Collection, transfer and transport of waste: accounting of greenhouse gases and global warming contribution
Publication: Research - peer-review › Journal article – Annual report year: 2009
The collection, transfer and transport of waste are basic activities of waste management systems all over the world. These activities all use energy and fuels, primarily of fossil origin. Electricity and fuel consumptions of the individual processes were reviewed and greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions were quantified. The emission factors were assigned a global warming potential (GWP) and aggregated into global warming factors (GWFs), which express the potential contribution to global warming from collection, transport and transfer of 1 tonne of wet waste. Six examples involving collection, transfer and transport of waste were assessed in terms of GHG emissions, including both provision and use of energy. (GHG emissions related to production, maintenance and disposal of vehicles, equipment, infrastructure and buildings were excluded.) The estimated GWFs varied from 9.4 to 368 kg CO2-equivalent (kg CO2-eq.) per tonne of waste, depending on method of collection, capacity and choice of transport equipment, and travel distances. The GHG emissions can be reduced primarily by avoiding transport of waste in private cars and by optimization of long distance transport, for example, considering transport by rail and waterways.
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