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Technical report 96

Assessment of information related

to waste and material flows
A catalogue of methods and tools

Prepared by:
Despo Fatta and Stephan Moll
European Topic Centre on Waste and Material Flows

Project manager:
Dimitrios Tsotsos
European Environment Agency
2 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

Layout: Brandenborg a/s

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Contents 3


1. Introduction and objectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

2. Main policy questions for the integrated issue of waste and material flows . . 6
2.1. Policy shift from ‘end-of-pipe’ waste management towards integrated
‘sustainable resource management’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
2.2. The link between use of natural resources and the generation of waste 7
2.3. Waste-management policy issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
2.4. Main policy questions with regards to waste and material flows issues . 9
2.5. The EEA’s policy-relevant indicator-based assessment approach . . . . . . 9

3. Overview of available assessment tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

3.1. Simulation models . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
3.1.1. Description . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
3.1.2. Field of application . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
3.1.3. Benefits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
3.1.4. Drawbacks/limitations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
3.1.5. Application of simulation models . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
3.2. Lifecycle assessment (LCA) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
3.2.1. Description . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
3.2.2. Field of application . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
3.2.3. Benefits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
3.2.4. Drawbacks/limitations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
3.2.5. Application of lifecycle assessment methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
3.3. Environmental impact assessment (EIA) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
3.3.1. Description . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
3.3.2. Field of application . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
3.3.3. Benefits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
3.3.4. Drawbacks/limitations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
3.3.5. Application of environmental impact assessment (EIA) . . . . . . . . . . . 25
3.4. Environmental risk assessment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
3.4.1. Description . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
3.4.2. Field of application . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
3.4.3. Benefits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
3.4.4. Drawbacks/limitations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
3.4.5. Application of environmental risk assessment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
3.5. Multi-criteria analysis (MCA) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
3.5.1. Description . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
3.5.2. Field of application . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
3.5.3. Benefits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
3.5.4. Drawbacks/limitations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
3.5.5. Application of multi-criteria analysis (MCA) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
4 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

3.6. Waste factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

3.6.1. Description . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
3.6.2. Field of application . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
3.6.3. Benefits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
3.6.4. Drawbacks/limitaitons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
3.6.5. Application of waste factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
3.7. Geographic information systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
3.7.1. Description . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
3.7.2. Field of application . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
3.7.3. Benefits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
3.7.4. Drawbacks/limitations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
3.7.5. Geographical information systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
3.8. Remote sensing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
3.8.1. Description . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
3.8.2. Field of application . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
3.8.3. Benefits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
3.8.4. Drawbacks/limitations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
3.8.5. Application of remote sensing (RS) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
3.9. Indicators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
3.9.1. Description . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
3.9.2. Field of application . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
3.9.3. Benefits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
3.9.4. Drawbacks/limitations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
3.9.5. Application of indicators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
3.10. Cost–benefit analysis (CBA) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
3.10.1. Description . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
3.10.2. Field of application . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
3.10.3. Benefits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
3.10.4. Drawbacks/limitations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
3.10.5. Recycling of packaging materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

4. Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

5. References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
Introduction and objectives 5

1. Introduction and objectives

Integrated environmental assessment (IEA) • to identify issues to be addressed for

is increasingly recognised as an important prospective analysis linked to policy
technique for managing the environmental priorities and possibilities for evaluating
impacts of human actions. It may be defined policy effectiveness in an integrated way;
as the interdisciplinary process of • to describe, in the framework of the
identification, analysis and appraisal of all the preparation of the state & outlook report,
relevant natural and human processes, which how waste and material flows issues can be
affect the quality of the environment and addressed in an integrated way;
environmental resources. The objective of • to identify/develop tools for assessment of
IEA is to facilitate the framing and waste quantities/types linked to material
implementation of optimal policies and flows (e.g. LCA, waste factors);
strategies, accounting for both • to identify suitable models for testing
environmental effects and other priorities production of prospective analysis;
(e.g. cost constraints). Two points worth • to review existing state of the art and make
emphasising about IEA are that it is: proposals for methods to agree, review and
finalise approach and results of prospective
• practical — the purpose is to facilitate analysis.
making decisions;
• comprehensive — all relevant aspects, Within this context, this technical report
which might affect the decision, should be aims at:
• addressing the main policy issues relevant
IEA can help managers and decision makers to the development of an integrated
to: framework for waste and material flows;
• providing an overview and assessment of
• solve environmental planning and existing/available ‘assessment tools’
management problems; relevant for ‘waste and material flows’
• improve their understanding of suitable for EEA reporting requirements.
environmental conditions;
• design protective or remedial strategies In a first step, the main policy issues,
(EEA, 1998). questions and objectives in the field of ‘waste
and material flows’ are identified and the
Integrated assessment tools are needed to information needs required for an
assess policy-making. Within this context, the ‘integrated environmental assessment’ are
2001 work plan for the European Topic worked out (Section 2). Section 3 provides
Centre on Waste and Material Flows (ETC/ an overview of available assessment tools that
WMF) identified the following key tasks to be might be used in this context. Finally,
addressed: recommendations are given on, for example,
which assessment tools should be used for
• to identify a common integrated framework future EEA reporting and which tools should
for integrated assessment of waste issues be further developed (Section 4).
and material flows, based on indicators and
linked to policy needs;
6 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

2. Main policy questions for the

integrated issue of waste and
material flows
2.1. Policy shift from ‘end-of-pipe’ years. One of four ‘priority areas’ within the
waste management towards 6EAP is ‘Sustainable use of natural resources
integrated ‘sustainable resource and management of waste’. Main objectives
management’ within this priority area are (OJ L 242,
The issue of ‘sustainable use of natural
resources’ is increasingly being included on As regards resource efficiency and management:
the political agenda and accordingly • to ensure the consumption of renewable
institutional adaptations have been put and non-renewable resources does not
forward: exceed the carrying capacity of the
• One of the four ‘priority areas’ within the • to achieve a de-coupling of resource use
sixth environmental action programme from economic growth through
(6EAP) is ‘Sustainable use of natural significantly improved resource efficiency,
resources and management of waste’ dematerialisation of the economy, and
(OJ L 242, 10.9.2002). waste prevention;
• One of the six headline issues within the
EU strategy for sustainable development is As regards waste prevention and management:
‘Manage natural resources more • to decouple the generation of waste from
responsibly’ (CEC, 2001). economic growth and achieve a significant
• In the preparation of the 6EAP, the overall reduction in the volumes of waste
Environment DG launched a series of generated through improved waste-
‘Experts’ reports on resource prevention initiatives, better resource
management’ ( efficiency, and a shift to more sustainable
comm/environment/enveco/ consumption patterns;
studies2.htm#26). • for wastes that are still generated, to achieve
a situation where:
In other words, the former policy field — the wastes are non-hazardous or at least
‘Waste’ seems to being increasingly present only very low risks to the
integrated in the ‘new’ policy field of environment and our health;
‘Sustainable resource management’ — the majority of the wastes are either
reflecting the overall shift from an ‘end-of- reintroduced into the economic cycle,
pipe’ treatment of the waste issue towards the especially by recycling, or are returned
front of the waste policy hierarchy, i.e. waste to the environment in a useful (e.g.
prevention through more efficient use of composting) or harmless form;
natural resources. — the quantities of waste that still need to
go to final disposal are reduced to an
Much of the existing Community absolute minimum and are safely
environmental policy framework has been destroyed or disposed of;
established precisely to limit the — waste is treated as closely as possible to
environmental and health impacts that arise where it is generated.
from the use of natural resources. This
includes, for example, Community measures As regards resource efficiency and
aimed at improving the resource efficiency of management, the 6EAP states that although
energy use, the sustainable use of water and many of the existing policy measures are
soil. directly or indirectly affecting the use of
renewable and non-renewable natural
In 2001, the European Commission resources, the Community still ‘lacks a
presented the 6EAP entitled ‘Environment coherent policy focused on achieving an
2010. Our future our choice’. It sets out overall decoupling of resource use from
major priorities and objectives for economic growth’ (OJ L 242, 10.9.2002).
environmental policy over the next five to 10 Therefore, as a first step, the Community will
Main policy questions for the integrated issue of waste and material flows 7

Link between resource input flows and waste output flows Figure 2.1


Imports Pro- Exports

system Durable goods
Domestic (consumption)
of raw

Output from
stock (end-of-life
vehicles, construc-
tion waste, etc.

Consumption of short-life goods, which are

disposed to nature within one year
(food, fuel, packaging, etc.)

Residual outputs from production processes

Domestic environment

develop a ‘Thematic strategy on the (and other material outflows) is illustrated in

sustainable use of natural resources’ for Figure 2.1.
setting priorities and undertake the necessary
analysis and data collection in order to All materials entering an economy will
identify, which resources are of most sooner or later be released back to the
concern. The criteria will need to address environment in terms of wastes and
issues such as whether the environmental emissions. This ‘industrial metabolism’
damage associated with the use of a (Ayres and Simonis, 1994) can be further
particular resource threatens to be long term described in detail. On the input side of the
and irreversible, whether or not substitutes economy, domestic raw materials and
are likely to be available for future imports can be distinguished. Those are
generations, etc. A Green Paper on this further processed in economic production
thematic strategy is due in 2003. processes. The latter transform the inputs to
‘goods’ (short-life goods, durable goods,
The issue of waste prevention is closely linked exports) and ‘bads’ (residuals such like
to the efficient use of natural resources and emissions and wastes). Exported goods are
will hence form ‘a key part of the planned leaving the domestic economy. Durable
thematic strategy on resource management’ goods are accumulated within the domestic
(OJ L 242, 10.9.2002). In addition, waste- stock (buildings, appliances, infrastructure).
prevention objectives and priorities will be The stock itself releases materials to the
integrated into the Community’s integrated environment in terms of waste such as end-of-
product policy (IPP). life-vehicles, demolition waste, etc.). Another
part of the goods is produced for immediate
2.2. The link between use of natural consumption. Those ‘short-life goods’ are
resources and the generation of transformed into waste within one
waste accounting period (one year).

In the above-mentioned policy context, one As consumer society gets wealthier and ever
main task is to identify and implement more productive, the demand for products
specific policy measures that reduce the increases. Coupled with decreasing product
consumption of natural resources for lives, this generates increasing quantities of
example, by changing demand, by improving end-of-life product wastes and associated
the efficiency with which they are used, by mining and manufacturing wastes. At the
preventing the wastage and degradation of same time, many products are becoming
these resources, and by improving the rates more and more complex using a wide variety
at which they are recycled back into the of substances, which can further exacerbate
economy after they have been used. the risks from wastes to our health and the
environment. It is clear that if we continue
The link between the use of natural resources with our current consumption and
on the one hand and the generation of waste production patterns, this will be translated
8 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

Figure 2.2 Prevention of waste equals more efficient use of inputs

‘Old’ ‘New’

Raw Process Goods Raw Process Goods

materials materials

‘Bads’ mediate ‘Bads’
(waste, goods (waste,
Inter- emissions, emissions,
mediate etc.) etc.)

into increasing quantities of waste — of landfilled waste varies substantially in

which a significant proportion will continue individual Member States. In 1989, the EU
to be hazardous. drew up a policy document entitled ‘Waste-
management strategy’ which set long-term
A clear understanding of processes causing aspirations with regard to the European
waste generation is needed, so that Union’s waste-management legislation and
technically, economically and activities. Its main principles were:
environmentally feasible options for waste
prevention/reduction at source can be • prevention of waste by technologies and
applied. Looking at production processes, products;
prevention of waste always means a reduction • recycling and reuse;
of material inputs in terms of raw materials • optimisation of final disposal;
and intermediate goods. As illustrated in • regulation of transport;
Figure 2.2, more ‘eco-efficient’ processes are • remedial action.
needed in order to produce the same
amount of ‘goods’ with less input and less On 24 February 1997, Council adopted a
‘bads’ in terms of wastes and emissions. resolution on a Community strategy for waste
management (OJ C 076, 11.3.1997), which is
2.3. Waste-management policy issues a review of the 1989 strategy (OJ C122/2,
18.5.1990). This resolution underpins the
A lack of aggregate data at the EU level principles of waste prevention first, then
makes it difficult to assess whether the recovery and, finally, minimisation of final
environmental impacts associated with the disposal and confirms the current EU policy
management of wastes are improving or on the movements of waste. The resolution
deteriorating. New waste-treatment facilities gives precedence to the recovery of materials
meet extremely high operating standards over energy generation and strongly
that reduce emissions and risks significantly. promotes the principle of producer
Yet, much of our wastes still goes to older and responsibility.
less well managed facilities, partly due to the
failure of Member States to properly In the 20-year period (1980–2000), the EU
implement Community waste legislation. The has developed a large number of legal
impacts of waste management and waste documents (directives, decisions and
transport are, therefore, still problematic in regulations), but the environmental
many areas of the Community. problems still continue to grow.

In the European Union as a whole, over two Therefore, in order to develop effective
billion tonnes of waste are produced each policies for the future aiming at sustainable
year of which approximately 30 million development and improved waste
tonnes are classified as hazardous. Some management, we have to be able to assess the
50–60 % of the overall solid waste stream is present state, to analyse possible actions and
landfilled, though the proportion of impacts and to provide projections.
Main policy questions for the integrated issue of waste and material flows 9

2.4. Main policy questions with 2(f) Which instruments demonstrate to be

regards to waste and material more effective in achieving prevention
flows issues of waste production?

The ETC/WMF is currently developing an Sustainable management of waste

indicator framework for waste and material The main policy questions under this
flows (ETC/WMF 2001). In this context, criterion are ‘Are we moving towards a
main policy questions are being identified sustainable management of waste?’ and ‘Are
distinguishing three criteria following the we moving towards increasing recovery/
6EAP and the waste hierarchy: recycling/reuse instead of disposal?’

1. Conserving natural resources Further second-level policy questions are:

2. Prevention of waste generation
3. Sustainable management of waste 3(a) How much and which types of waste are
managed/treated and by which
Conserving natural resources technology?
The main policy question formulated under 3(b) How much waste is reused and recycled
this criterion is ‘Are we getting better with an (processed into secondary raw
efficient use of natural resources?’ materials)?
3(c) How much and which waste is
Further second-level policy questions are: imported/exported by whom from
where to where?
1(a) How much and which natural resources 3(d) What are the present and future
are used? capacities of waste-treatment facilities?
1(b) What is the environmental impact 3(e) What are the environmental impacts
associated to the use of natural associated with the different wastes and
resources? their treatment (distinguishing
1(c) What are natural resources used for? immediate impacts and indirect
1(d) How efficient is the use of natural impacts)?
resources? 3.(f) How much solid waste is transmitted to
1(e) To what extent should use of natural other media (water and air)?
resources be reduced? 3.(g) What are the socioeconomic effects of
1(f) To what extent can the use of natural waste management/treatment?
resources actually be reduced? 3(h) How rapidly are new technologies being
1(g) What technological innovations can implemented and how effective are
reduce the amount of natural resource these regulations and other non-
used? economic policy instruments for
1(h) What kind of policy instruments reveal improving the management of non-
to be more effective in reducing hazardous waste?
resource use? 3(i) What has been the progress in Member
States with formulating and
Prevention of waste generation implementing waste-management plans
The main policy question under this to address the objectives of the EU waste
criterion is ‘Is the prevention of non- strategy?
hazardous and hazardous wastes generation
improving?’ The assessment tools and methods have to be
capable of analysing the driving forces, the
Further second-level policy questions are: pressures, the state, the impact and the
response under the framework of the DPSIR
2(a) How much and which types of waste are model as well as to answer the
generated? aforementioned questions.
2(b) Where are they generated?
2(c) What are the drivers of waste 2.5. The EEA’s policy-relevant
generation? indicator-based assessment
2(d) To what extent should generation of approach
waste be prevented/reduced?
2(e) To what extent can generation of waste The EEA and the associated ETCs have been
be prevented/reduced? aiming at developing multi-purpose
information systems, which as far as possible
meet simultaneously the different needs of
10 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

the Agency and its clients. Development of objectives. Indicators are key tools for linking
such information systems at the same time policy objectives and targets, for
serves as a prerequisite for integrated communicating data priorities to countries
environmental assessment, to be linked to and for communicating complexity in a
policy objectives and targets, and having both simple way for policy-makers and so that the
prospective and retrospective elements. public can understand.

