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Solid waste disposal has led to increasing concerns over resource, health, and environmental problems. These issues have been investigated using the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) technique which helps identify the roots of varying hazards and allows decision-makers to improve the environmental performance of waste management practices. However, there is a lack of review studies that conducted meta-analysis related to developments in critical methodological steps of LCA on solid waste management. To fill this gap, this review paper examines 15 elements comprising the preference of journals, 13 LCA method-related characteristics, and economic assessment. Insights on the limitations and current practices of LCA applications, along with trends for future research, are provided. 240 studies on the LCA of SWM from 2009 until 2020 were systematically reviewed and classified into two major year-groups (i.e., 2009-2014 and 2015-2020) to investigate the trend changes. Among the studied elements, it is found that energy-related applications are on the increase in LCA studies on solid waste management. Anaerobic digestion facilities nearly double in appearance in the second year-group (2015-2020). There is also a more frequent occurrence of certain characterization methods like ReCiPe and CML. Functional units become more diverse, but are overall mostly defined on a mass basis. A frequently identified issue of many LCAs on solid waste management is the ambiguity of data sources such as out-of-date literature or inconsistent geographical references. By addressing issues of methodological standardization, this review study provides a basis to further increase the reliability of results of future LCA studies on solid waste management. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Kyle Sebastian Mulya, Jinqin Zhou, Zhen Xin Phuang, David Laner, Kok Sin Woon. A systematic review of life cycle assessment of solid waste management: Methodological trends and prospects. The Science of the total environment. 2022 Jul 20;831:154903

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PMID: 35367543

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