Eco-efficiency for greenhouse gas emissions mitigation of municipal solid waste management: a case study of Tianjin, China.Waste Manag. 2011 Jun; 31(6):1407-15.WM
The issue of municipal solid waste (MSW) management has been highlighted in China due to the continually increasing MSW volumes being generated and the limited capacity of waste treatment facilities. This article presents a quantitative eco-efficiency (E/E) analysis on MSW management in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation. A methodology for E/E analysis has been proposed, with an emphasis on the consistent integration of life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle costing (LCC). The environmental and economic impacts derived from LCA and LCC have been normalized and defined as a quantitative E/E indicator. The proposed method was applied in a case study of Tianjin, China. The study assessed the current MSW management system, as well as a set of alternative scenarios, to investigate trade-offs between economy and GHG emissions mitigation. Additionally, contribution analysis was conducted on both LCA and LCC to identify key issues driving environmental and economic impacts. The results show that the current Tianjin's MSW management system emits the highest GHG and costs the least, whereas the situation reverses in the integrated scenario. The key issues identified by the contribution analysis show no linear relationship between the global warming impact and the cost impact in MSW management system. The landfill gas utilization scenario is indicated as a potential optimum scenario by the proposed E/E analysis, given the characteristics of MSW, technology levels, and chosen methodologies. The E/E analysis provides an attractive direction towards sustainable waste management, though some questions with respect to uncertainty need to be discussed further.