In the past, the EEA and ETCs made some For ETC/WMF this task is still ahead, in
progress towards the development of such particular due to its very recent
multi-purpose information systems. Most establishment and due to the dynamic policy
ETCs have established basic databases and developments towards an integration of
developed preliminary indicator-based sustainable resource use and management of
frameworks for reporting linked to policy waste.
Overview of available assessment tools 11

3. Overview of available assessment

In this section, an overview of the main 3.1.3. Benefits
assessment tools needed for answering the The benefits of using an environmental
questions posed in Section 2 is presented. At simulation model are the following:
the end of this section, Table 3.6 presents the
benefits and drawbacks of the various tools, • they can illustrate the current situation;
as these are described analytically in each • they can estimate the future situation;
paragraph. • they can provide an integrated insight into
a broad range of environmental, economic,
3.1. Simulation models and socio-cultural aspects of sustainability;
• they (might) represent a link between
3.1.1. Description economy and environment;
Environmental simulation models are • they are flexible in terms of geographical
innovative software tools that are used to areas and variables’ considerations;
address issues that are related to • they evaluate alternative scenarios and
environmental management and technology. allow the decision-maker to find the best
They are used to store and elaborate solution, in terms of economic and
environmental data in order to provide environmental cost;
conclusions regarding future trends or • they can make reasonable inferences about
evaluation of alternative scenarios. the environmental implications of different
development patterns.
3.1.2. Field of application
Environmental simulation models may be 3.1.4. Drawbacks/limitations
used to determine the environmental Numerous models have been developed,
implications from the adoption of a policy or which have several drawbacks, the most
specific measures. They may be used during important of which are:
the decision-making process referring to
regional/urban development, pollution/ • data collection may be difficult and
waste management, environmental policy expensive;
measures, sustainable development, resource • in order to be able to be used by non-
management, population growth measures, experts, an oversimplification of reality
etc. occurs;
• most of them show a low level in terms of
The main information that environmental horizontal and vertical integration;
simulation models can provide includes: • they require constant adjustments and
• waste generation by production processes, • they cannot consider all parameters that
product use, management of end-of life are related to a specific case;
products, urban/regional development, • they usually address narrowly defined
implementation of specific policies; issues;
• waste generation, future trends and • they may require special PC capabilities.
• environmental impacts arising from waste 3.1.5. Application of simulation models
production and its contribution to global This section discusses some selected
environmental problems (greenhouse applications of various simulation models.
effect, acid rain, etc.); The section describes the various models as
• evaluation of alternative scenarios or clearly as possible using the available
policies in terms of their environmental, information.
economic and social impacts;
• environmental and economic costs and The presentation of the selected model
benefits from the implementation of a applications is structured as follows:
project, management technique, etc.;
• optimum levels of recycling, composting, • institute of development;
incineration, landfill, etc.; • description: background information, such
as the goal of the study, the target group,
capabilities of the model, etc;
12 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

• field of application; The GEM model has several extensions on

• comments: pros and cons of using the the following seven modules:
particular model.
• environmental module;
The selected models are described below. • representation of market imperfections;
• world closure operational (used as National Technical University of Athens, sensitivity test);
GEM-E3 MODEL • endogenous technology evolution (full
incorporation of endogenous growth
Institute of development mechanisms planned for 1998–99);
Partly funded by the European Commission, • labour-market imperfections and
Programme Joule, DG XII/F1. disaggregation;
• IS/LM closure;
• Coordination: National Technical • engineering representation of energy.
University of Athens.
• Core Teams: Center for Economic Studies, The objective of the environment module is
Catholic University of Leuven (CES.KUL) to represent the effect of environmental
& Centre for European Economic Research policy on the EU economy and on the state
(ZEW). of the environment. The current version only
• Contribution teams: IDEI (University of covers atmospheric emissions related to the
Toulouse), Stockholm School of energy use and conversion. Compared to
Economics, Erasme & University of other currently available models, the aim of
Strathclyde. the introduction of an environment module
• European Commission, Directorate- is to improve the analysis in the following
General XII (1995) ‘GEM-E3 computable four directions:
general equilibrium model for studying
economy–energy–environment • integrated analysis of environmental and
interactions’, September 1995. energy objectives on a European scale, for
example, energy security versus clean air;
Description • representation of a larger set of
The GEM-E3 model (NTUA, 1997) is a environmental policy instruments at
general equilibrium model, representing different levels: standards, taxes, tradable
either the European Union Member States permits; international, national, sectoral;
or 18 world regions, one by one and linked • integrated analysis of different
through trade. It aims at covering the environmental problems: simultaneous
interactions between the economy, the analysis of global warming and acid rain
energy system and the environment. The policy;
model computes simultaneously the different • comparative evaluation of source and
market equilibrium under the Walras law receptor oriented: damage valuation versus
and, within the macroeconomic equilibrium, uniform emission reductions.
it determines the optimum balance for
energy demand/supply and emission/ The environment module contains three
abatement. components:

The core version of the model assumes a 1. The ‘behavioural’ component, which
perfect competition regime for a price represents the effects of different policy
adjustment of markets, in particular for the instruments on the behaviour of the
markets of commodities. Under such a economic agents; for example, additive
perfect competition regime, a single (end-of-pipe) and integrated
representative firm producing a commodity (substitution) abatement.
is considered per sector. The core version of
the model assumes an imperfect competition 2. The ‘state of the environment’ module,
regime only for the labour market. which uses all emission information and
Extensions of the model have assumed that translates it into deposition, air-
some sectors operate under an oligopolistic concentration and damage data.
competition regime. In that case, the single
representative firm (per sector) assumption 3. The ‘policy-support component’, which
is replaced by a consideration of a finite includes representation of policy
number of firms per sector and the instruments related to environmental
corresponding commodity varieties. policy, such as taxation, tradable
Overview of available assessment tools 13

pollution permits and global constraint economic activities. The produced equations
emissions; through policy instruments, take into account the consumption of goods
emissions may influence the behaviour of that result in the generation of waste and
economic agents as formulated in the contain several coefficients, which relate
model. waste to the output of the relevant economic
activities and other macroeconomic
The environmental sub-model is used for: aggregates. The output of the methodology
consists of two approaches that may be used
• cost–effectiveness analysis; to make projections. Depending on the
• cost–benefit analysis; available data, it is possible to either use the
• assessment of policy instrument. complex estimated equation model
approach, which illustrates sufficiently the
Field of application interrelationship between waste production
The model is a part of the EEA model and several economic parameters and
network (EEA, 2001). provides a more secure prediction of future
trends, or the simplified constant coefficient
The environmental sub-model focuses on model approach, in which the coefficients
three important environmental problems: have been given specific values (1 or 0) and
the equation provides a linear relationship
• Global warming through CO2 emissions. between waste generation and the output of
• Problems related to the deposition of economic activities.
acidifying emissions.
• Ambient air quality linked to acidifying The data that are required in order to be able
emissions and ozone concentration. to estimate the coefficients and use the
equations to calculate the past, present and
Comments future waste generation include (depending
In the future, it is intended that other GHGs on the case) (EEA, 1999b):
(CH4, CFC, N2O) will be introduced in the
model. It has to be investigated whether the • data on private consumption,
structure of the model could allow its disaggregated into the relevant consumer
expansion to other modules covering other expenditure items;
environmental issues (e.g. in the field of • data on waste generation (household/
waste and material flows). municipal, glass, paper, cardboard);
• future trends on private consumption, EEA baseline projection of selected waste disaggregated into the relevant consumer
streams expenditure items;
• data and future trends of the gross
Institute of development domestic product in all EEA members
On behalf of the European Environment countries by kind of activity;
Agency (EEA), the former ETC/W has • data and future trends of several other
designed and developed a methodology that macroeconomic parameters (e.g. exchange
addresses generation of selected waste rate, population, etc.).
streams, by evaluating and manipulating
existing data, as well as predicting the future For end-of-life vehicles, a different approach
trends regarding current waste production in was taken. The approach is based on the
1999 (EEA, 1999b). Casper model developed for the
Environment DG to project air emissions. It
Description was amended for the purpose of the end-of-
The methodology addresses the issue of life vehicles projections on behalf of the
waste production, providing data on current ETC/W. The information that is required to
waste production within the EU and make the projections includes the car fleet,
estimating future trends regarding this issue. an initial age distribution in 1970 of the fleet
It refers to municipal/household waste, glass, and a calculated life-time function describing
paper and cardboard waste and end-of-life the probability of finding a car of a certain
vehicles and uses certain assumptions and age on the market (EEA, 1999b).
equations to reach conclusions.
Field of application
More specifically, the main purpose of the The methodology described above provides
methodology is to develop equations that information and data as well as projections of
connect waste generation with the relevant future trends concerning the production of
14 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

selected waste streams, which include the regarding the sewage sludge production and
municipal/household waste, glass, paper and treatment. It allows the user to optimise the
cardboard waste and end-of-life vehicles processes related to wastewater treatment
(EEA, 1999b). and sludge production, in terms of sludge
and effluent quality, efficiency of treatment
Comments plants design and operation, risk
The baseline projections for selected waste minimisation and costs. The user is able to
streams have a simple methodology, which calculate the sewage sludge production and
relates waste generation with economic quality for different wastewater treatment
parameters and forecasting for the sectors processes and evaluate and assess the
considered to contribute to the waste response of multiple changes with respect to
generation. They provide projections for the the influent loads, works capacity or process
future production of certain waste streams operating conditions, etc. This model also
until 2010. Although most of the data that deals with sludge management and treatment
are required in order for the model to work techniques and allows the optimisation of
properly seem rather easy to collect, there such techniques. The STOAT model is
have been difficulties to find information for capable of comparing the performance of
every EU country over the past years. alternative scenarios and determining the
best one for wastewater management in
It is a rather simplified methodology and the terms of sludge production or effluent
results it provides may not be completely quality or the most efficient technique for
validated, they are however indicative of the sludge management. Through the alternative
future trends of waste production. The scenarios evaluation, it is possible to make
coefficients that are included in the future predictions regarding, among others,
equations are not always possible to be the sludge production, quality and
calculated, hence a number of assumptions treatment.
are made in order to reach the conclusions.
Therefore, the results should be interpreted Field of application
carefully and mainly used into an aggregated The STOAT model is designed to be applied
level (geographically or over time) and not in to wastewater management. It enables the
a year-by-year projection. understanding, modeling and optimisation
of the entire wastewater management process
Despite its limitations, the described model — from customer discharge to receiving
provides a useful tool that elaborates data on water impact and assimilation. Sludge
waste generation and macroeconomic data production arising from wastewater
and gives indicative estimations of the future management is an integral part of this
trends of waste quantities based on future model, which provides useful information
trends of economic figures. and estimations regarding sludge quality,
production and treatment. WRc, plc, STOAT
Institute of development The STOAT model aims at dealing with the
WRc plc, which is the lead organisation of the wastewater management. Since wastewater
European Topic Centre on Water, has management results in sludge production,
developed a computerised model, the this tool is capable of modelling sludge
STOAT model, which refers to wastewater production quality and management. Its
treatment works and sewage sludge main advantage is that it considers the full
production. This model has been developed cycle of wastewater management and
over the past 10 years and its latest version includes all common treatment processes. It
was released in 1999 (WRc plc, 1999). also integrates with sewerage and river quality
models and allows transfer of data to other
Description packages. It is a relatively easy-to-use tool but
The STOAT model is a computerised it requires its user to be familiarised with and
modeling package designed to dynamically experienced in the wastewater management
simulate the performance of wastewater sector. It allows focusing on sludge
treatment works. It enables the full spectrum production and treatment and may give an
of the entire wastewater cycle to be estimation of their future trends. This model
simulated. Since wastewater treatment is one provides its user with all the relevant data
of the biggest sludge sources, this model is that can help to identify and apply the best
capable of providing useful information
Overview of available assessment tools 15

solution in terms of wastewater management transport markets are modelled and cleared
and sludge production and treatment. through prices. It describes the European
private and public car and a significant
The applicability of this model to a variety of disaggregation of the vehicle fleet takes
main policy questions is apparent. The main place.
issues that this model addresses refer to waste
reduction and management. It emphasises Under the Eucars model, the producers’ and
the optimisation of wastewater treatment and consumers’ decisions are based on a number
provides the opportunity to reduce and of exogenous variables such as the oil prices,
improve the quality of the produced sludge. the infrastructure, the disposable income
It also provides estimations regarding the etc., as well as several instrumental variables
future situation with respect to wastewater (transport policy variables) such as taxes,
treatment and sludge production and excises, norms, etc. The overall structure of
facilitates its reduction. Eucars consists mainly of two blocks, the
production and consumer block, but it also
On the other hand, this tool only focuses on includes several other modules, in order to
wastewater treatment rather than integrated be able to address all the main parameters
management and does not address the issue and variables that are involved in transport
of natural resources depletion. The model policy-making. These modules address the
does not consider the potential recycling of car market, the fleet turnover, the congestion
wastewater in order to preserve natural and average speed, the emissions and allow
resources. Moreover, although it considers the evaluation of alternative scenarios under
economic parameters, this model fails to several appraisal parameters.
address social effects arising from sludge
production and wastewater treatment, hence A brief description of the modules follows,
it cannot be considered as a tool that may be with special emphasis on the fleet turnover
used for sustainability studies module, which refers to the number of new
and old cars, the number of second-hand
The STOAT model is considered to be a used and scrapped cars.
useful tool, which may facilitate the effort for
minimisation of sludge production, The consumption block describes the
improvement of its quality and use of the allocation of available income by a
most environmentally friendly sludge- representative consumer over various
treatment techniques. Its modification and categories (e.g. public or private transport,
expansion in order to consider more large or small car, car use during peak or off
variables related to sludge production might peak hours, etc.) in the form of a decision
result in its better efficiency and its tree. The decision-making process is
contribution to sustainability. described as a series of separable choices in a
nesting structure. Since transport activities Directorate-General for Economic and require money as well as time, the monetary
Financial Affairs, Eucars and time costs enter directly into the decision
process and the aim is to select the optimum
Institute of development mix of transport services in terms of budget
The partial equilibrium model of European and time.
car emissions was developed on behalf of the
Directorate-General for Economic and In the production block, the technical
Financial Affairs of the European characteristics such as fuel consumption,
Commission. Its first version was published in emission factors, etc. of new vehicles and
1995 and, since then, two more recent fuels are determined. The producers are
versions were developed (in 1996 and 1997 required to make every effort to develop
respectively) (Denis and Koopman, 1998). vehicles with minimum lifetime costs and
minimum emissions. This block consists of
Description two separate modules, one for fuel efficiency
The Eucars model was originally developed and one for emission-reduction technologies.
to study CO2 emission limitation policies in The main feature underlying both modules is
transport. Its more recent versions address a that producers select technical characteristics
greater variety of transport policy questions. of the various vehicle categories so that the
The Eucars is a mathematical model, which models they put on the market correspond to
has the core characteristic of having a partial consumers’ preferences, given prevailing
equilibrium nature, namely all relevant taxes, interest rates, fuel prices, other cost
16 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

