Comparative environmental analysis of waste brominated plastic thermal treatments.Waste Manag. 2009 Mar; 29(3):1095-102.WM
The aim of this research activity is to investigate the environmental impact of different thermal treatments of waste electric and electronic equipment (WEEE), applying a life cycle assessment methodology. Two scenarios were assessed, which both allow the recovery of bromine: (A) the co-combustion of WEEE and green waste in a municipal solid waste combustion plant, and (B) the staged-gasification of WEEE and combustion of produced syngas in gas turbines. Mass and energy balances on the two scenarios were set and the analysis of the life cycle inventory and the life cycle impact assessment were conducted. Two impact assessment methods (Ecoindicator 99 and Impact 2002+) were slightly modified and then used with both scenarios. The results showed that scenario B (staged-gasification) had a potentially smaller environmental impact than scenario A (co-combustion). In particular, the thermal treatment of staged-gasification was more energy efficient than co-combustion, and therefore scenario B performed better than scenario A, mainly in the impact categories of "fossil fuels" and "climate change". Moreover, the results showed that scenario B allows a higher recovery of bromine than scenario A; however, Br recovery leads to environmental benefits for both the scenarios. Finally the study demonstrates that WEEE thermal treatment for energy and matter recovery is an eco-efficient way to dispose of this kind of waste.