Data Summary of Municipal Solid Waste Management Alternatives. Volume 1: Report Text Page: 53 of 216
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" Environmental releases
" Capital and operating costs.
Although about 70% of MSW is collected and transported directly to a landfill, munici-
palities often add other technologies to create an integrated strategy for MSW management.
Accordingly, the data on individual waste management technologies were combined to calculate
energy balances and environmental releases for the integrated strategies defined in Table 1.1.
(Costs are presented only for the process technologies.)
In compiling data about energy requirements and environmental releases, a life-cycle as-
sessment framework was used. That approach generally followed life-cycle assessment practice
as described, for example, by the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC,
The MSW life cycle was defined as extending from the waste's origin-the point at which
the waste is placed by the generator (a household, commercial establishment, or institution) for
collection by a municipality (e.g., at the curb for household waste), through any and all trans-
portation and processing operations, to its final disposition, such as through recycling, combus-
tion, and landfilling operations. The MSW technologies that were investigated can be combined
or integrated in several ways, as illustrated in Figure 1.1. For each operation*, data describing
net energy balances and environmental releases were compiled and converted to a common basis
of one (1) ton of MSW placed for collection. These data can be combined to determine the
overall net energy balances and environmental releases for a given integrated MSW management
Data on energy requirements and recovery and on emissions to air, water, and land are re-
ported on a consistent basis in pounds per ton of MSW processed. That format was chosen to
simplify comparisons between the various approaches to MSW disposal.
Conversion of emissions data to that uniform basis is complicated because emissions are
usually reported in terms of concentrations. For example, sources may provide data in nano-
grams of dioxin per cubic meter of stack gas without mentioning the quantity of MSW fuel fed to
the facility, the stack gas flow rates, or even indirect measures of those quantities. Thus, in some
cases it was necessary to make assumptions about average MSW consumption and heating value
to convert emissions data. The assumptions have undoubtedly introduced systematic errors
leading to uncertainties of perhaps 30% in the emissions estimates given here. The range of
those uncertainties, however, is far smaller than the range of emissions estimates reported in the
literature. In actual process tests, individual measurements for the same equipment sometimes
differ from each other by factors of up to 10.
* Remanufacturing operations for materials recycling are not covered in detail, although net energy balances for
remanufacture are provided.
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SRI International. Data Summary of Municipal Solid Waste Management Alternatives. Volume 1: Report Text, report, October 1992; Golden, Colorado. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1310776/m1/53/: accessed May 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.