TA11B Modeling of Recycling and Waste Management
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM, Tuesday

() Application of a Life Cycle Tool to the Assessment of Waste Conversion Technologies.

Weitz, Keith1, 1 RTI International, RTP, NC, 27707

ABSTRACT- More than 230 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) was generated in 2003 and over $40 billion dollars was spent on managing this waste. Decisions on how to best manage MSW are contentious, expensive, and have a substantial impacts to the environment. A general lack of scientific information about options for MSW management creates the need for sound data and tools. RTI International worked in cooperation with the U.S. EPA to develop a life cycle assessment-based decision support tool to support MSW management analysis and planning. The MSW decision support tool (MSW DST) is a comprehensive screening-level tool that was designed for use in conjunction with community- or region-specific information (such as waste generation and composition, recycling programs, and facility design and operation parameters) to evaluate the cost and life cycle environmental aspects (energy consumption, air emissions, water pollution, and solid waste) of existing and proposed future alternative waste management strategies. The main goal of the MSW DST is to users identify and implement MSW management strategies that result in economically and environmental sustainable. The MSW DST recently supported the life cycle assessment of waste conversion technologies in the State of California. Waste conversion technologies are designed to utilize the nonrecovered, carbonaceous fraction of the waste stream to produce energy and/or useful products. Three specific technologies were assessed, including acid hydrolysis, gasification, and catalytic cracking. The approach, methods, and findings from this study will be presented.

Key words: conversion technologies, solid waste, life cycle assessment, decision support tool

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