Solid waste management based on cost-benefit analysis using the WAMED model

University dissertation from Växjö, Kalmar : Linnaeus University Press

Abstract: Efficient waste management enables the protection of human health, reducing environmental pollution, saving of natural resources, and achieving sustainable and profitable management of energy. In many countries, the general guidelines for waste management are set by national or local waste management plans. Various models provide local authorities with decision-making tools in planning long-term waste management scenarios.This study aims at providing a special model framework for the evaluation of ecological–economic efficiency (ECO-EE) of waste management. This will serve as an information support tool for decision making by actors of a solid waste management (SWM) scheme, primarily at the municipal and regional levels. The objective of this study is to apply the waste management’s efficient decision (WAMED) model along with the company statistical business tool for environmental recovery indicator (COSTBUSTER) model to SWM and municipal solid waste (MSW) schemes in general in order to evaluate and improve their ECO-EE. COSTBUSTER is a mathematical indicator for the size and extent of implementation costs of a certain SWM scheme, compared with the total size of the average financial budget of a SWM actor of a certain kind. In particular, WAMED is proposed for evaluating the suitability to invest in baling technology. Baling of solid waste is an emerging technology which is extensively used worldwide to temporarily store waste for either incineration or recovery of raw materials. The model for efficient use of resources for optimal production economy (the EUROPE model) is for the first time applied to emissions from baling facilities. It has been analysed how cost-benefit analysis (CBA) and full cost accounting (FCA) can facilitate environmental optimisation of SWM schemes. The effort in this work represents a continuation of such ambitions as an enlargement of the research area of CBA based modelling within SWM. In the thesis, certain theoretical and economic aspects of SWM were analysed as case studies. A shift of viewpoints within the field of waste management is presented. This shift is in accordance with the prevailing concept of sustainable development, as commonly understood. It is concluded that in the practical SWM context, the findings of the study point at the possibilities to modify the common CBA- and FCA-based methods by WAMED, COSTBUSTER, and EUROPE. Therefore, it can be said that estimations in a SWM scheme can be carried out by using certain economic model, if properly modified in a logical and plausible way. New principles for cost allocation to SWM residual products are presented in the current work. They imply strong industrial cost saving incentives through promoting the introduction of new and improved processing technologies for rest-waste. Such incentives then strongly promote investments that are likely to improve both the environment and the corporate profitability. Thereby, the occurrence of non-commercialised, and hence not utilized, wastes is reduced. This improves the short term corporate economy through saving raw materials such as solid waste fuel, spending less time for administrating waste flows, and less wear and tear of the plant machinery. Additional environmental advantages which affect the balance sheets in a favourable way are related to the long-term business economy and extended environmental goodwill. This is due to the recently introduced way of considering solid waste as regular goods in financial terms - the equality principle. If waste is seen as goods, and not wasted in landfills, the environment will improve. This, in turn, leads to an improved quality of life. Based on the current study, it is recommended to apply WAMED to SWM schemes in order to evaluate their ECO–EE to justify decision making and investments. Also, it is recommended to apply COSTBUSTER, based on the current WAMED outcome, to SWM schemes to determine their relative size and extent. It is recommended to apply EUROPE to the emissions in case of accidental burning, treatment of leachate, andabatement with odours at any SWM scheme, based on the induced economic incentives, in order to reduce unwanted substances and phenomena.