Life cycle assessment of a household solid waste source separation programme: a Swedish case study.

Anna Bernstad, Jes la Cour Jansen, Henrik Aspegren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The environmental impact of an extended property close source-separation system for solid household waste (i.e. a systems for collection of recyclables from domestic properties) is investigated in a residential area in southern Sweden. Since 2001, households have been able to source-separate waste into six fractions of dry recyclables and food waste sorting. The current system was evaluated using the EASEWASTE life cycle assessment tool. Current status is compared with an ideal scenario in which households display perfect source-separation behaviour and a scenario without any material recycling. Results show that current recycling provides substantial environmental benefits compared to a non-recycling alternative. The environmental benefit varies greatly between recyclable fractions, and the recyclables currently most frequently source-separated by households are often not the most beneficial from an environmental perspective. With optimal source-separation of all recyclables, the current net contribution to global warming could be changed to a net-avoidance while current avoidance of nutrient enrichment, acidification and photochemical ozone formation could be doubled. Sensitivity analyses show that thetype of energy substituted by incineration of non-recycled waste, as well as energy used in recycling processes and in the production of materials substituted by waste recycling, is of high relevance for the attained results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1027-1042
JournalWaste Management & Research
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Chemical Engineering


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