The environmental impacts of municipal solid waste management in Beijing City were evaluated using a life-cycle-based model, EASEWASTE, to take into account waste generation, collection, transportation, treatment/disposal technologies, and savings obtained by energy and material recovery. The current system, mainly involving the use of landfills, has manifested significant adverse environmental impacts caused by methane emissions from landfills and many other emissions from transfer stations. A short-term future scenario, where some of the landfills (which soon will reach their capacity because of rising amount of waste in Beijing City) are substituted by incinerators with energy recovery, would not result in significant environmental improvement. This is primarily because of the low calorific value of mixed waste, and it is likely that the incinerators would require significant amounts of auxiliary fuels to support combustion of wet waste. As for the long-term future scenario, efficient source separation of food waste could result in significant environmental improvements, primarily because of increase in calorific value of remaining waste incinerated with energy recovery. Sensitivity analysis emphasized the importance of efficient source separation of food waste, as well as the electricity recovery in incinerators, in order to obtain an environmentally friendly waste management system in Beijing City.
Zhao, Y., Christensen, T. H., Lu, W., Wu, H., & Wang, H. (2011). Environmental impact assessment of solid waste management in Beijing City, China. Waste Management, 31(4), 793-799. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2010.11.007