) on paper and cardboard waste has been undertaken. The objectives of the review were threefold. Firstly, to see whether a consistent message comes out of published LCA literature on optimum disposal or recycling solutions for this waste type. Such message has implications for current policy formulation on material recycling and disposal in the EU. Secondly, to identify key methodological issues of paper waste management LCAs, and enlighten the influence of such issues on the conclusions of the LCA studies. Thirdly, in light of the analysis made, to discuss whether it is at all valid to use the LCA methodology in its current development state to guide policy decisions on paper waste. A total of nine LCA studies containing altogether 73 scenarios were selected from a thorough, international literature search. The selected studies are LCAs including comparisons of different management options for waste paper. Despite claims of inconsistency, the LCAs reviewed illustrate the environmental benefits in recycling over incineration or landfill options, for paper and cardboard waste. This broad consensus was found despite differences in geographic location and definitions of the paper recycling/disposal systems studied. A systematic exploration of the LCA studies showed, however, important methodological pitfalls and sources of error, mainly concerning differences in the definition of the system boundaries. Fifteen key assumptions were identified that cover the three paper cycle system areas: raw materials and forestry, paper production, and disposal/recovery. It was found that the outcome of the individual LCA studies largely depended on the choices made in some of these assumptions, most specifically the ones concerning energy use and generation, and forestry

KW - LCA

KW - Review

KW - Papir

KW - Genbrug

KW - Forbrænding

KW - Deponi

KW - Sammenligning

KW - LCA, review, boundary conditions, key assumptions, paper, cardboard, recycling, incineration, landfill

KW - Review

KW - Boundary conditions

KW - Key assumptions

KW - Paper

KW - Cardboard

KW - Recycling

KW - Incineration

KW - Landfill

M3 - Journal article

VL - 27

SP - 29

EP - 46

JO - Waste Management

JF - Waste Management

SN - 0956-053X

IS - 8

ER -