The main aim of this study was to define a procedure useful to evaluate the potential environmental, social and economic benefits contained in paper and cardboard (or other recyclables), which are wasted in the unsorted fraction of municipal solid waste (MSW). To give a practical example, the procedure was applied to the 550 municipalities of the Campania region, in Southern Italy, but the developed procedure is applicable in any context in an ‘urban mining’ perspective. The procedure consists of five phases and uses two methodologies: one for the estimation of the composition analysis of the unsorted residual waste and another for the calculation of sustainability indicators able to measure the benefits wasted in the unsorted residual MSW. Six indicators were defined: two for the environment (carbon footprint and ecological footprint), two for the society (health footprint and occupational benefits) and two for the economy (economic profit and economic saving). The first methodology was developed by the regional environmental protection agency to update the MSW regional management plan. The second methodology is based on the use of the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) through which it was possible to calculate the reference parameters useful for the calculation of the impacts (i.e., loss of benefits) for recycling, mechanical and biological treatment (MBT), incineration and landfilling of paper and cardboard contained in the unsorted residual waste. The obtained results confirmed the presence of such an enormous deposit of recyclable materials contained in the unsorted residual waste, which is a potential source, but not exploited, of environmental, social and economic benefits. For instance, the paper and cardboard ‘urban mine’ of Naples was greater than 16 million of euro (economic profit + economic saving), with a potential saving of around 11.4 million of kgCO2eq. (carbon footprint), 207 million of m2 (ecological footprint), 44 Disability Adjusted Life Years (health footprint), with a creation of 30 job positions in the waste management sector (occupational benefits).

A procedure to assess the environmental, social and economic benefits wasted in the paper and cardboard fraction of the unsorted residual waste

De Feo G.
;
Ferrara C.;Grosso A.
2021-01-01

Abstract

The main aim of this study was to define a procedure useful to evaluate the potential environmental, social and economic benefits contained in paper and cardboard (or other recyclables), which are wasted in the unsorted fraction of municipal solid waste (MSW). To give a practical example, the procedure was applied to the 550 municipalities of the Campania region, in Southern Italy, but the developed procedure is applicable in any context in an ‘urban mining’ perspective. The procedure consists of five phases and uses two methodologies: one for the estimation of the composition analysis of the unsorted residual waste and another for the calculation of sustainability indicators able to measure the benefits wasted in the unsorted residual MSW. Six indicators were defined: two for the environment (carbon footprint and ecological footprint), two for the society (health footprint and occupational benefits) and two for the economy (economic profit and economic saving). The first methodology was developed by the regional environmental protection agency to update the MSW regional management plan. The second methodology is based on the use of the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) through which it was possible to calculate the reference parameters useful for the calculation of the impacts (i.e., loss of benefits) for recycling, mechanical and biological treatment (MBT), incineration and landfilling of paper and cardboard contained in the unsorted residual waste. The obtained results confirmed the presence of such an enormous deposit of recyclable materials contained in the unsorted residual waste, which is a potential source, but not exploited, of environmental, social and economic benefits. For instance, the paper and cardboard ‘urban mine’ of Naples was greater than 16 million of euro (economic profit + economic saving), with a potential saving of around 11.4 million of kgCO2eq. (carbon footprint), 207 million of m2 (ecological footprint), 44 Disability Adjusted Life Years (health footprint), with a creation of 30 job positions in the waste management sector (occupational benefits).
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4772553
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