components, mileage and emission scrappage decision is based on a comparison

standards. A critical assumption in this of likely repair expenditures and current
respect is that consumers are somewhat vehicle market prices (vintage dependent).
myopic in the perception they have on The expected repair expenditures are
lifelong cost saving. They do not take real assumed to follow a normal distribution.
lifetime costs or benefits into account. Their Furthermore, it is assumed that after repair
choice is therefore sub-optimal when the vehicle becomes indistinguishable again
compared to the fuel economy that would be from other vehicles of its size/vintage class
chosen under rational expectations about (homogeneity assumption). Non-repaired
future costs and, due to the above vehicles cannot be used and have a market
assumption, the production outcome (set of value of zero. A fixed proportion of
emission factors and related costs) is also sub- exogenous scrappage represents cars that can
optimal. no longer be repaired (‘total losses’). As
consumers are assumed to optimise utility,
An important set of input data both for the they will repair the vehicle if the expected
consumer and the production block is repair expenditures are below the second-
related to the age of the car fleet. Hence, the hand market price of the size/vintage class.
age structure of the fleet is an important Given the homogeneity assumption, it is
element of the Eucars model, not only always better to repair a vehicle if the
because the emission profiles differ associated costs are less than the second-hand
significantly across vintage, but also since the market price. Vehicles with repair costs above
end-of-life vehicles provide a very significant the second-hand market price are scrapped.
waste stream that requires special If governments were to introduce policies to
management. Hence, the relative stimulate scrappage, this would affect the
effectiveness of various policy instruments to choice a consumer has to make. In the set-up
limit the car emissions as well as the chosen in this model, a modest scrappage
generation of solid waste arising from end-of- subsidy would have similar effects to an
life vehicles is strongly dependent on the car increase in repair costs, but would, in
fleet. The age structure depends on: addition, also have budgetary implications.
Hence, ‘modest’ scrappage schemes can be
• the stock of old cars transferred from evaluated in Eucars by increasing the repair
period to period (which depends on the costs, and, in addition, increasing the
scrappage of existing old cars); available income by the amount of subsidies
• the number of new cars added to the fleet given.
in each period.
The ‘supply’ of old cars in a specific period
The available number of old cars is reduced can be completely specified, with its
over time following scrappage during dependence on stock previously accumulated
successive periods. Beginning with the and on second-hand market conditions.
number of cars (at the moment of purchase) Demand is a function of relative prices on
of each vintage, and keeping track of these and other related markets.
successive scrappage in previous periods, the
available number of old cars by size and The generalised cost of traffic services
vintage in each period can be calculated. consists of a monetary component and a
time–cost component. The latter component
The parameters of cumulated scrappage and is determined endogenously as the product
of the initial size of the vintage are indexed of the value of time and travel time under the
to period and vintage (five-year periods). different driving conditions. The cost of car
These parameters are transferred and ownership depends on market prices for new
updated between periods, making the model and old cars through depreciation and the
dynamic. The same pattern is followed for use of capacity cost. The variables that
the transcription of cumulated scrappage in influence the determination of the
previous periods. The cumulated scrappage, generalised cost of car usage, the costs of car
hence, refers to the cumulated scrappage at ownership and the car markets include the
the beginning of the simulation period. In exogenous component of variable costs
the model, it is assumed that no scrappage (reflecting oil use, mileage dependent
has yet taken place for vehicles that were insurance etc.), the fuel use per kilometre,
introduced into the vehicle fleet in the the price net of taxes for a specific fuel type,
previous period. The idea behind the fuel excises, the value added tax, the
endogenous scrappage in Eucars is that the exogenous component in the fixed cost of
Overview of available assessment tools 17

cars, the annual road tax, the depreciation Comments

and capacity costs, the purchase price (tax Eucars model aims at dealing with the
incl.) of the new car, the second-hand price transport policy questions and measures and
of the cars, and the opportunity cost of focuses mainly on the cost effectiveness of
capital, which equals the interest rate times the measures related to air emissions. This
the ‘book value’ of the car. priority on financial considerations rather
than the environmental ones illustrates the
The congestion module depicts the international precedence of business over
interrelation of traffic volume and available the environment and public health.
infrastructure to determine average speed.
The assumption is that every additional However, the model’s concept and structure
kilometre has an impact on other users of the allow its expansion in order to address issues
same network by reducing speed. This is such as the production of waste from old
modelled through aggregate speed-flow cars. Moreover, its structure allows an
curves, one per network (rural, urban peak, assessment of the welfare effects of various
urban off-peak, highway) with the policy measures, unlike other simulation
assumption that the driving style is models that track the effects of transport
homogenous on the network. policies on emissions and fuel use, but
cannot assess the welfare costs of such
The emissions module consists of equations measures. Additionally, the consideration of
that describe total emissions of NOx, CO, HC, time costs in combination with the monetary
PM, and NO2 by size, class, and vintage, costs provides one of the strongest points of
which are emitted by various sources. the model. In any case, the model provides a
useful tool for establishing rough orders of
The Eucars model provides also the magnitude of the costs of policy instruments
opportunity to evaluate alternative scenarios to cut emissions. It allows great potential for
compared to a baseline one. The baseline modifications and expansion, which can
scenario builds upon the reference situation result in the generation of a model that fully
to which the model is calibrated, and is then addresses the transport policy questions,
established by fixing income and including the waste arising from old vehicles.
infrastructure growth for the future periods,
leaving standards and fiscal instruments On the other hand, the model’s results are
unchanged. Once the baseline scenario is mainly an illustration and averaging of the
obtained, evaluations of simulations are existing situation rather than data that depict
made on the basis of welfare costs. The real conditions. It contains
welfare ‘yardstick’ integrates all the major oversimplifications when using and
social costs components described below: determining several variables (e.g. travel
consumer welfare, producer welfare and speeds). Furthermore, several transport
government revenues, excluding the effects elements have not been included in the
the measures can have on environmental, model, i.e. accidents and noise emissions that
noise and accident externalities. have significant welfare effects. Finally,
Eucars cannot be used for a spatial evaluation
Field of application of air quality problems, as it has no
The Eucars model is designed to analyse the geographical dimension. Whilst this could be
cost-effectiveness of various transport policy built into the model to some extent through
measures and address several transport policy further differentiation of the road networks,
questions in terms of air emission objectives. a spatial differentiation of the vehicle fleet
Although its focus is mainly on air emissions, composition and behavioural responses is
it contains a specific module that refers to not possible within the current model
the number of old cars, which constitute the architecture. These latter features are,
source of a very complex and significant however, important characteristics of air
waste stream. Therefore, with the quality problems in Europe.
appropriate modifications and expansions, it
can easily address the issues of waste arising Brookhaven Laboratory and
from old vehicles in a greater depth. The Kernforschunganlage, IEA–Markal
model has also been used in simulation
exercises where policy scenarios were Institute of development
evaluated by comparison to the baseline The IEA–Markal model was developed by
scenario that it acquires. Brookhaven Laboratory and
Kernforschunganlage under the aegis of the
18 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

International Energy Agency, in 1981. Since • CO2 removal from industrial plants and
then, several developments and improved storage in depleted gas fields and aquifers;
versions have been published. The Matter– • reduction of non-CO2 GHG emissions
Markal model is the result of the Matter through end-of-pipe technology and
project, a joint project of five Dutch institutes process substitution;
coordinated by the Energy Research Centre • reduction of materials consumption
of the Netherlands, in the framework of the through product substitution (e.g. re-
national research programme on global air useable packaging);
pollution and climate change (NOP-MLK) • materials substitution;
and was carried out between 1995 and 1999. • renewable biomass feedstock;
Matter is an acronym for materials • improved waste-collection and separation
technologies for greenhouse gas emission systems;
reduction (Gielen et al., 1998; ETSA, 1999; • waste recycling, cascading and energy
Cosmi et al., 2000; IRG, 2001). recovery.

Description The selection of materials covers all key

The Matter–Markal model is a member of groups that are related to the greenhouse
the Markal family bottom-up system models, gases (GHG): ceramic, inorganic, metals,
which may be used for energy and material natural organic, plastics, and other synthetic
systems analysis. It analyses the whole materials, which are further disaggregated in
lifecycle of a product. A Markal model is a the Matter–Markal analysis. This selection of
representation of the economy of a region materials is further based on the uniformity
and models the processes and the monetary, of the production process, the uniformity of
energy and material flows between them, the applications and the availability of
during the generation of a product. Many statistical data regarding the material flows.
products and services can be generated Waste materials that are modelled are
through a number of alternative (chains of) characterised by their fixed chemical
processes. The basic components of the composition rather than being modelled as
model are specific types of energy and aggregated waste streams, in order to be able
emission control technologies. Each is to have an insight into the changing of the
represented by a set of performance and cost waste flow composition and hence the
characteristics. Both existing and future changing of energy recovery and recycling
technologies are entered into the model. It potential. The waste material approach with
contains a database of several processes, different waste qualities allows modelling of
covering the whole lifecycle for both energy waste cascades.
and materials. The model calculates the least-
cost system configuration, which meets a The Markal model has been successfully used
certain energy, materials and products to determine the optimum combination of
demand. This system configuration is appropriate waste-treatment technologies
characterised by process capacities, activities and fuel to be used for satisfying the need for
and flows. Processes are characterised by efficient and integrated waste management,
their inputs and outputs of energy and with the minimum environmental and
material, their costs and their environmental economical cost. It provides a comprehensive
impact. These environmental impacts refer methodology to decide the most efficient
to gas emissions as well as waste volumes and waste-management strategies, which promote
land requirements. energy and material recovery and reduce the
environmental impacts of waste-management
Since approximately one third of greenhouse processes. The Markal model, which has
emissions are attributed to material flows, been utilised to represent the relationships
there was a need to expand the Markal amongst energy and material flows, is in fact
model to address material flows changes and a normative model, technologically oriented
strategies and determine the optimum and driven by goods and services demands. It
combination of technologies and strategies, allows the user to extend the analysis over a
in terms of environmental and economic time horizon, based on potential future
costs. This was achieved with the technological developments.
development of the Matter–Markal model.
The model considers the following emission- The first step in applying the Markal
reduction strategies: approach is the characterisation of the case
study in technical and economic terms. This
• industrial process improvements; characterisation includes data on energy and
Overview of available assessment tools 19

material consumption, waste production and resources depletion and environmental

the identification of the most suitable waste- degradation. The model is also capable of
management technologies and strategies. being implemented for a more complete
The features of each waste-processing description of the anthropogenic activities
technology are determined taking into system, via the basic database and reference
account the average composition of waste, network that has been set up, in order to
the existing plants, the social and economic analyse and optimise the waste-disposal
characteristics of the examined region. Each systems.
technological option is characterised by its
costs (e.g. investments, operating and On the other hand, the model focuses on
maintenance, delivery) and by specific waste disposal and treatment rather than
environmental parameters (e.g. emissions waste prevention. It tries to evaluate
coefficients, land-use factors). combinations of different treatment
processes from an economic and
A reference scenario is needed in order to be environmental point of view and fails to
used as a baseline for the evaluation of the address issues such as waste reduction and
alternative scenarios in terms of waste- minimisation. Although its aim is to equally
treatment and disposal technologies, which consider the economic and environmental
will be constructed. The scenarios are in fact effects of each scenario, this is not done in a
a combination of waste-processing proper way. Economic parameters are always
technologies such as landfill, recycling, considered as the main criterion in
incineration and composting. Each scenario determining the optimum waste-
is then optimised in terms of resource management solution. The Matter–Markal
allocation, and use of technologies and is focuses mainly on greenhouse gases
evaluated with respect to its economic cost emissions and fails to consider other adverse
and environmental impacts. environmental effects from waste
production, waste management, etc. The
Field of application model requires numerous assumptions and a
The Markal model is designed to be applied great amount of information, which are not
to decision-making processes with respect to always available. Therefore, a high level of
the determination of the optimum simplifications and uncertainty cannot be
combination of waste-processing avoided.
technologies and energy — environmental
planning at a regional or local scale. Several 3.2. Lifecycle assessment (LCA)
OECD and developing countries use it. Some
uses of the Markal model include the 3.2.1. Description
evaluation of existing and new technologies Lifecycle assessment is a process:
(e.g. in the field of waste management) and
priorities for R & D, the evaluation of the • to evaluate the environmental burdens
effects of regulation, taxes and subsidies (e.g. associated with a product, process or
landfill tax), prospective analysis of long-term activity by identifying and quantifying
energy balances under different scenarios energy and materials used, wastes and
and estimation of the value of regional emissions released to the environment;
cooperation. • to assess the impact of those energy and
material uses and releases to the
Comments environment;
The Markal model is a tool that may be used • to identify and evaluate opportunities that
to analyse material flows and determine the lead to environmental improvements.
optimum waste-management strategies. It is
capable of examining a range of alternative The assessment covers the entire lifecycle of
future possibilities if it receives as input the product, process or activity,
projections of energy services and material encompassing extracting and processing raw
flows demands, etc. One of the major materials; manufacturing, transportation and
advantages of the model is that it allows the distribution; use, reuse, maintenance,
user to make estimation of future trends, in recycling and final disposal.
terms of waste production and management,
taking into account present and future According to the International Organisation
market and technological conditions. It for Standardisation (ISO), an environmental
examines the whole lifecycle of goods, the lifecycle assessment (LCA) is analysing the
material and energy flows and the impacts to environmental interventions and potential
20 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

impacts throughout a product’s life (i.e. from Lifecycle assessment can provide a basis for
cradle to grave) from raw material making strategic decisions on the ways in
acquisition through production, use and which particular waste in a given set of
disposal. This is done by compiling an circumstances can be most effectively
inventory of relevant inputs and outputs of a managed. Even where a comparison of
system (inventory analysis), evaluating the different systems does not show a clearly
potential impacts of those inputs and outputs preferred option in terms of quantifiable
(impact assessment), and interpreting the environmental flows, this indication of
results (interpretation) in relation to the environmental performance can be of value
objectives of the study (defined in the goal to decision-makers (Ayres, 1995).
and scope definition at the beginning of the
study). In the definition of LCA, the term 3.2.4. Drawbacks/limitations
‘product’ includes not only product systems The problems of LCA are:
but also service systems, like for example
management systems. The transportation of • the low scientific robustness of weightings
waste (both in terms of distance travelled and and/or loadings used to quantify and assess
the mode of transportation) from the point environmental impacts;
at which waste is generated, through the • the determination of the scope of the
collection and sorting of waste, to where it is inventory analysis (where to cut off the
treated, recovered or finally disposed of are process-chains or system);
included within the lifecycle. • the definition of functional unit (goal);
• the results produced by various of LCAs
LCA encompasses three separate but (investigating the same product) differ in
interrelated components: practice.

