WIT Press

Energy Evaluation Of Composting Municipal Solid Waste


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WIT Press


S Bastianoni, M Porcelli & F M Pulselli


Emergy evaluation of composting municipal solid waste S. Bastianoni1, M. Porcelli2 & F.M. Pulselli1 1Department of Chemical and Biosystems Sciences and Technology, Siena University, Italy. 2ARCA - onlus (Associazione Ricerca e Consulenza Ambientale), Siena, Italy. Abstract Correct waste management is one of the main aspects of an environmental policy. According to European guidelines, the reduction of present levels of waste generation and the increase in the recovery of energy and materials are important future requirements for an environmentally sound waste management. Recent policy developments have led to a growth of source separation and composting in Italy. The goal of this contribution is to analyze the suitability of composting as a valid option to recover materials from waste. We performed an energy analysis of a composting process in order to assess all investments necessary to manage the life cycle of compost. Results showed that the phase with the highest investment is the collection of vegetable refuses, while the cost of plant management, calculated in energy units, is not particularly high. Finally, we compared composting to incineration and landfilling and demonstrated that composting is a sustainable choice for waste disposal. 1 Introduction In recent years we have moved from an \“empty” world to a \“full” world, namely a world relatively full of humans and their artifacts. In this new full world humans are consuming resources at harvest rate greater than natural generation rate, and, at the same time, waste production rates are greater than the natural assimilative capacities of the ecosystems which receive waste. Because of