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Comparison of Collection Schemes of Municipal Solid Waste Metallic Fraction: The Impacts on Global Warming Potential for the Case of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, Finland

Kuusiola, Timo, Wierink, Maaria, Heiskanen, Kari
Sustainability 2012 v.4 no.10 pp. 2586-2610
carbon footprint, global warming potential, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, life cycle assessment, metals, metropolitan areas, municipal solid waste, recycling, residential areas, transportation, Finland
In this research article the sustainability of different practices to collect the metal fraction of household waste in the Helsinki metropolitan area, Finland is examined. The study is carried out by calculating and comparing the greenhouse gas reduction potential of optional practices for collecting the metal fraction of household waste in the Helsinki metropolitan area, Finland. In order to locate the greenhouse gas reduction potential of the separate collection of the metallic fraction of municipal solid waste (MSW) collected from residential sources, a comparative carbon footprint analysis using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) on six different waste management scenarios is carried out. The modeled system consisted of a waste collection system, transportation, and different waste management alternatives, including on-site separation, separation at the waste management facility as well as metallurgical recovery of separated scrap. The results show that, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, separate collection and recycling of the metallic fraction of solid MSW at residential properties is the preferable option compared to a scenario with no source sorting and incineration of everything. According to this research scenario where the metal fraction of solid household waste was not source-separated or collected separately have clearly higher greenhouse gas emissions compared to all the other scenarios with separate collection for metals. In addition, metal recycling by regional collection points has considerably lower greenhouse gas emission potential than metal recycling by collection directly from residential properties.