• inventories involving energy and raw Moreover, LCA has no utility if the
materials use and the emissions associated underlying physical data are wrong with
with a product, process or activity; respect to critical pollutants and cannot
• impact analysis assessing the potential address time and location-dependent effects
impacts of the environmental loadings (Ayres, 1995).
identified in the lifecycle inventory;
• improvement analysis identifying 3.2.5. Application of lifecycle assessment
opportunities to reduce the environmental methodology
impacts identified in the impact analysis UK Department of the Environment, LCA
through modification of the inventory. for waste management

(Sources: SETAC, 1993; ISO, 1996). Institute of development

The lifecycle analysis for waste management
3.2.2. Field of application was developed and applied by the UK
Various policy-makers, such as industries, Department of the Environment in 1996
governmental authorities, NGOs, (Barton et al., 1996).
universities, etc, can apply LCA. Direct
applications of LCA are: Description
The UK Department of the Environment has
• product development and improvement; produced an LCA methodology that can be
• strategic planning; developed and applied to assist decision-
• public policy-making; makers in waste management. It focuses on a
• marketing; method for identifying the environmental
• integrated (solid) waste management. burdens that occur during the collection,
treatment and disposal of non-hazardous
3.2.3. Benefits waste.
Only with the help of a formal tool like LCA
is it possible to make rational judgments on The method requires activities (unit
the relative environmental load of alternative operations) related to waste management to
end-use products or alternative processes for be defined in a manner that is independent
producing a given product. The case for or of the waste processed. These unit operations
against recycling in specific cases also can be defined at varying levels of detail and
depends on such analysis. are used to flowsheet the waste-management
system under study.
Overview of available assessment tools 21

Two approaches to identify potential burdens developed to identify burdens for the LCI
for waste management are considered in the stage that would meet the wide range of goals
study. The first approach involves classifying and system boundaries for which such
activities that differ due to the combination inventory data may be required.
of waste handled and the unit operation the
waste is undergoing. The second approach, The dual classification method for
that is the dual classification system approach identification of potential burdens also
to burden identification, requires the waste- facilitates classifying burdens into categories
management system to be defined as a that indicate how and why the burden arises.
combination of (i) the generic unit The method should enable unit operations
operations and (ii) the wastes characteristics. data to be collected for quantifying many of
the waste-independent burdens. These will
Many burdens, termed waste-independent then be expressed in terms of the required
burdens, can be identified at this stage. functional unit for the system. Availability of
Burdens that depend on the specific such data would reduce the time and cost of
characteristics of the waste are identified by undertaking specific studies. For waste-
allocating the waste/material a selection of dependent burdens, energy, mass and
relevant waste characteristics and considering materials balance data are needed to quantify
what burdens will arise due to interaction of burdens for the system studied. These need
these characteristics and the various unit to be assessed in the context of the full system
operations. For specific studies, this step can as it is only when emissions and products
take into account whether or not the cross the system boundary that quantification
potential burdens identified cross the system is required. However, the variety of processes
boundary. and process configurations used in waste-
management systems and the fact that this
The unit operations are waste-independent stage takes the full range of materials,
descriptions of all the activities that might be products and residues generated by modern
required to manage wastes. They are also industrial economies will require database
used in combination as building blocks to and software development to ensure ease of
flowsheet and define specific waste- use.
management systems. Danish Building Research Institute, LCA
The unit operation building blocks can be in the building industry
defined either in broad or narrow terms. The
level of the appropriate detail will depend on Institute of development
the system, the nature of the waste and the The Danish Building Research Institute
context and purpose of the study. To (SBI) designed and developed an LCA tool
accommodate varying levels of detailed for use in the building industry, in 1999
breakdown of the waste-management (Peterson, 1999).
activities into unit operations, a staged
approach to classification is adopted. Description
An LCA tool was developed by the Danish
Field of application Building Research Institute (SBI). It consists
The LCA methodology is used to support the of a database for systematic storing of all
development of environmental legislation quantifiable environmental data, and an
and regulation, development of criteria for inventory tool for the calculation of the
environmental taxes, standards, or eco- potential environmental effects for buildings
labelling programmes, or to provide and building elements. The main design
consumer information. criteria have been flexibility and ease of use.
The tool can be used to perform an LCA for
Comments any type of product, but it is designed and
This study has focused on the development structured specifically to perform LCAs for
of a dual classification system for the buildings and building elements. The tool
identification of potential burdens required differs from most other LCA tools currently
for lifecycle inventory (LCI) in order to available by the method it uses to handle
determine the potential of lifecycle uncertainty. Moreover, this tool can
assessment to aid decision-making in the field contribute significantly to the effective
of waste management. The study illustrates management of construction and demolition
that a general methodology can be wastes.
22 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

The tool consists of two databases. The first By using the aforementioned tool, the
database contains tables where data are different parties involved in the building
stored, while the second database contains industry can evaluate waste-management
the user interface and inventory tool. options to reduce pollution and waste-
management costs, and guide the
The leading database is grouped in three development of new products with lower
main sections, which allows different users to environmental impacts and cost–benefits and
use the LCA tool for different processes and redesign products to reduce their material
at different levels of detail: intensity.

• a section containing typical data for Despite the fact that the LCA tool is powerful
different energy sources and means of in its present form, there are still a number of
transport used in the Danish industry; areas in which it can be improved.
• a section containing typical data for Specifically, more systematic handling is
commonly used materials in Danish needed for the last phases in the lifecycle of a
buildings; building such as:
• a section containing typical data for
commonly used building elements in • operation of a building;
Danish buildings. • maintenance, specifically automatic
calculation of the amounts of building
The database allows systematic storing of all elements replaced during the lifecycle of a
quantifiable environmental data related to a building;
process. For this reason, it is designed in such • waste handling.
a way that determines designating units, raw
materials, emissions, effects, processes and However, the LCA tool in its present form is
references by index. being used in everyday work at the SBI, and
has proven stable, reliable and easy to use.
Field of application
The LCA tool was developed with the intent Edwards D., Schelling of Loughborough
of being generally usable by the different University, LCA for glass waste
parties in the building industry who will be transportation
able to use it to analyse, compare and
improve products, building elements and Institute of development
buildings. The LCA was applied for the assessment of
waste (glass) transportation by
So far, LCA has primarily been used on Loughborough University in 1999 (Edwards
industrial products, especially packing and Schelling, 1999).
materials, but in principle the method can be
used on any type of product, including Description
buildings. The aim of the method is to provide
quantitative guidance, based upon
When performing an LCA for a building, all environmental impact, for choosing the best
inputs/outputs related to the building waste-management option for a material and,
during its entire lifetime are calculated. in particular, to show whether it should be
These include: recycled. The focus on base materials
differentiates the method from the usual
• extraction of raw materials; LCA of a single product or group of products
• production of building materials; formed from base material(s). The method
• construction of the building; quantifies environmental impacts from all
• operation and maintenance of the stages in the life of materials, from
building; production from raw materials to final
• demolition and removal of the building. disposal and includes impacts apportioned
from supporting activity, such as electricity
Comments generation and transport. Measures of
The SBI’s LCA tool is fully functional and the specific environmental impacts — for
database contains data for most common example, SO2 emissions and NOx emissions
energy sources, means of transport and — are aggregated whenever possible into
building materials used in the Danish environmental loads, in this instance units of
building industry. polluted air.
Overview of available assessment tools 23

Field of application Environment Agency for England and

The primary goal for developing the method Wales, Wisard
and applying it to materials in municipal
waste is to resolve the recycle versus waste Institute of development
treatment and disposal dilemma, by The Environment Agency for England and
comparing the environmental impact of Wales, with support from SEPA (Scottish
components of household waste under Environment Protection Agency) and other
different waste-management schemes. The international parties, has developed the
impact due to product fabrication and use lifecycle assessment software tool called
will be the same whether the products are Wisard (waste-integrated systems assessment
derived from virgin or recycled materials — for recovery and disposal) in 1999
the same amounts of products are produced (Environment Agency of England and Wales
and used in either case. Therefore, the and Pricewaterhouse Coopers, 2000).
impact of different waste-management and
recycling scenarios is compared by making Description
LCAs for the materials in the waste, ignoring Wisard is a software tool that applies the
the impacts due to the product fabrication approved by the International Organisation
and product use, reuse, and maintenance for Standardisation (ISO) lifecycle
stage. assessment methodology to strategic waste-
management planning. The software has
The method applied consists of two phases: been developed over a number of years in
(1) inventory analysis — that is, a material partnership with the Environment Agency,
and energy flow analysis within defined Eco-Emballage and Ademe (the French
system boundaries. It provides a mass and Environment Agency). Other national
energy balance for a material from raw agencies including SEPA are now involved in
material acquisition to disposal by landfill or further development of the tool and all
incineration. (2) impact assessment — the future development will be steered by an
material and energy input and output flows international users group involving all the
from the inventory are classified into impact national public agencies who are using
categories, which are called environmental Wisard and funding further development.
loads and the environmental impacts of the
loads are quantified. Wisard uses a standard set of waste types
measured in tones. Details are required of
Comments the waste types and quantities collected in
The method was applied to glass each individual collection system, and the
transportation. It was found that the specific quantities of each waste type going into the
fuel usage per kg recycling material for recovery and disposal options selected.
consumer transport decreases with
increasing material recovery rate. The purpose of the software (Wisard) is to
quantify the environmental impacts of
The presented analysis using the extended collecting and processing municipal solid
model showed that the environmental waste using various lifecycle techniques.
impacts due to collecting glass do not These lifecycle techniques rely on databases
overweigh the benefits of recycling and that, of information on the environmental inputs
in order to optimise the use of energy, and outputs of energy and materials into a
facilities for collection of recycled glass system and the environmental costs of
should be greatly expanded. processes in that system.

However, some limitations of the method In the case of Wisard, the lifecycle assessment
derive from the following drawbacks: allows the evaluation of various waste-
management options. It examines them in
• too time consuming and complex; terms of resource use and emissions to the
• the result of the method applied is a environment at every stage in the
number of discrete effect scores that are development and operation of the scenario.
difficult to interpret; These include raw material and energy use in
• limitation of the application of the study to the construction of facilities, manufacture of
two products (glass and aluminium); vehicles, bins, etc; emissions from
• exact illustrations of costs and times are transportation, waste-management
difficult to provide as they can vary operations as well as the options or benefits
substantially from product to product. of the options tested.
24 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

Wisard also enables the user to analyse across options), particularly if the default
specific parts of scenarios which show up as parameters in the data input stages are
having particularly high emissions or costs to selected by the user (Department for
identify the specific cause, and show how Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,
changing one part of an option, for example,
changing lorry type or collection route can
affect the overall costs and benefits. The data Comments
contained within Wisard come from a Wisard is a data-intensive tool so the data
number of sources that are identified within collected during the strategic waste-
the software. All data collected for the management baseline assessment stage will
Environment Agency have been subject to a be of critical importance in testing the
peer review process (Bedfordshire Waste options. However, if difficulties occur with
Strategy Group, 2001). the data collection, particularly on waste
arisings, Wisard does have a standard data set
Field of application developed by the national household waste-
Wisard software can be used to compare one analysis programme, which if applied to every
waste-management scenario with another, as scenario will still allow comparisons of
well as to analyse the individual impact of different options to be carried out. For
different parts of the waste-management municipal solid waste, the Wisard model can
scenario, for example, changing lorry type or predict releases to land and water. For other
collection route. In this way, competent waste streams, an assumed waste composition
authorities can compare various waste- could be used to allow Wisard to calculate
management options. impacts.

Using the information from the forecasting Moreover, the lifecycle-assessment (LCA)
model on predicted waste production, software Wisard can be used to estimate the
several waste-management system scenarios, quantities of greenhouse gases that will be
that would meet the targets in waste strategy generated by the municipal waste options.
and the landfill directive, can be modelled Waste streams other than municipal solid
using Wisard. waste can be dealt with by Wisard by creating
an assumed waste stream composition,
Key areas covered are: paying particular regard to the composition
of organic materials. Inter alia, Wisard can
• waste transport and other vehicle use; estimate the consumption of all resources
• waste collection and separation; individually and provide two indexes of non-
• incineration; renewable resource use based on resource
• landfill; depletion (percentage of resource
• composting and anaerobic digestion; remaining) and consumption rate
• recycling of materials. (percentage of current consumption rate).

The Wisard model can also be applied to the This tool currently models municipal and
appraisal of air quality impacts for municipal similar wastes (but on a later stage it will
waste options or systems. Wisard also allows address other waste streams as well). The
the following outputs to be modelled: Wisard model is reliant on data and
fundamental assumptions concerning the
• acidification; nature of waste management, manufacturing
• stratospheric ozone depletion; and the current economy. For recycling
• photochemical smog formation; options, further detail is required. Wisard
• human toxicity for selected emissions. does not cater for the recovery of certain
recyclables and reusable material.
For other waste streams, an assumed waste
composition can be used to allow Wisard to Future enhancements are also planned for
calculate impacts. However, Wisard requires the Wisard tool, which include the capability
data related to waste types, logistics and to model financial costs and new databases of
proposed recycling/recovery systems. Such information on new waste-management
data may not always be available for other technologies and waste-collection vehicles
waste streams, and therefore the model (Department for Environment, Food and
should be used with care (and consistency Rural Affairs,
Overview of available assessment tools 25

3.3. Environmental impact • the execution of construction works or

assessment (EIA) other installations;
• other interventions in the natural
3.3.1. Description surroundings and landscape including
The EIA was set up by Council Directive 85/ those involving the extraction of mineral
337/EEC and is a thorough study of the resources.
effects of an activity or installation on the
environment. It is a process by which the 3.3.3. Benefits
effects of certain public and private projects The benefits of the EIA process as an
on the environment are identified, assessed environmental assessment tool are the
and then taken into account by the following:
consenting authority in the decision-making
process. The EIA enables projects to be • The EIA provides all the relevant
modified in the light of potential impacts information concerning the environmental
identified to eliminate or mitigate them. viewpoint of a project. It constitutes the
input data used in modelling, future
It consists of the following parts: scenarios, trends, etc.
• It also provides processing of information,
• Goal definition and scoping: description of identification of gaps and formulation of
the project and proposed activity, suggestions.
definition of the environmental issues of
greatest importance, determination of the 3.3.4. Drawbacks/limitations
parameters (setting boundaries, The drawbacks of the EIA process as an
consideration of alternatives). environmental assessment tool are the
• Data collection: description and following:
quantification of the baseline
environmental conditions in the vicinity of • It is project-specific and does not provide
the site, identification of all inputs and possible scenarios or future predictions.
outputs of the project which may affect the • It lacks explicit project definition leading to
environment. limited boundaries and application depth.
• Impact assessment: description and • It omits formal scooping, discouraging the
quantification of the changes of the development of consensus.
environment (both positive and negative, • It does not contribute to enhanced/earlier
direct and indirect impacts) resulting from public participation, thus creating a gap in
these inputs and outputs, assessment of the the feedback loop of EIA procedures and
significance of any impacts arising from methodologies improvement.
these changes by reference to the baseline • It does not require post-project
conditions and appropriate standards and monitoring, resulting in an inflexible
criteria. character in future changes.
• Control of effects: identification of • It does not include strategic environmental
measures that will be adopted to prevent or assessment.
minimise any significant adverse
environmental impacts, iteration and 3.3.5. Application of environmental impact
feedback into the design process, report of assessment (EIA)
environmental impacts which will remain Hong Kong Polytechnic University and
even after alleviation measures have been University of New South Wales,
applied (‘residual impacts’), planning of manufacturing processes modeling
measures to compensate for ‘residual
measures’. Institute of development
• Alternatives consideration: identification of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and
the best practicable environmental option. the University of New South Wales carried
• Communication: adequate participation out the project entitled ‘Manufacturing
and consultation before consent decision- processes modelling for environmental
making, dissemination of information to impact assessment’ (Choi et al., 1997).
interested parties.
Description — methodology
3.3.2. Field of application The key to environmental design is to
An EIA is carried out to assess the translate adverse environmental impact into
environmental impacts of: design criteria or to relate design criteria to
environmental impact. One of the strategies
26 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

