Greenhouse Gas Reduction Potential through Municipal Solid Waste Management
Comparative Analysis of MSW Management Strategies
Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) management has evolved a great deal over the past century to meet demands from growing populations. This study examines five different waste streams and six distinct management scenarios and determines how each management scenario affects the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of a given waste stream. Two previously developed models are used in this study, MSWFLOW and WARM. The MSWFLOW model analyzes the waste stream by product and calculates landfill mass and volume, methane produced in a landfill and electrical energy produced from combustion in a waste-to-energy (WTE) facility. The WARM model analyzes the waste stream by materials, and calculates GHG emissions and energy savings. The results clearly demonstrate that maximizing recycling rates is the best management strategy to increase energy savings and reduce GHG emissions. The potential energy savings and reduction in GHG emissions for a waste stream are determined largely by a short list of materials that have significant energy savings (aluminum, carpet, plastic). Composting has relatively little impact on GHG emissions and energy savings except in waste streams with high levels of food or yard waste.
Greenhouse Gas; Municipal Solid Waste