Emergy Assessment Of An Integrated Municipal Solid Waste Management
Free (open access)
N Marchettini, R Ridolfi & E B P Tiezzi
The debate on waste management is becoming one of the most important issues as human needs and activities have overloaded the assimilative capacity of the biosphere. Recent Italian law on solid waste management strongly recommended an increase in material recycling and energy recovery, and it only allows the landfilling disposal for inert materials and residues from recovery and recycling. A correct waste management policy should be based on the principles of sustainable development, according to which garbage is not regarded as waste but rather as a potential resource. This requires the establishment of an integrated waste management plan, considering all the available technologies. In this context, we applied the emergy analysis to evaluate the whole strategy of the waste management in an Italian district, considering the alternatives of treatment adopted. Particularly, we calculated the total emergy investment, considering the contribution of each input necessary to collect and treat urban waste, highlighting the critical phases. We evaluate how much investment is needed for this type of waste management and how much \“utility” is extracted from them. This analysis permitted us to assess the sustainability and the efficiency of the waste management strategy and the possible developments to improve the management strategy according to the type of waste collected and to the type of local resource demanding.