Life cycle assessment of four municipal solid waste management scenarios in China.Waste Manag. 2010 Nov; 30(11):2362-9.WM
A life cycle assessment was carried out to estimate the environmental impact of municipal solid waste. Four scenarios mostly used in China were compared to assess the influence of various technologies on environment: (1) landfill, (2) incineration, (3) composting plus landfill, and (4) composting plus incineration. In all scenarios, the technologies significantly contribute to global warming and increase the adverse impact of non-carcinogens on the environment. The technologies played only a small role in the impact of carcinogens, respiratory inorganics, terrestrial ecotoxicity, and non-renewable energy. Similarly, the influence of the technologies on the way other elements affect the environment was ignorable. Specifically, the direct emissions from the operation processes involved played an important role in most scenarios except for incineration, while potential impact generated from transport, infrastructure and energy consumption were quite small. In addition, in the global warming category, highest potential impact was observed in landfill because of the direct methane gas emissions. Electricity recovery from methane gas was the key factor for reducing the potential impact of global warming. Therefore, increasing the use of methane gas to recover electricity is highly recommended to reduce the adverse impact of landfills on the environment.