Life cycle assessment (LCA) and related tools are commonly used to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of waste treatment scenarios. This manuscript presents a mini-review of studies published over the last 10 years in Italy and aims to investigate how life cycle thinking tools are applied to assess the environmental sustainability of local-level waste policies. Results reveal that different waste flows, technologies and policies have been investigated independently and in varying detail. Review suggests that boundary selection significantly affects LCA results; integration of different waste systems is therefore crucial to avoid spatial or temporal shifts of environmental impacts. Moreover, the description of methodological characteristics, limitations and transversal aspects of Italian waste management studies allows various stakeholders to assess the reliability of past and future research for waste policy planning and rebound effects prevention. This review also highlights the need to define minimum requirements of transparency and ease of reporting of the studies to private and public stakeholders. Finally, the paper investigates whether using both the organisational LCA and the life cycle sustainability approach for the overall waste management process may be useful to develop a standard method to address multi-functionalities and multiple sites.

Life cycle assessment applied to waste management in Italy: A mini-review of characteristics and methodological perspectives for local assessment

Toniolo, Sara;
2021

Abstract

Life cycle assessment (LCA) and related tools are commonly used to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of waste treatment scenarios. This manuscript presents a mini-review of studies published over the last 10 years in Italy and aims to investigate how life cycle thinking tools are applied to assess the environmental sustainability of local-level waste policies. Results reveal that different waste flows, technologies and policies have been investigated independently and in varying detail. Review suggests that boundary selection significantly affects LCA results; integration of different waste systems is therefore crucial to avoid spatial or temporal shifts of environmental impacts. Moreover, the description of methodological characteristics, limitations and transversal aspects of Italian waste management studies allows various stakeholders to assess the reliability of past and future research for waste policy planning and rebound effects prevention. This review also highlights the need to define minimum requirements of transparency and ease of reporting of the studies to private and public stakeholders. Finally, the paper investigates whether using both the organisational LCA and the life cycle sustainability approach for the overall waste management process may be useful to develop a standard method to address multi-functionalities and multiple sites.
Life Cycle Assessment
Environmental footprint
Waste
Local policies
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/1055732
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