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This article takes a detailed look at an uncertainty factor in waste management LCA that has not been widely discussed previously, namely the uncertainty in waste composition. Waste composition is influenced by many factors; it can vary from year to year, seasonally, and with location, for example. The data publicly available at a municipal level can be highly aggregated and sometimes incomplete, and performing composition analysis is technically challenging. Uncertainty is therefore always present in waste composition. This article performs uncertainty analysis on a systematically modified waste composition using a constructed waste management system. In addition the environmental impacts of several waste management strategies are compared when applied to five different cities. We thus discuss the effect of uncertainty in both accounting LCA and comparative LCA. We found the waste composition to be important for the total environmental impact of the system, especially for the global warming, nutrient enrichment and human toxicity via water impact categories. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Helene Slagstad, Helge Brattebø. Influence of assumptions about household waste composition in waste management LCAs. Waste management (New York, N.Y.). 2013 Jan;33(1):212-9

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PMID: 23117136

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