Khandelwal, Harshit and Dhar, Hiya and Thalla, Aru Kumar and Kumar, Sunil (2019) Application of life cycle assessment in municipal solid waste management: A worldwide critical review. Journal of Cleaner Production, 209. pp. 630-654. ISSN 0959-6526, ESSN: 1879-1786

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The whopping increase in solid waste generation all over the world calls for the development of waste management strategies for a sustainable environment. By the quantification of environmental impacts, life cycle assessment (LCA) tool can help in answering the call. It evaluates the environmental performance of municipal solid waste management (MSWM) system which helps decision-maker in selecting the best management strategy with minimum impacts on the environment. But, up to what extent the LCA methodology can be applied to MSWM systems? To address this question, the present study analyzed the 153 LCA studies published till date since 2013 all over the world. The present study analyzed the time evolution, geographical distribution, and methodology applied in LCA studies. It summarized the use of the functional unit, LCA model, Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) method, MSWM options, and the critical findings of the selected LCAs, along with MSW composition, income group, and the gaps in the application of the studies. For evaluating the dependence of publication of studies and country's economic condition, the countries in which LCA studies were conducted are classified into four groups on the basis of income level viz., lower income, lower middle income, upper middle income, and higher income countries. In terms of technological coverage, 1 ton of MSW was the most used functional unit. SimaPro was the majorly used LCA model while 56 of the total studies didn't mention about the use of LCA model, only 66 of the total studies included sensitivity analysis in the assessment. Integrated solid waste management was found to be the most preferred waste management option. Also, a very limited number of studies have included life cycle costing and social aspects of MSWM system. The results indicated that the majority of the LCA studies are based in Europe and Asia. Shockingly, 178 out of the total countries in the world have not published a single LCA study on MSWM since 2013. Also, it was found that the effect of increasing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on the publication of LCA studies is irrelevant, possible reasons being the lack of data, time and economic constraints. Establishment of environment-friendly policies and initiatives by the Government along with the participation of public, non-government and private organizations through training courses and seminars might help in improving the LCA applicability in the field of MSWM.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Life Cycle Assessment; Municipal Solid Waste Management; Waste Treatment; Waste Disposal; LCA; LCI
Subjects: Solid Waste Treatment & Disposal
Depositing User: Mr. RK Lohiya
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2019 09:40
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2019 09:40

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