Cost-effectiveness of alternative strategies in mitigating the greenhouse impact of waste management in three communities of different size

Riitta Pipatti, Margareta Wihersaari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Waste management is a significant source of methane (CH4) emissions. CH4 is second to carbon dioxide (CO2) the most important anthropogenic greenhouse gas. In this article the methodology and results from a study on the reduction potential of alternative waste treatment strategies in mitigating the greenhouse impact are presented. The objective is to provide information to decision makers so that the greenhouse issue can be included in the decision making on waste management strategies.

The potential cost-effectiveness of reducing the greenhouse impact of alternative waste treatment strategies in three communities of different size in Finland is assessed. The estimation of the greenhouse impact includes estimates of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the amount of carbon (C) stored at landfills (Csink) and the emission savings that can be achieved by using waste for energy production (assumed decrease in the use of fossil fuels).

Landfill gas recovery with energy production was found to be the most-efficient way in reducing the greenhouse impact from large landfills. Burning of all the waste or the combustible fraction in municipal solid waste (MSW) was also an efficient method to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially if the energy produced can reduce the burning of fossil fuels.

Emissions from transportation of waste are small compared with the emissions from landfills. Even if the transportion mileage is doubled due to increasing separation and recycling the greenhouse impact of transportation would be only 3–4 percent of the impact of landfilling the waste.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-358
JournalMitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change
Volume2
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1997
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • energy
  • energy production
  • emissions
  • greenhouse effect
  • greenhouse gases
  • methane
  • carbon dioxide
  • costs
  • environmental impacts
  • environmental protection

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