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A LCA study to investigate resource-efficient strategies for managing post-consumer gypsum waste in Lombardy region (Italy)

Pantini, S., Giurato, M., Rigamonti, L.
Resources, conservation, and recycling 2019 v.147 pp. 157-168
cement, data collection, disinfection, gypsum, life cycle inventory, local government, manufacturing, mixing, recycled materials, recycling, sewage sludge, supply balance, Italy
This study aimed at evaluating environmental sustainable solutions for managing the gypsum waste in Lombardy region (Italy), based on the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology. Primary data and information related to gypsum waste flows, recovery technologies and end-market of recycled materials were gathered to depict the whole recycling chain and to build up a life cycle inventory dataset specific for the geographical context under study. The LCA analysis of the current scenario allowed to identify strength and weak points of the regional system: up to date, most impacts are related to the recovery of gypsum waste by mixing with other mineral construction and demolition waste, which appeared as the prevalent option. Different alternative scenarios were hence analyzed by considering that all the gypsum waste is recycled in dedicated plants and by analyzing different end-uses of the recycled material. The focus was placed on four major sectors for which the use of recycled gypsum is technically feasible: plasterboard manufacturing, cement industry, disinfection of sewage sludge, and agriculture. For each analyzed end-use scenario, the potential market demand in Lombardy region as well as the technical requirements of the recycled gypsum were evaluated as key points in the LCA. Results from the impact assessment were used to provide recommendations for the regional government to move towards a more resource-efficient waste management.