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    Increasing amounts of municipal solid waste (MSW) has gained widely concern on reduction, utilization and minimizing environmental impacts associated with waste management. Life cycle assessment (LCA) has been used to evaluate total environmental impact of municipal waste management (MSWM) options in strategy-planning and decision-making process. The exiting LCA studies have covered a large range of detailed focus from waste treatment technology to applied modelling methods in LCA of MSWM, yet an important concern for stakeholders, the relationship between practical management strategies and their LCA results, has not been comprehensively summarized. This paper reviews recent LCA studies focusing on MSWM system in 45 cases from both developing and developed regions to promote evolution of the MSWM system through modification of waste management strategies. Selected literatures conducted LCA with system boundary covering the whole MSWM system rather than single treatment process or specific type of waste. This review has explored distribution and evolution of LCA studies in waste management field and summarized critical parameters (system boundary, functional unit, assessment approach and data uncertainty) for conducting LCA of MSWM system. Comparison results from 45 worldwide cases indicated 33%-154% environmental benefit in Global warming potential (GWP) impact with implement of integrated solid waste management system to replace single landfill, incineration, or open dumping treatment. Key issues with upgrading of MSWM system have been highlighted to raise concern, i.e., the importance of targeted management strategy on organic and recyclable waste, the growing contribution of waste collection and transportation to the total environmental impact, as well as promoting multi-impacts assessment for MSWM system to achieve environmentally effective, economically affordable, and socially acceptable. Rather than focus on technical factors, results from this study indicated the key influences from understanding local limitation, environmental concern, management chain and comprehensive impact, providing useful strategies on improving MSWM with generalization results of LCA studies. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


    Junting Zhang, Quande Qin, Guangming Li, Chao-Heng Tseng. Sustainable municipal waste management strategies through life cycle assessment method: A review. Journal of environmental management. 2021 Jun 01;287:112238

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    PMID: 33714044

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