Strategic and operational decisions in waste management, in particular with respect to investments in new treatment facilities, are needed due to a number of factors, including continuously increasing amounts of waste, political demands for efficient utilization of waste resources, and the decommissioning of existing waste treatment facilities. Optimization models can assist in ensuring that these investment strategies are economically feasible.Various economic optimization models for waste treatment have been developed which focus on different parameters. Models focusing on transport are one example, but models focusing on energy production have also been developed, as well as models which take into account a plant’s economies of scale, environmental impact, material recovery and social costs. Finally, models combining different criteria for the selection of waste treatment methods in multi-criteria analysis have been developed.A thorough updated review of the existing models is presented, and the main challenges and crucial parameters that need to be taken into account when assessing the economic performance of waste treatment alternatives are identified. The review article will assist both policy-makers and model-developers involved in assessing the economic performance of waste treatment alternatives.