A study on small-scale municipal solid waste management practices and its impact on carbon emission and mitigation cost

Abstract: Municipal solid waste management (MSWM) is arguably one of the most vital and challenging municipal services offered by the city councils around the world. Proper and efficient management of municipal solid waste (MSW) is vital for achieving sustainable development as the dilemmas associated with energy management, greenhouse gas (GHG) emission, waste-to-energy (WTE) cycle, climate change and economy are addressed. Ineffective waste management technique leads to adverse impacts on the environment, public health and lifestyle of future generations. Motivating governmental organizations across the world to take proactive measures to mitigate waste management techniques with less environmental impact and high financial return. A comparison study of five different MSWM techniques based on cost-benefit analysis and mitigation cost breakdown is presented in this paper to identify the most effective and efficient small-scale MSWM systems. The mitigation analysis utilizes the data obtained from the literature to calculate the greenhouse gas reductions, current net and the carbon mitigation cost of each method considering basic landfill technique as the baseline reference. Hybrid techniques like mechanical biological treatment (MBT) in combination with WTE outperforms the other techniques with lowest carbon mitigation cost ($27.3/metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) without carbon emanation rate (CER) and $43.4/ MTCO2e with CER) and reduced GHG emission. Whereas the conventional WTE is ranked second with mitigation costs of $26.5/ MTCO2e without CER and $42.5/ MTCO2e with CER but this technique also offers the largest reductions in terms of greenhouse gases (1.06 million tons/tons of municipal solid waste) which make it stand out from others. Based on the results obtained from the study the economic and environmental impact caused by the usage of WTE or the hybrid MBT in small-scale MSWM system is proven to be highly beneficial and the introduction of carbon credit schemes reduces the carbon mitigation cost of each technique to a greater extent.

Keywords: Municipal solid waste management(MSWM), greenhouse gas (GHG) emission, mechanical biological treatment (MBT), waste-to-energy (WTE), carbon mitigation cost, mitigation cost analysis

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