Assessment of the environmental impact of management measures for the biodegradable fraction of municipal solid waste in São Paulo City.Waste Manag. 2003; 23(5):403-9.WM
There is increasing concern about landfilling of biodegradable wastes. Therefore, biological treatment processes such as composting and biogasification have been considered as alternative strategies for managing those wastes. In this work, life cycle assessment was employed to compare the environmental impacts of landfilling, composting, and biological treatment of municipal solid waste in São Paulo City, Brazil. Energy consumption, recovered resources, and emissions to air and water were quantified and analyzed in terms of their potential contribution to global warming, acidification, and nutrient enrichment impact. The results demonstrated that processes that require high levels of energy consumption, such as wastewater treatment, play an important role in the outcome of environmental impact potentials. It was found that the landfilling of all waste is generally the worst strategy from an environmental point of view. However, significant reductions in the resulting impacts can be accomplished through biogasification and composting of the biodegradable fraction. Regarding composting, the application of a biofilter for gas treatment reduced significantly the gaseous emissions.