that is necessary to put environmental impact Comments

assessment into product and process design is In the complete assessment model, it was not
the lifecycle analysis (LCA). too difficult to discover the relationship
between the product and the manufacturing
In this study, a methodology of process in terms of less environmental
environmental impact assessment was impact. Referring to the assessment, once the
developed on the basis of the ‘material product has been identified, all of the related
balance’ of a process and the relationship processes could be determined. So,
amongst different processes. As a result, the throughout the quantification, all the
amount of solid waste generated, the energy drawbacks of each operation incurred by the
consumed, the wastewater incurred as well as product would be revealed, including the
the level of noise were obtained. The case amount of solid waste, the energy
study of the production of a toy train with 12 consumption and the wastewater generated
scenarios was performed to illustrate and as well as the level of noise.
examine the assessment model. This study
showed that the number of components, the Throughout the case studies, an objective
selection of materials and processes and measure of solid waste, energy consumption,
recyclability are essential factors to determine wastewater and noise for each product was
whether the products are environmentally obtained and it was found that the design of
oriented. the product, the material selection and the
production method are the critical factors
For the ease of material balance causing impact on the environment. Indeed,
determination, manufacturing processes these factors must be emphasised at the
were classified into the following categories: design stage rather than just occurring at the
production stage.
1. Non-shaping processes — processes used
for modifying the properties of materials 3.4. Environmental risk assessment
are called ‘ non-shaping’ processes.
3.4.1. Description
2. Shaping processes — processes used for Environmental risk assessment is the process
modifying the work piece geometry are of identifying, evaluating, selecting, and
called ‘shaping’ processes. implementing actions to reduce risk to
human health and ecosystems.
The shaping category was divided into three
main groups: (1) mass-reducing processes, The general procedure for an environmental
(2) mass conserving processes and (3) risk assessment study is presented below:
joining processes.
• Hazard identification producing:
Most of the unit operations, for example, This phase aims at producing a list of
turning, injection moulding, piercing, etc., potentially hazardous situations. Hazard
were defined and grouped into nine families, identification is fundamental for any risk
the grouping criteria being based on their assessment, since no protection measure
process nature. The material balance of each can be implemented for unidentified
group was identified. The method of hazards.
quantification for material balance which was
used aimed at finding the actual outputs of • Accident frequency and consequence
each unit operation, the amount of solid estimation:
waste produced, the energy consumed The second phase is composed of two parts:
(electricity), the wastewater incurred and the the estimation of the occurrence frequency
noise generated. and of the damage produced by each of the
previously identified significant accidents.
For example, the method of quantifying the
solid waste produced was the following: • Risk calculation:
In the third phase, the results of the
volume of solid waste = volume of non- previous phase are used to estimate the risk
recycled/ volume of non-reused part.
• Risk reduction:
Waste estimation: volume of waste (VW) = This phase includes decisions that can be
volume of raw material (VR) – volume of made on further risk reduction or on their
product (VP). acceptability. The analysts have all the
Overview of available assessment tools 27

information necessary (generated during This is an important source of

the previous phases) in order to identify the uncertainty, which calls for the need of
best cost-effective improvements (Contini, a multidisciplinary team of experts;
1993). — model uncertainty, i.e. inappropriate
model, inaccurate model parameters,
3.4.2. Field of application inadequate validation, model
Environmental risk may arise from both limitations requires simplifications;
accidents and routine operations, involving — data uncertainty, i.e. source term,
potentially long-term processes and complex reliability parameters, time to operator
environmental behaviour. In fact, risks facing interventions, atmospheric data (e.g.
the environment can arise from sources as wind rose, stability classes), etc.
varied as atmospheric emissions from power • There still is a lack of detailed guidance on
stations, leaks from hazardous waste landfills, methodologies for setting and achieving
natural hot spots of radon, or leaks from management goals that have an
nuclear power stations, etc. (Slater and Jones, appropriate balance of technical
1999). information and public inputs.
• To date, no generally accepted means has
Therefore, environmental risk assessment is been devised for measuring and
used in a large number of fields, such as interpreting risks to the natural
pollution analysis of soils after waste disposal, environment, or defining and managing
environmental impact analysis of climate the scale of risks regarded as tolerable by
change, etc. society.
• There is limited agreement on how to add
3.4.3. Benefits or compare different environmental effects
The potential benefits of an environmental on a common basis.
risk assessment are as follows: • Certain policy issues remain unresolved, for
example, the basis for trading off or
• cost-effective targeting of risk-management comparing safety, environmental and
resources towards high risks; economic factors, and the basis for setting
• prediction and management of legislative, environmental risk acceptance criteria.
environmental, economic and public • Methods for costing environmental
pressures; damage and valuation of environmental
• more explicit treatment and better resources exist but how they should be used
management of uncertainties; has not been fully established (Slater and
• flexibility in setting and applying criteria Jones, 1999).
and standards;
• reduced risk of non-compliance with 3.4.5. Application of environmental risk
environmental regulations and standards; assessment
• improved efficiency of assessments and This section discusses some selected
submissions under different regulatory applications of risk assessment related to
regimes (Slater and Jones, 1999). waste-management practices.

3.4.4. Drawbacks/limitations The description of the selected case studies is

Drawbacks of the environmental risk structured as follows:
assessment are:
• institute of development;
• It is a complex study involving the • identification of the problem;
treatment of a large amount of information • the assessment methodology;
by the teams of experts in chemical • comments.
processes, maintenance, system reliability
and consequence calculation. The selected studies are described below.
• There is inevitable uncertainty at some
degree due to: Cornell University, ERA in municipal
— incomplete plant knowledge, which has solid waste composting
a considerable effect on the hazard
identification phase; Institute of development
— engineering judgment, needed to The Institute for Comparative &
overcome the problem of missing data Environmental Toxicology at Cornell
and imperfect knowledge of accident University applied the risk-assessment
evolution, dose-effect relationships, etc. methodology in municipal solid waste
28 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

Figure 3.1 Steps in risk assessment

Hazard identification

Exposure assessment Hazard assessment

Risk characterisation

Risk assessment

Risk management Further study

Action No action

composting in order to examine various by MSW composts are not evident. Specific
issues related to the safety of employees and hazards to employees are recognised and
environment (CWMI, 1999). being addressed, although there are
concerns (see below). Most of the unresolved
Identification of the problem issues focus on long-term, chronic exposures.
What are the risks in various alternatives for Despite uncertainties, those responsible for
resource recovery and waste management? risk management must act to safeguard
Who or what is threatened? What is saved or public health and the environment.
protected? Decisions about environmental Reasonable regulations must be set and
risks are made in the face of uncertainties standards for accountability must be
beyond common experience, particularly for determined.
new technologies. Municipal solid waste
(MSW) composting lacks evaluative data The risk-assessment methodology
offering a foundation on which to base Risk assessment is a process engendered by
scientific assessments. With MSW the need to make risk-management decisions
composting, the situation is further in the face of uncertainty. Simulated
complicated by the highly diverse, and often scenarios and statistical analyses are used to
changing, nature of MSW and other try to determine the potential exposure to
materials with which it might be composted. hazards, agents and activities for various
groups and to assess the potential outcomes
Historically, composting has both provided a of such exposure.
soil conditioner/nutrient source and been a
means of waste management of large Most risk assessments generally follow a series
volumes of sludge and manure. The product of steps such as: hazard identification and
can be a clean, odour-free and welcome assessment, exposure assessment, risk
garden fertiliser, but the process may be characterisation and risk assessment
messy, odoriferous and subject to many (Figure 3.1).
complaints, even though people recognise it
as a ‘green’ alternative to landfills and Hazard identification: In MSW composting,
incinerators. This obvious ambivalence primary hazards include pathogens and their
affects the policies and perceptions toxins, organic chemicals (many of them are
regarding composting and its products. in common household items such as solvents
and cleaners), and heavy metals (from items
Serious, immediate and widespread threats to such as batteries and consumer electronics),
the environment and consumers presented as well as mechanical and related hazards. In
Overview of available assessment tools 29

compost products, concerns for consumers The exposure and hazard assessments are
and the environment are principally the connected by an appropriate set of risk
heavy metals and some persistent organics. assessment scenarios — the likely pathways of
Furthermore, potential hazards may come exposure and conditions of concern. The
from three sources: those present in MSW, exposure-response relationship calculated via
those materials transformed by composting, these scenarios can yield an average or a
and those materials created by the range of values to be compared to accepted
composting organisms themselves standards by the risk assessor. For MSW
(endotoxins, spores). composts, risk characterisations are most
important for heavy metals and some
Hazard assessment: The nature of effects on persistent organics, but have generally
individuals, species, and living systems, as well paralleled those of sludges.
as the time course over which these effects
may take place, are needed to relate Comments
exposure to the outcome. Two points are Once some knowledge of the distribution of
particularly important in a risk assessment: exposures over time and some understanding
the dose-response relationship (what of the outcomes from different types of
exposure results in a given level of effect) hazard is obtained, the formal risk
and the character of the effect itself. assessment of MSW composting and its
products can be undertaken. A large number
Exposure assessment: Exposure is the of assumptions must be made to construct
frequency, duration and intensity with which appropriate mathematical models. Various
an agent or activity is presented to a subject strategies for risk assessment may differ
by various routes (inhalation, ingestion, or substantially in their assumptions and
through the skin (dermal)). Exposure can be approach, so different conclusions may be
direct, as for inhalation of MSW compost reached.
dusts and ingestion of compost/soil by
children, or indirect by ingestion through Uncertainty pervades each step in the risk-
the food chain (soil-> crop -> subject or soil -> assessment process. Some of this uncertainty
water -> invertebrate -> fish -> subject). In is either due to the difficulty in making
instances where exposure is known or accurate measurements at very low
reasonably suspected to occur, such as the concentrations or is systematic, i.e. due to
occupational exposure of workers, relatively uncertainty in the models, equations and
simple models and assumptions can be used understanding of the biotic systems involved.
to simulate the nature of the exposure.
Where exposure is suspected, but not well Other uncertainty results from physical and
described and predictable, the common biological variation, i.e. random events such
practice is to monitor potentially affected as weather, the frequency of genes in the
people and the media (air, water, soil, or target populations, etc. Taking all of these
food) with which they come in contact. sources and types of uncertainty into account
Specific information about the behaviour of in risk assessment offers several challenges
the chemicals and the environmental for MSW compost.
conditions affecting their fate are used to
refine our understanding of exposure. Research can narrow some of the uncertainty
Background levels of contamination from inherent in the risk-assessment process, but
other sources, including natural phenomena, risk assessors must provide clear, consistent
must be identified and quantified. estimates regarding the level of uncertainty
Monitoring of the MSW composting process, for each step and for the overall process.
for example, has been useful in showing that
potentially harmful levels of organisms Ultimately, the purpose of risk assessment is
associated with respiratory disease exist only to assist in risk management, that is, to help
in the immediate vicinity of a disturbed pile, regulators, policy-makers, and managers
even though such organisms are widely choose an appropriate course of action when
distributed throughout the environment. necessary. The risk manager must balance
many factors beyond the numbers generated
Risk characterisation: Risk characterisation in a risk assessment: the needs of
sets the stage for risk assessment by communities who seek protection or to
developing both the models of exposure- minimise their tax expenditures, the
response in test species and human beings concerns of companies which will undertake
and the means to convert one to the other. remediation or want relief from what they see
30 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

Table 3.1 Results of routing scenarios for waste transport to disposal sites

Routing scenario Average Population within Km over extremely Estimated years

journey length 500 m of roads used vulnerable between
groundwaters accidents
Minimise travel 55 3 498 884 10 607 19
Encourage use of 77 2 280 988 16 907 22
trunk roads
Avoid densely 92 2 257 994 24 553 11
inhabited areas
Minimise accidents 65 2 986 097 9 830 24

as oppressive regulations, and the interests of predicted accident frequency for each class
diverse agencies and jurisdictions with their of road in each scenario were examined. Of
own legislative mandates. Decisions must be the four scenarios, the accident-avoidance
made about which standards to apply, what one seemed the best all-round for
groups to place at risk or protect, which minimising the many risks involved, while the
remediation strategy should be employed, or population avoidance one resulted in absurd
what mitigation is immediately needed. routing schemes, diverting lorries down
completely unsuitable (and more accident- University of East Anglia, ERA for prone) roads. A summary of the findings are
transportation of hazardous materials presented in Table 3.1.

Institute of development Comments

The School of Environmental Sciences, Risk analysis is considered as an important
University of East Anglia, Norwich in Great tool for decision-making. The benefits of the
Britain, has applied GIS as a tool in risk spatial treatment of risk may be particularly
assessment for transportation of hazardous important for environmental risk analysis.
material (Brainard et al., 1996). The spatial component of risk without
extrapolating beyond the known data is one
Identification of the problem — of the most important challenges of the
methodology description future. Nevertheless, ultimately, interpolation
Researchers of the University of East Anglia of contaminant data that are rare in space
have been able to access archived data from and time is necessary for full evaluation of
the 1980s for transport of London’s human risks. Spatial interpolation techniques
hazardous wastes, which included producer make assumptions, and may therefore be
and disposal sites. With the use of a misleading, incomplete, or incorrect. But, to
geographical information system, the most encapsulate human health risk into a single
likely routes taken by tanker lorries for value in a table may be at least as incomplete
transport of certain waste classes were or misleading, since the spatial relationships
modelled. The investigation was narrowed among contaminant values are not retained.
considerably because of concerns about data The presentation of an interpolated
quality and our desire to get a regional contaminant layer together with bar and pie
picture of waste movements. These results chart symbols placed at actual sample
are for liquid wastes transported by tanker locations distinguishes between measured
lorries in London and nearby counties, and and derived concentration values, and
arising in the 1984–85 period. provides a means of qualitatively evaluating
uncertainty. Such a presentation also
The simulations employed four different communicates the spatial weighting of the
routing criteria: (i) shortest travel time, (ii) sampling design.
shortest travel time, encouraging use of main
roads (resident) population avoidance, (iii) 3.5. Multi-criteria analysis (MCA)
accident avoidance. The simulations were
applied for four scenarios (routing through 3.5.1. Description
central London, routing used by actual Multi-criteria analysis (MCA) is an assessment
drivers, bizarre routing schemes, convenient tool for environmental planning and
routing schemes). To explore the potential decision-making processes. Environmental
risks posed by these waste movements, the planning and decision-making are essentially
possible hazards to the nearest resident conflict analyses characterised by
population, groundwater supplies, and the sociopolitical, environmental and economic
Overview of available assessment tools 31

