Environmental Implications and Costs of Municipal Solid Waste-Derived Ethylene

Article in the Journal of Industrial Ecology

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Carbon recycling, in which organic waste is recycled into chemical feedstock for material production, may provide benefits in resource efficiency and a more cyclical economy - but may also create "trade-offs" in increased impacts elsewhere. Philip Nuss, Kevin H. Gardner and Stefan Bringezu investigate the system-wide environmental burdens and costs associated with carbon recycling routes capable of converting municipal solid waste (MSW) by gasification and Fischer-Tropsch synthesis into ethylene. Results are compared to business-as-usual (BAU) cases in which ethylene is derived from fossil resources and waste is either landfilled with methane and energy recovery (BAU#1) or incinerated (BAU#2) with energy recovery.

Their article was published in the Journal of Industrial Ecology and can be downloaded with costs.

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