Volume 110, Number 1, 2013
Social Value of Materials
|Page(s)||17 - 28|
|Published online||29 March 2013|
Life cycle thinking as a decision tool for waste management policy
VITO, Boeretang 200, B2400
Accepted: 18 February 2013
The European Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC) explicitly specifies the hierarchy for waste management: prevention, preparation for re-use, recycling, other recovery actions, disposal. When selecting waste management options, this waste hierarchy should be followed. A deviation can only be justified by Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) on the overall impacts. The application of this principle in the Flemish waste management practice triggered the need for evaluation of treatment options for several waste streams. Alternative treatments were evaluated for waste batteries, used frying oils and waste oil. The evaluation methodology combined life cycle assessment with technical and economical viability criteria. These cases show that LCT does not allow to establish a “general priority order”. In each case reasons for deviation from the standard waste hierarchy could be given, but also none of the evaluated options can be considered as the best. The evaluation showed that the priority is largely dependent on location-specific characteristics of inputs, outputs, processes and installations and that the establishment of local and global environmental priorities always implies a value choice. In this presentation, we will present the results of the three cases and provide a methodological framework for life cycle thinking in waste management policy.
Key words: Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) / waste hierarchy / waste treatment / recycling / End-of-Life (EoL) / waste batteries / used frying oils / waste oil / Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
© EDP Sciences 2013
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