value judgments. Several alternatives have to 3.5.2. Field of application

be considered and evaluated in terms of MCA is used in environmental planning and
many different criteria, resulting into a vast decision-making processes in order to clarify
body of data, which are often inaccurate or the planning process, to avoid various
uncertain. To complicate the process further, distortions and to manage all the
there typically is a large number of decision- information, criteria, uncertainties and
makers with conflicting preferences. The importance of the criteria (Lahdelma et al.,
different points of view of various interest 2000).
groups should also be considered in the
process. Therefore, a single, objectively, best 3.5.3. Benefits
solution does not generally exist and the Some of the more important advantages of
planning process can be characterised as a MCA are considered to be:
search for acceptable compromised solutions
(Lahdelma et al., 2000). • capability to compare scenarios with
regards to contradictory objectives;
The core of the MCA is the decision model, • facilitation of the process when many
which is a formal specification of how criteria are involved;
different kinds of information are combined • bilateral learning between experts and
together to reach a solution. interest groups;
• all people associated with the planning and
To give a better picture of the multi-criteria decision process learn to understand the
analysis method, it is essential to proceed in problem better, as the decision problem
defining the terms of criteria, alternatives immediately becomes clearer after it has
and stakeholders. A discrete multiple criteria been formalised in terms of alternatives
decision problem consists of a finite set of and criteria (Lahdelma et al., 2000);
alternatives that are evaluated in terms of • support to the allocation of resources, since
multiple criteria. The criteria provide it provides a comprehensive framework for
numerical measures for all relevant impacts storing all relevant problem information
of different alternatives. The relevance of and makes the requirements for new
different impacts depends on stakeholders’ information explicit;
points of view. It is necessary to define • traceable and transparent process because
precisely how each criterion is measured. it ensures that all relevant data,
Usually, criteria are aggregate values uncertainties, and preferences can be
computed from a much larger amount of so- considered explicitly;
called primary factors, which form the lowest • increased discussion between different
level of information, also known as the stakeholders, activated non-participants
assessment level (Lahdelma et al., 2000). and focuses the discussion to relevant
In real-life environmental problems, • potential for the stakeholders to examine
alternatives can be divided into standard and problems comprehensively, not just from
innovative ones. Standard alternatives are their own point of view and to recognise
obvious from the decision context alone: the conflicts based on misunderstandings and
actual project, the so-called zero alternative solve them.
(rejection of the project), and other
alternatives presented by the stakeholders. 3.5.4. Drawbacks/limitations
Innovative alternatives are those emerging Some of the main disadvantages of MCA are
through different kinds of negotiations presented below:
during the process (Lahdelma et al., 2000).
• In order to use MCA, there is a necessity for
The stakeholders consist of all different comparable data.
people associated with the planning and • There is the possibility for the selected
decision process. They can be classified into criteria to be overlapping.
standard stakeholders and interest groups. • Clear identification of the stakeholders has
Standard stakeholders include the decision- to take place, as any argument to include or
makers, experts, planners and analysts exclude different stakeholders provides
responsible for the preparations and information to the planner about the
managing the process, while the interest problem.
groups are political parties, civic • Sometimes, MCA is time consuming as
organisations or residents in the impact area learning during the process may make it
(Lahdelma et al., 2000). necessary to repeat some of the phases.
32 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

• Different stakeholders have different values were converted so that they

points of view and emphasise criteria conformed to the rule ‘the higher, the
differently, therefore an allocation of a better’.
weight to each criterion is required in order
to define the priorities of the decision- The evaluation matrix was two-dimensional
makers. with the evaluative criteria forming the rows
and the alternatives the columns. In a
3.5.5. Application of multi-criteria analysis computer programme, the evaluation matrix
(MCA) with N criteria and P alternatives was first University of East Anglia, evaluation of divided into two sub-matrices, one with the C
waste-management options cardinal criteria and the other with the O
ordinal criteria. The elements in each matrix
Institute of development were defined by a term eij where i varies from
The multi-criteria analysis method was 1 to C or O, depending on whether the data
applied for the evaluation of waste- were cardinal or ordinal, and j varies from 1
management options, at the Centre of Social to P. A vector was then assigned to each
and Economic Research on the Global matrix containing the relative weights of the
Environment (CSERGE), University of East cardinal wcI or ordinal woI criteria, where:
Anglia, in 1993 (Powel, 1996).
Description ∑ wc i + ∑ wo i = 1
i =1 i =1
The method used in this study evaluated the
site-independent criteria for six waste-
disposal options. The multi-criteria model Each alternative eij was then compared with
was developed to evaluate incineration, every other alternative eik (where k = 1 to P)
refuse-derived fuel (RDF) and landfill, each for each criterion to produce a dominance
with and without recycling. All three waste- score, which represented the degree to which
management options include the recovery of alternative j dominates over alternative k over
energy, which is reclaimed as electricity. all criteria. Separate dominance scores for
Landfill gas is recovered from landfill and the ordinal and cardinal criteria were
RDF is burnt on-site in a dedicated boiler. calculated, using a special equation. For the
The gaseous emissions arising from the waste cardinal data, all of the eij elements were first
disposal options have been calculated using standardised and then were used for the
an integrated solid waste-management calculation of the cardinal dominance. The
lifecycle inventory model. Emissions from same happened for the calculation of the
both energy and materials recovery are ordinal dominance. After these, the
included in the analysis. The electricity calculation of the overall dominance scores
generated from waste combustion replaces (ordinal + cardinals) was possible. Hence,
that generated by fossil fuels, thus saving the the overall dominance scores were summed
associated gaseous emissions. The impacts to give an appraisal score, which represented
arising from the disposal of ash from the worth of alternative j relative to all other
incineration and RDF combustion were also alternatives. These appraisal scores allowed
included, as were the energy and emissions the final ranking of the various waste-disposal
associated with the transport of waste and options.
recovered materials.
The priorities of the decision-makers were
The six waste-disposal options were judged defined by the allocation of a weight to each
against 15 criteria. These were divided into criterion. However, the literature on decision
10 cardinal and five ordinal criteria. Two of theory reveals that such weights are difficult
the ordinal criteria could be expressed in to realise, hence, it is impossible to have a
monetary values so they were related to truly representative set of weights. In this
internal and external costs. The remaining study, this allocation of weights allowed for a
13 criteria were divided into two groups, one more comprehensive sensitivity analysis
encompassing resource use and the other between the three different viewpoints
covering the environmental impact. Some of (financial, resource use and environmental
the criteria were used where possible, since impact). First, the criteria within each group
the data were in several instances either were allocated weights relative to one
unavailable or not sufficiently accurate. In another such that the weights within each
the latter case, an ordinal ranking method group summed to unity.
was employed. For ease of comparison, the
Overview of available assessment tools 33

The sensitivity of the multi-criteria evaluation comparison takes place. This means that the
to cost, resource-use and environmental best scenario comes out of a binary
impact criteria was explored by varying the comparison with all the other scenarios for
weights of each criteria group, with the each criterion. The results are given by a
remaining criteria groups being given equal software application named Expert Choice.
weight so that the total weight is 1. For
example, if the weight on cost criteria was The various scenarios developed are based
increased to 0.8, the other two criteria groups on the six different collection schemes that
were each allocated a weight of 0.1. In are described below:
addition, the multi-criteria evaluation was
carried out with 100 % weight being given to • Drop-off events: One-day events take place,
the internal costs. where end-users drop off their obsolete
appliances to especially organised facilities.
In the multi-criteria evaluation, three results • Regional approach: Multiple communities
were particularly robust. RDF with recycling host coordinated events on a rotating basis
was the dominant option. Second, recycling (similar with the above mentioned).
was advantageous to the waste-disposal • Permanent collection depot: It is a year-
option, apart from when an increased weight round model. Last owners transport their
was placed on the cost criteria. The third end-of-life equipment to collection depots.
conclusion was that increased weight on the • Curbside collection: WEEEs are collected
resource-use and environmental impact either on a periodical basis or by request by
criteria, rather than on costs, increases the the responsible for the municipal solid
attractiveness of RDF and incineration. waste.
• Take-back system: The retailer is obliged to
Comments take-back (free of charge or not) old
The application of MCA in this study does equipment when a new one is purchased.
not ‘discover’ a solution to the problem of • Combined collection methods: This model
waste management. It structures the problem is the coordination of various collection
of waste management rather than finding the methods.
solution. It constructs a formal system, which
can aid the decision-maker to understand, Considering the above parameters, six
specify and model his preferences to increase potential collection/recycling scenarios were
the coherence of the process itself. In that designed. These are:
way, the end results from the evaluation of
the waste-management options can be • Take-back system: A stakeholder is
considered less important than the learning appointed to manage WEEE. The ‘an old
process, which takes place in order to obtain for a new’ principle is brought in action.
these results. The customers give back an obsolete
appliance, while they purchase a new one European Association of Environmental of the same type. They pay a deposit when
Management and Education, MCA for buying a product, which is refunded when
WEEE they dispose the product to an authorised
Institute of development • Municipal scenario: The public sector is
The study described in the following is a responsible for the proper management of
master class thesis carried out in 1999 in the WEEE. Collected equipment is taken to
framework of the EAEME (European existing facilities, where sorting and
Association of Environmental Management shredding take place. Citizens pay for the
and Education). It deals with the proper disposal of WEEE through an
management of waste from electrical and increase in taxation.
electronic equipment (WEEE) and examines • Semi-public scenario: Local authorities
the selection of the most appropriate collect and a private de-manufacturer
scenario for the collection/recycling of recycles the collected equipments. New
WEEE in Greece. This study took place at the products purchased will include a user fee
National Technical University of Athens in for their proper management after the end
1999 (Dais, 1999). of their usage life.
• Seasonal scenario: A system of drop-off
Description events is set and NGOs participate too.
In this study, the analytical hierarchy process Collected equipment is transported to
(AHP) was applied, during which a pair-wise
34 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

existing facilities and shredding takes The technical criterion is the most important
place. with respect to the achievement of the overall
• Multi-scenario: Incorporation of scenarios goal. The economic one is the second more
1,2 plus establishment of depots. The main important, while environmental and social
characteristic of this scenario is the criteria follow. Apart from criteria, different
collection through parallel routes so as to indicators of the same category appear to
maximise collection rates. have different importance.
• ‘Do nothing’ scenario: Absolutely nothing
is done. (Such an alternative should have After scoring the scenarios, according to the
been rejected earlier in the MCA results from the implementation of the AHP
methodology, by the exclusionary criteria. methodology, the ranking of the scenarios is
Nevertheless, it is going to be evaluated in derived. Hence, the overall best scenario is
the following analysis only for extracting the one of ‘drop-off events’, described
some more conclusions). earlier.

As far as the criteria are concerned, one Comments

exclusionary criterion was considered non- The main characteristic of the method is that
satisfactory. The other non-exclusionary it allows the expression of their preference to
criteria were set after singling out the one criterion over another through a pair-
requirements of the WEEE management in wise comparison using a ratio scale. The scale
Greece. That means that the solution should consists of numbers from 1 to 9 and it is
be as economically independent as possible, called ‘1 to 9 AHP ratio scale’. Each decision-
achieve as high a collection and recovery rate maker is free to express his opinion on how
as possible, avoid secondary environmental much more preferable one scenario is over
effects and be applicable to the special another concerning a certain criterion or
characteristics of population and topography. indicator. Moreover, the method allows
Hence, economical, technical, checking the consistency of the judgments
environmental and socio-political criteria (preferences of one factor over another).
were selected for the purpose of this project.
Each category of criterion is expressed The AHP model is simple, it provides weight-
through indicators like for example, capital assignment features and it also offers the
and operational costs for the economic ability for applying sensitivity analysis. On the
criterion, recovery rate or monitoring system other hand, the main drawback of the
for the technical criterion, landfilled residues method is that it requires more intensive
for the environmental criterion and the work than other methods in the pair-wise
public participation or the job opportunities comparison procedure, especially when
for the social criterion. many criteria, indicators and alternatives are
In the AHP methodology, each stakeholder
weights the criteria and indicators and then The implementation of multi-criteria analysis
the analyst initiates the procedure of methodology and more specifically the
dialogue, influence and compromise among analytical hierarchy process does not end up
the stakeholders, until he ends up with in an explicit result, a solution or an answer
commonly accepted weights. The weights are for the management of WEEEs. However, it
calculated by the software program, which helps the decision-makers to study the crucial
requires a binary comparison among the parameters of the problem and identify the
criteria as well as selected indicators for each essence of it, getting in general a clearer
category of criteria. The comparison is picture of the problem as well as the possible
conducted by the following general ways to solve it.
statements: University of Sherbrooke, Canada, MCA
— How much more (or less) important is in sewage sludge management
criterion A than criterion B with regards to
the achievement of the overall goal? Institute of development
— How much more (or less) important is The Group Stoper of the University of
indicator A1 than indicator A2 with Sherbrooke in Canada studied in 1996 the
regards to the optimisation of criterion A? implementation of multi-criteria sewage
sludge management model in a rural
municipality (Bellehumeur et al., 1996).
Overview of available assessment tools 35

Description composting/landfilling/land application

The purposes of this study were: (1) to were also considered.
present and analyse the results of a public
consultation concerning the problem of The selection of the most suitable solution
sewage sludge management in a rural considers these broad families of criteria: (1)
municipality, and (2) to model the decision economics, (2) risk perception of the
process in order to verify the stability of the population, (3) technological features, (4)
decisions made by the committee. This environmental impacts and (5) human
committee was an advisory committee health impacts. These main criteria are then
representative of the population, which subdivided into several factors, which define
studied the possible solutions and made the whole criteria matrix.
recommendations to municipal decision-
makers. A panel of experts provided the The main concerns regarding economic
committee with information concerning the aspects of sludge disposal were: treatment
various aspects of sewage sludge costs per ton of dry matter and the
management. production of any useful by-products and/or
potential for energy recovery. The economic
Several processes can be used for sewage analysis considered the following costs
sludge disposal, but four solutions were components: costs of land, equipment,
selected based on their wide acceptance and transport, capital, on-site and off-site
their applicability for a small municipality. development, as well as anticipated operating
The four solutions were: (1) composting, (2) costs of closing the landfills. For the risk
landfilling, (3) land application and (4) perception of the population criterion, 671
incineration (by another regional industry). randomly selected individuals were selected
to answer the questionnaires concerning
Each committee member was asked to immediate risk perception, social equity, risk
evaluate each solution on the basis of for future generations and public acceptance
information provided during previous of each solution, evaluating the answers on a
meetings. They had to express their scale from 1 to 5. Technological feature
evaluation numerically by ranking each criteria were divided into the following
criterion of each solution. The ranks were criteria: required level of know-how,
the result of committee-members’ judgment equipment complexity and operation
and had only an ordinal relevance (1 for the complexity. Environmental impacts
worst case and 5 for the best). Moreover, the considered the following criteria: risk of
committee members were asked to rank, on a heavy metal and pathogen contamination,
scale from 1 to 5, the relative importance of risk of gas emission and impacts on plant
each criterion, giving an estimation of the productivity and diversity. The questions
weight of each criterion in the decision regarding human health impacts considered
process. Then, at the end of the consultation heavy metal absorption, pathogen ingestion
process, each committee member estimated and gaseous inhalation.
the elements of five-by-four matrix of ranks
(five criteria by four solutions) defining an The advisory committee ranked the relative
impact matrix, in which the criteria were importance of each family of criteria in
arrayed as rows and the solutions as columns. comparison with the others. This
They also estimated the vector of ranks (a information was used to define the weights
five-by-one vector) giving the importance assigned to each criterion. These weights
(weight) of each criterion in their decision. were used in the multi-criteria decision
The impact matrix and the vector of weights techniques.
were used to verify if the decision resulting
from the discussions of the committee The normalised matrix Y was subjected to
corresponded to this qualification carried three different multi-criteria decision
out individually. In this study, these weights techniques: (1) a weighted sum of scores, (2)
express the preferences of the committee a fuzzy set model, and (3) the Electre model.
members and were used as parameters in the These methods are commonly used for
decision algorithms. studies involving multiple criteria.

