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22-04-2015 | ORIGINAL ARTICLE | Issue 1/2017

Journal of Material Cycles and Waste Management 1/2017

Life cycle assessment and valuation of the packaging waste recycling system in Belgium

Journal:
Journal of Material Cycles and Waste Management > Issue 1/2017
Authors:
S. Ferreira, M. Cabral, Simon De Jaeger, Nuno F. Da Cruz, P. Simões, R. C. Marques

Abstract

This study analyses the packaging waste management system in Belgium. Waste management operations involve a significant number of processes associated with energy consumption and emission of pollutants in air and water. To assess the impact on the environment of the several waste management operations, a life cycle assessment was developed. The operations of selective and refuse collection, sorting, recycling and incineration of packaging waste were considered. A comparison between two scenarios was developed. The first scenario comprised the packaging waste management system in operation in 2010. This system comprises the waste management operations envisaging the recycling of the packaging materials. The second scenario was developed based on the hypothesis that there was no recycling system and all packaging waste would be collected in the refuse collection system. An environmental valuation was performed to convert the environmental results into a common unit (EUR). To accomplish this valuation, three methods were used: Ecocost, Ecovalue and Stepwise. These methods were developed in Europe and follow different methodologies. The environmental results were compared using the three methods and they were consistent with the conclusion that the recycling scenario (i.e. the actual situation in 2010) is more environmentally sound.

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