LCA: a decision support tool for environmental assessment of MSW management systems.J Environ Manage. 2008 Apr; 87(1):132-8.JE
Life cycle assessment (LCA) can be successfully applied to municipal solid waste (MSW) management systems to identify the overall environmental burdens and to assess the potential environmental impacts. In this study, two methods used for current MSW management in Phuket, a province of Thailand, landfilling (without energy recovery) and incineration (with energy recovery), are compared from both energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission points of view. The comparisons are based on a direct activity consideration and also a life cycle perspective. In both cases as well as for both parameters considered, incineration was found to be superior to landfilling. However, the performance of incineration was much better when a life cycle perspective was used. Also, landfilling reversed to be superior to incineration when methane recovery and electricity production were introduced. This study reveals that a complete picture of the environmental performance of MSW management systems is provided by using a life cycle perspective.