Apart from the four selected solutions, • The weighted sum is a simple and
various combinations of solutions such as straightforward method. It is simply the
composting/land application, composting/ weighted sum of each criterion for each
landfilling, land application/landfilling and solution. The normalised scores of matrix Y
36 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

are multiplied by the weights and summed values for the combination of solutions is
across the rows (criteria) leading to a made using a conservative approach,
cardinal index of the overall performances assigning the worst estimation of the
of each solution. The scores of each combined solutions.
solution are calculated by specific
equations. This method does not take into The methods used showed that the solutions
account the important drawbacks, which of composting and land application emerge
can occur, for a given criterion. as the preferable solutions based on the
• The fuzzy set method can take into account impact matrix estimation of the Stoper
the aspects of uncertainty and vagueness research team. Due to a considerable
inherent in the definition of an impact overlapping of profitability interval, both
matrix. There are specific relationships solutions cannot be distinguished, and
between a pair of solutions Sj and Sk and a differences in mean values are not
criterion CI, from where the ranking of significant. Solutions of composting-land
solutions derives. application and land application-landfilling,
• The Electre model provides very useful which consider combinations of these two
information in considering advantages and solutions, seem to dominate the remaining
disadvantages associated with each solutions, but small overlapping in the
solution. Hypotheses on the dominance of probability intervals does not allow strong
a solution j over a solution k are successively conclusions to be drawn.
tested and concordance and discordance
indexes are calculated. The concordance Comments
index represents the percentage of criteria The decision model included criteria
(in weight), which agrees with the employed in the analysis of a waste-
hypothesis, and on the other hand, the management problem relying on
discordance index represents the degree of interdisciplinary principles, such as
disagreement with the hypothesis. To economics, technological aspects,
interpret the information contained in environmental risks, human health risks and
both concordance and discordance social perception. The methods used
matrices, threshold values (p and q) are (weighted sum, fuzzy set, Electre) considered
defined to specify the amount of desired features concerning fundamental aspects of
concordance and tolerated discordance. environmental impact matrices such as data
The technique consists of the type, weight information, uncertainties, etc.
establishment of concordance and
discordance levels stating that a dominance Another advantage of the application of the
hypothesis is justified. The values for p and MCA is that it allows further data to gradually
q are decided on a trial and error basis. be integrated in the models and shows
While these values are important to whether or not in the long term the
measure the strength of preference, the management strategies are adequate for the
ranking of solutions does not depend on municipality. However, there is always
their choices. uncertainty, and therefore it is also necessary
to consider the precautionary principle in
Finally, considering the uncertainties relative relation to environmental management.
to the estimation of criteria and weights and
to verify the stability of potential solutions, 3.6. Waste factors
Monte Carlo simulations were used. More
specifically, instead of using the single values 3.6.1. Description
to represent a criterion and a weight, the Coefficients in general and waste factors in
criterion and weight values are drawn at particular are essential tools for providing
random from a Gaussian distribution centred information on the state of environment, the
on the original experimental values. emissions linked to human activities and the
Subsequently, the formula of the multi- influence of environmental quality on
criteria decision techniques are applied by human and ecological health. They are
using the values drawn at random, allowing increasingly important for monitoring
the calculation of a probability distribution of changes, showing trends and developing
possible scores. projections in the volume and intensity of
waste generation.
The impact estimates of the matrix are
mainly qualitative, except for the economic Environmental factors are in general related
costs. The estimation of qualitative impact to an activity or source, for example,
Overview of available assessment tools 37

describing emissions linked to an industrial • Technology level

process. They are obtained by relating the Waste factors at this level can be applied so
quantity emitted to a specific product or as to plan and assess activities to develop
source or activity. These factors are based on clean technologies and to support their
measured and/or calculated and/or implementation (EEA, 1999a).
estimated values.
3.6.3. Benefits
Examples of waste factors are: Some of the main advantages of waste factors
are presented below:
• quantity of waste generated per inhabitant
and year; • They are simple, easy to interpret and to
• quantity of paint sludge per car produced. communicate.
• They show trends over time and give basis
On the process and enterprise level (micro- for projections.
level), the development and application of • They reduce the number of measurement
waste factors should be seen in context with and parameters normally required to give
environmental management instruments, an ‘exact’ picture or description of the
such as lifecycle assessment, environmental waste generation.
auditing and management (EMAS, ISO). In • They point out or characterise problematic
fact, waste factors are a useful and demanded areas as well as possibilities and potentials
tool to be integrated into these instruments, of improvement.
as quantitative goals, targets, benchmarks, • They provide both topical and
etc. They help to define the environmental representative picture of the waste situation
profile of products and processes, to assess of a source (production process, industrial
environmental effects, and to communicate sector, region, nation).
environmental statements when instruments • They are responsive to changes of the waste
like EMAS or LCA are applied. generation.
• They provide a basis for comparisons, for
3.6.2. Field of application example, between industrial sectors,
Waste factors can be applied on different technology alternatives, etc.
levels, which are the following: • They are based on common scientific
standards or (international) consensus.
• National or regional level • They are based on data and information of
At this level, waste factors operate as an known quality, adequately documented
informative tool, which integrates and updated in regular intervals.
environmental data with economic aspects, • They are linked to other sectors, for
compares efficiency of Member States or example, economy and society.
regions in minimising waste generation and
supports the authorities in drawing up their 3.6.4. Drawbacks/limitaitons
national or regional waste-management The main disadvantages of waste factors are:
• Despite the manifold activities on waste
• Industrial sector level factors, it has to be realised that for the
In order to improve material or energy moment there is no nationally and/or
efficiency, these factors express the amount internationally accepted system or set of
of waste in relation to fuel/energy waste factors for environmentally
consumption, to raw material consumption sustainable development available.
and to end products. • The development of waste factors has so far
been limited partly because of lack of data
• Enterprise level or production site level but also because ‘traditional’ waste
In order to face even more the challenge of management has been focused on pressure
implementing an environmental state and impact — referring to the DPSIR-
management and auditing system, waste assessment framework (state/impact/
factors can be applied as tools for the response).
source-oriented ‘plan-do-check-act’ • There is still a lack of verified factors which
approach in waste management and limits the fields of their practical
considered as indispensable parts of an eco- application for the time being.
controlling system. • Waste factors are not a ‘stand-alone’
solution, since they should be linked to
other environmental factors and indicators
38 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

or to economic data according to their Comments

purpose (EEA, 1999). EPIS is based on eight-digit Prodcom process-
level; it is not feasible to calculate coefficients
3.6.5. Application of waste factors (incl. waste) for all Prodcom processes; Eurostat EPIS, conventional material flow hence, aggregation — for example, to NACE-
balances two-digit branches — is not feasible.

Institute of development EIPPCB, BREFS

Statistical Office of the European
Communities — Eurostat. Institute of development
European Integrated Pollution, Prevention
Description and Control (IPPC) Bureau, European
EPIS is based on the methodology of Commission — Joint Research Centre Sevilla.
conventional material flow balances: the
input of material and energy into a system or Description
process is considered equivalent to the Based on Council Directive 96/61/EC, the
accumulation and the output of products IPPC Bureau elaborates documents, which
and other emissions (waste, wastewater, air describe selected techniques and give
emissions, etc.) as result of the process within information on (
a defined period (EPIS, 1994; EEA, 1999).
• consumption and emission levels
With this conceptual framework, EPIS fits achievable by using each technique;
easily into both the present used system of • the costs and cross media issues associated
sectional economical statistics and the with each technique;
national account. • the extent to which each technique is
applicable to the range of installations
The model links between environmental data requiring IPPC permits.
and economic statistics, to consumption and
environmental impacts, and to pressures The significance of the IPPC directive cannot
coming from it. EPIS will contribute to the be underestimated. Material flows and waste
development of pressure indicators by generation with management have been
providing data on material flow and integrated in this legal document. So far,
emissions of selected harmful substances into quite indefinite ‘cleaner technology’ has now
air and water. This opens the perspective to very concrete definition and real content as
calculate the accumulative environmental BAT — best available techniques. In Sevilla’s
pressure of different final products. Results department of the IPPC Bureau of the JRC,
are important for the consumption sector qualified European technical experts are
and the development of environmentally working on BREFs (BAT reference
friendly products. documents). These documents must give for
main sectors of industrial activities (IPPC list,
For waste generated in a production process, incl. waste management) answers to many
both the technology and the material input questions connected with efficient use of
are considered. The secondary wastes from natural resources, pollution (waste)
on-site wastewater or exhaust gas cleaning are prevention and sustainable management of
considered separately. waste — defined limit values, technical
potentials, etc. Waste indicators concerning
Field of application special priority waste categories or industrial
EPIS started in 1994 with a pilot phase sectors have to be linked with BAT. For
involving France, Germany, Italy and the example, the ‘Waste-management’ technical
Netherlands. A second phase included pilot working group will elaborate in the nearest
projects in Austria, Finland, Norway, Spain future BREFs for waste incineration,
and Sweden, in which consistent data landfilling and other waste-management (R
structures were developed, linking economic & D) operations (IEF Task Force meeting on
statistics and process specific data. In waste was organised in Brussels, on 4 July
addition, input/output data for specific 2001).
processes were developed (eight-digit
Prodcom level). EPIS has been part of The European IPPC Bureau exists to catalyse
Eurostat’s project on environmental an exchange of technical information on best
indicators and green accounting (EPIS, 1994; available techniques under IPPC Directive
EEA, 1999a). 96/61/EC and to create reference
Overview of available assessment tools 39

documents (BREFs) which must be taken coefficients were established that represent,
into account when the competent authorities for example, the relationship between waste
of Member States determine conditions for generation and the related production
IPPC permits. IPPC will apply to a wide range process. Those coefficients were fed into a
of industrial activities and the objective of the stepwise estimation procedure to derive waste
information exchange exercise is to assist the generation by NACE sectors (Marscheider-
efficient implementation of the directive Weidemann et al., 1997).
across the European Union. The BREFs will
inform the relevant decision-makers about Field of application
what may be technically and economically The Federal Statistical Office used the
available to industry in order to improve aforementioned methodology to compile
their environmental performance and annual waste NAMEAs until 1995.
consequently improve the whole
environment. Comments
Due to changes in primary waste statistics, the
Each sector of industry to be covered by the methodology will have to be updated for the
IPPC directive will be addressed by a specific years up from 1996.
technical working group (TWG) comprising
nominated experts from Member States, Eurostat, NAMEA
EFTA countries, accession countries, industry
and environmental NGOs. Each TWG is set Institute of development
up for a limited duration in order to provide Eurostat and several national statistical
information and to review the draft reference offices.
Field of application NAMEA (national accounts matrix including
The IPPC Bureau has already published first environmental accounts) is a statistical tool
results in (draft) documents on best available developed in the Netherlands. In general,
techniques, giving detailed information NAMEA tables show environmental variables
about the material flow in installations in (e.g. air emissions, wastewater, wastes, etc.) by
these industrial sectors. producing economic sectors (including
private households) following national
Comments accounting rules (system of national
So far, BREFs have been finalised for accounts, SNA, or respectively European
approximately 20 technical processes; those system of accounts, ESA) (Eurostat, 2000).
BREFs do not contain technical coefficients
(including waste factors) and it is not NAMEAs constitute a statistical framework
foreseeable that they will. showing how industry sectors and households
contribute to several environmental concerns Federal Statistical Office, Germany, like emissions of air pollutants, wastewater
annual waste generation by economic and wastes. It is further possible to include
sectors environmental protection expenditure, eco-
taxes, use of natural resources, and land use,
Institute of development etc. Thanks to their compatibility with
Research project: Federal Statistical Office, national accounts, NAMEAs are also closely
Germany — Integrated Environmental and linked to monetary and physical input/
Economic Accounting, Fraunhofer Institut output tables (Eurostat, 1999, 2000).
f¸r Systemforschung und Innovationstechnik
(funded by Eurostat) (Marscheider- Waste NAMEA tables show the sectoral
Weidemann et al.,1997). breakdown of several waste variables. Hence,
there is conceptually a close relationship to
Description the waste statistics regulation format. Data on
The objective of this research project was to waste generation, and on waste recovery and
develop an estimation methodology to disposal collected according to the proposed
compile annual waste generation by 58 (60) regulation on waste statistics should be fully
economic sectors (waste NAMEA). The compatible with the NAMEA framework.
estimation methodology is based on waste Ideally, the waste NAMEAs should be able to
factors derived from primary statistics only trace the ‘journey’ of waste through the
available every three years. Detailed waste economy, from generation to disposal. First,
categories were considered and physical waste NAMEAs show the total of certain waste
40 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

streams broken down by generating has not yet been agreed upon on the
economic sector (including private European level. All pilot studies include
households) (Eurostat, 1999). allocation of waste generated to industries
and households but the approaches in the
Secondly, waste NAMEAs allow comparative pilot studies differ — especially when it
analysis of waste generation by sectors, in comes to the division on types of waste. The
particular the relationship between data arising from the future regulation on
socioeconomic variables, such as waste statistics will be useful for compiling
employment, gross value added, gross waste NAMEAs. Eurostat will consider
output, etc., and the generation of certain establishing a task force for developing a
waste streams (see, for example, methods framework and guidelines for waste
developed on the basis of decomposition NAMEAs. In eight Member States, NAMEAs
analyses by de Haan, 2000). on natural resources exist in terms of pilot
This enables, thirdly, the possibility to
calculate sectoral waste coefficients, for Comments
example, how much waste is generated to In some countries, experiences have been
produce one unit of gross output or gross made with deriving waste coefficients from
value added or how much waste is generated NAMEAs. In Germany, within a research
per employee. project commissioned by the Federal
Statistical Office (see above), an estimation
Field of application procedure has been developed that allows
Eurostat has been supporting the the allocation of total waste generation to
compilation of NAMEAs through a series of production sectors based on physical
NAMEA workshops since 1995. The focus has coefficients. Those waste NAMEA tables are
been laid on air emission NAMEAs. On the regularly published by the Federal Statistical
third NAMEA workshop in November 1998, Office (2000).
some pilot studies on waste NAMEAs were
discussed (Eurostat, 1999, 2000). 3.7. Geographic information systems

While the regulation on waste statistics is still 3.7.1. Description

pending, it has been premature to lay down Several definitions have been developed and
specific guidelines on how to compile waste adopted concerning the geographic
NAMEAs and Eurostat did not want to push information systems (GIS), depending on the
for the development of waste NAMEAs on type of application that the system is used for.
the European level. Nevertheless, some These include:
Member States have performed pilot studies
on waste NAMEAs aiming to explore to what • Toolbox-based definitions: For example,
extent it was feasible to compile data on GIS is an information technology, which
waste in a NAMEA-like framework. stores, analyses and displays both spatial
and non-spatial data.
In some of the pilot studies, the countries • Database definitions: For example, GIS is
only investigate the possibility for compiling any manual or computer-based set of
waste NAMEAs and in many other countries, procedures used to store and manipulate
the outcome is that present data availability geographically referenced data.
does not allow allocation of waste data to • Organisation-based definitions: For
branches. Another frequent conclusion is example, GIS is a decision support system
that NAMEAs relating to emissions to air and involving the integration of spatially
water are first priorities and waste NAMEAs referenced data in a problem-solving
would be part of future efforts. environment.

In eight countries, activities can be noted The major components of GIS include:
regarding allocation of waste generation in
one way or another to branches according to • A data input subsystem, which collects and/
the NAMEA definitions, namely Germany, or processes spatial data derived from
Ireland, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland, existing maps, remote sensors, etc.
Norway, Belgium and Luxembourg. • A data storage and retrieval subsystem,
which organises the spatial data in a form
A harmonised framework on how to which permits them to be quickly retrieved
integrate waste statistics into the NAMEAs by the user for subsequent analysis, as well
Overview of available assessment tools 41

as permitting rapid and accurate updates alternatives in a project with the best possible
and corrections to be made to the spatial information.
• A data manipulation system and analysis The efficiency, utility, flexibility and speed in
subsystem, which performs a variety of tasks providing users with information and in
such as changing the form of data through reducing the overall size and redundancy of
user-defined aggregation rules or the database are all affected by the database
producing estimates of parameters and structure. This makes the design and layout
constraints for various space–time of the database structure one of the most
optimisation or simulation models. critical areas in the design of the GIS
• A data reporting subsystem, which is implementation. Some of the common
capable of displaying all or part of the abilities of the GIS include:
original database as well as manipulated
data and the output from spatial models in • menu-driven contouring using the
tabular or mapped form. The creation of triangulation method;
these map displays involves what is called • three dimensional surface representations
digital or computer cartography. This is an in contour or triangulated irregular
area which represents a considerable network (TIN) model representation;
conceptual extension of traditional • generation of cross sections through
cartographic approaches as well as topography groundwater or other
substantial change in the tools utilised in generated surfaces;
creating the cartographic displays. • volumetric computations of differences
• A subsystem responsible for the graphical between surfaces, which is useful in
user interface interacting with the user and planning remediation.
the programming language within the GIS
environment (Korre, 2000). Besides the above-mentioned capabilities of
the GIS, there are specialised software tools
3.7.2. Field of application that can extend the range of information that
The use of computers for mapping and the system provides (Korre, 2000):
spatial analysis is constantly developing in
automated data capture, data analysis and • borehole stratigraphy drawings;
presentation in several broadly related fields. • cross sections;
This multiplicity of effort in several initially • fence diagrams;
separate but closely related fields has resulted • isopleth contours;
in the emergence of general purpose GIS. • rendering of intersections and sub-surfaces.

In the field of environmental and waste 3.7.4. Drawbacks/limitations

management, GIS may be used in The main disadvantage of the GIS is the fact
applications involving soil pollution, air that it is not able to predict future situation
pollution modelling, water quality modelling, in terms of environmental degradation, in
site characterisation, allocation of facilities, case a specific scenario is adopted, for
etc. (Korre, 2000). example, a specific site is selected for landfill.
The GIS is mainly a descriptive assessment
3.7.3. Benefits tool, which may be used in collaboration with
The spatial data handling and storage other models to simulate environmental
capabilities of GIS coupled with their ability impacts and project future trends.
to transform the original spatial data held
allows researchers to answer different queries Additionally, GIS software does not have the
and develop environmental impact capability to represent continuous volumes
simulation models, which can account for the such as an ore-body or pollution plume.
interaction between various forms of Moreover, the main difficulties in
environmental impact and geographic constructing an effective GIS are those of
features. Analysis is possible on topological or data entry to the database. Data collection is
spatial geographic data, their non-spatial the most time-consuming and expensive
attributes or on both the spatial and non- stage during the application of GIS, since
spatial data together. The transformation these systems require a very detailed and
capabilities allow interactivity with the user to wide range of data and their manipulation is
achieve the required analysis. Hence, it is very complex. GIS is not user-friendly and its
possible to examine a range of various application is rather difficult for ordinary
citizens. Furthermore, the collected data
42 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

usually do not reflect the actual conditions of groundwater quality, river water quality and
the site, therefore there is always need for site heavy metal contamination in soil and plants.
verification. Finally, besides the data A common graphical user interface to input/
problems, many organisations lack GIS output environmental data and to run the
experts as well as have deficiencies in GIS simulation models within the GIS was also
implementation, management and support. developed. A comprehensive and reliable set
of environmental data is required at
3.7.5. Geographical information systems operating mines in order to make informed BRITE/Euram programme decisions on environmental quality. The
BRE2-CT92-0 168, environmental industrial partners of the project had already
simulation and impact assessment established a comprehensive environmental
monitoring programme prior to the
Institute of development beginning of this project. These programmes
This study was carried out by the Imperial were further strengthened through the
College of Science, Technology and purchase of monitoring equipment to
Medicine (UK), the Instituto Superior support the specific needs of this project and
Tecnico (Portugal), the Outokumpu Zinc through the development of well-structured
Tara Mines Ltd (Ireland) and the Sociedade environmental databases. The system utilised
Mineira de Neves-Corvo S.A. (Portugal). The a geographical information system for its
project was funded by the European spatial database for input, output and spatial
Commission under the BRITE/Euram operations.
programme (BRE2-CT92-0 168) (Durucan et
al., 1995). The following sets of data were collected for
each mine site, digitised and stored in the
Description spatial database of the GIS used:
This case study refers to an environmental
simulation and impact assessment system • topography;
using a geographic information system so as • geographic features;
to facilitate the understanding of the • road and railway routes;
interaction between minerals extraction and • urban and rural settlement areas;
the environment. • land use and land cover;
• mine sites and buildings;
The main objectives of the project were: • infrastructure;
• waste types, disposal sites;
• to combine a geographic information • water, air, soil, noise, vibration and
system with simulation modelling biological monitoring sites.
techniques and advanced geostatistical
methods with the purpose of developing an The upgraded monitoring systems and the
environmental simulation and impact databases developed at each of the two mines
assessment system; that were under investigation were essential
• to extend the model for use as an for the validation of the developed
information tool in order to achieve environmental impact modelling software
improved overall environmental and for demonstrating the overall impact
management. assessment concept based around the GIS
graphical user interface developed.
Environmental impacts have both spatial and
temporal components. As the temporal Field of application
modelling capabilities of GIS are limited, Different fields of application for the system
numerical prediction models for the that was developed are:
simulation of environmental impacts were
developed and integrated within the GIS. • prediction of the temporal nature of
These environmental simulation models environmental impacts using numerical
combined the advantages, and benefits of simulation and analysis of the interaction
advanced geostatistics and numerical between spatial and non-spatial
modelling techniques were integrated into a environmental attributes;
GIS system to enable both spatial and • optimisation of siting procedures;
temporal impact analysis. • interactive analysis of monitored
environmental data;
The environmental impact categories that • preparation of comprehensive
were considered included air pollution, environmental impact statements,
Overview of available assessment tools 43

identification of critical areas, definition of Aquater S.p.A., GIS for solid urban waste-
preventative data and measures; disposal areas
• preparation of emergency action plans
based on predictions, quick reaction to Institute of development
cases of emergency through interactive This case study was developed by G. Della
analysis of environmental variables. Bella, L. Patata and A. M. Rossolini from
Aquater S.p.A., S. Lorenzo in Campo (PS),
Comments Italy (Bella et al., 1995).
The Instituto Superior Tecnico developed
several advanced geostatistical Description
methodologies and techniques to This case study refers to a method for siting
characterise the spatial and space–time solid urban waste-disposal areas, in
dispersion of soil pollutants, river water conformity with Italian legislation, based on
quality parameters and groundwater geographical information systems (GIS). The
properties. Researchers at Imperial College selected study area was the province of
developed numerical models for the Foggia.
prediction of air quality, groundwater flow
and pollutant transport, blasting vibration The objective of the developed methodology
around mine sites and related structures. was to assist the technical or political users
who, during preliminary siting, must apply
The use of simulation models in the minerals general criteria for siting of suitable waste-
results in: disposal areas.

• understanding the pollution mechanisms The methodology developed includes two

around the industrial site; stages:
• predicting the environmental impacts
associated with the production activities • First stage (general screening): Large-scale
both as an EIA tool and as environmental data processing for the determination of
management and control tool during the area’s suitability. At this stage, no
production; limiting conditions for toxic and hazardous
• providing and/or improving data for the waste-disposal areas are taken into
simulation models used. consideration.
• Second stage (detailed screening):
Recent developments in computer graphics Detailed screening in chosen areas,
and database management systems created including processing of detailed data.
the platform for the development of
integrated environmental management Two types of criteria are used during both
systems. The spatial data handling and stages for definition and assessment of
storage capabilities of GISs coupled with suitable areas:
their ability to transform the original spatial
data in order to answer different queries, • Exclusion criteria: Based on current
have enabled the researchers to develop an legislation, they point out areas that are
environmental impact management system, unsuitable for waste disposal. Their
which integrates the developed simulation application leads to ruling out in advance a
models in the project with a GIS, under a large portion of the territory from the
graphical user interface (GUI). examined area.
• Desirable and undesirable criteria: They
This particular project is a well-structured, define characteristics, although not
systematic approach to environmental essential, of desirable areas, in other words,
management and contributes at a great characteristics that are undesirable but not
degree to the effective environmental unacceptable. Their application requires
management in the minerals industry. It is a the use of a scale of values and relative
useful tool for minimisation of waste weights and results in the construction of a
production and places emphasis on the use suitability map. These criteria can directly
of best available sources of information and interpret legislation or can be the product
the suitable presentation of this information. of thematic mapping based on
It tries to implement the best practicable interpretation of legislation.
technology in monitoring and modelling the
behaviour of the environment.
44 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

The methodology involves two different The final product, the suitability map,
approaches, both related to the analysis indicates the highest or lowest capacity of an
capabilities of GIS: area to house a waste-disposal plan. As the
weights vary, the suitable areas tend to
• Index overlay method, in which data are combine together in certain zones. Evidently,
processed by attributing weights to the the criteria established by the scores are
thematic maps and to the categories extremely selective.
contained therein (scores). The product of
this approach is a suitability map that Within the first stage, GIS also enables the
determines the most suitable areas. following operations:
• Multi-criteria decisional analysis, in which
separate objectives/criteria are • Direct overlay of information on mines,
determined, but weights are not attributed quarries and disused mining sites on the
to the parameters. suitability map and their reclassification.
• Extraction of local details from the
The results obtained by applying the index suitability map, for instance within a
overlay method only for the first stage are municipal area or a group of administrative
presented. It should be noted that units.
application of the second stage to selected
areas demands more detailed data. In the second stage, a detailed processing was
carried out in a few selected areas.
Defined information plans or their subsets
were combined and weights were attributed. Field of application
The weights attributed to each map are This case study is a useful tool for siting waste-
expressed so that the sum is equal to 100 %. treatment and disposal sites.
In assigning weights to the scores, a scale
ranging from 5 to 0, where 5 indicates Comments
highest suitability and 0 the lowest, is used. This application of GIS is considered to be
useful, as it contributes to the effective
The values obtained were then reclassified on provision of suitability maps (first phase) and
the basis of the highest or lowest value and at the detailed site selection for waste disposal
intervals of previously defined value. This (second phase). However, it is not supposed
operation produced a suitability map with six to substitute the in situ investigations that are
classes. normally conducted in the area surrounding
the selected site or the detailed surveys
In order to have easier interpretation, the carried out within the waste-disposal area.
results were processed once again, taking
into consideration various combinations of 3.8. Remote sensing
factors. Therefore, the ‘good’ class appeared
substantially larger and was reclassified so 3.8.1. Description
that it could be divided into nine quality Remote sensing is the science and art of
classes arranged in increasing order. In this obtaining information on an object, area or
manner, the final result is a map that phenomenon without coming into physical
contains 13 classes: contact with it, through the analysis of data
acquired from a distance.
• 1: very good
• 2–10: good The remote sensing technical approach
• 11: moderate steps, irrespective of the specific view under
• 12: poor which the investigation is conducted, are the
• 13: very poor following:

The last result clearly expresses the suitability • Recognition of elements, groups of
of sites within the classes that appeared as the elements, similarities and differences/
best during general processing. Moreover, changes, as well as of groups of similarities
the ‘index overlay’ method offers the and differences/changes in the area under
opportunity to attribute different weights to examination, using the photo
every thematic map that is considered, once interpretation and remote sensing
the criteria to be adopted within each methodology’s supporting material (maps,
information plan have been decided by statistical and other ancillary information).
means of scores.
Overview of available assessment tools 45

• Analysis of these similarities and 3.8.4. Drawbacks/limitations

differences/changes, establishment of • It requires experienced personnel to
their relationship and interactions and evaluate properly the information deriving
evaluation of their importance. from the use of remote sensing.
• Correlation with the environment, using • The cost of the acquisition of aerial
photo interpretation keys and results of photographs and satellite images is quite
field control and technical samplings by high.
logical or automated procedure. • Remote sensing is not able to predict a
• Classification of similarities and future situation in terms of environmental
differences, following the appropriate degradation, in case a specific scenario is
specifications imposed in each case, by adopted, for example, a specific pollutants
visual or automated procedures and their plume. Remote sensing is mainly a
necessary combinations to integrate and descriptive assessment tool, which may be
synthesise partial approaches. used in collaboration with other models to
• Evaluation and characterisation of the simulate environmental impacts and
findings related to the specific sets of data, project future trends.
which have been promptly recognised or
constitute possible alternative solutions. 3.8.5. Application of remote sensing (RS)
• Feedback: findings resulting from the Lockheed Martin Energy System, RS in
previous stages are used to improve the environmental management
final results by repeating the stages of the
technical approach. Institute of development
• Evaluation of all the available spatial and Lockheed Martin Energy Systems, Energy
qualitative information (literature) for the Research and Utility Services, managing the
greater area under investigation, in order environmental management activities at the
to support this specific study (e.g. East Tennessee Technology Park, Oak Ridge
cartographic, statistical, bibliographical, Y-12 Plant, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
climatic, etc., data, thematic maps, aerial (US Department of Energy, 1997).
photographs, remotely sensed images, etc).
3.8.2. Field of application The environmental management remote-
Remote sensing is used in scientific and sensing program was established in 1992 to
technical fields, such as exploration, apply the benefits of remote-sensing
inventory, mapping and management of technologies to environmental restoration
natural and human resources of a country/ and waste-management programs at five
region, physical planning, exploration, Departments of the Energy Oak Ridge
detection and mapping of land use (Rokos, Operation facilities (i.e., the three Oak Ridge
1979; Lo, 1986). Reservation facilities, the Paducah Gaseous
Diffusion Plant, the Portsmouth Gaseous
3.8.3. Benefits Diffusion Plant and adjacent off-site areas).
The advantages of remote sensing are the The remote-sensing program:
following (Lo 1986; Hatzopoulos, 1996):
• manages routine and special surveys at Oak
• minimisation of field work; Ridge Operation facilities;
• information collection without direct • applies of state-of-the-art remote-sensing
contact with the object; technologies;
• control of desired accuracy; • conducts data transformation, integration
• homogeneity in the determination or and analyses required to make the
interpretation of a large number of spots of information valuable to environmental
the object; management.
• automatisation to a large degree;
• low cost with respect to performing The remote-sensing program provided
software analysis; beneficial recourse to various facilities
• creation of a permanent record of the through diverse survey activities. Information
environment at the moment of taking the derived from the remote-sensing program is
picture. important in order to:

• obtain screening level information for

locating potential contamination sources;
• aid in site characterisation efforts;
46 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

• establish baselines for comparison with High-resolution photographic, multispectral,

future conditions; radiological and geophysical data can be
• provide a database of information of the gathered in a timely, cost-effective manner
detailed analysis, comparisons, integration that is impossible by spot ground surveys.
with field measurements and map data; These data sets are used to improve the
• assist in remedial investigation planning resolution of known waste sites and to detect
and remediation effectiveness; waste sites that might be previously unknown.
• aid in long-term monitoring of They are also used to monitor remediation
environmental improvements from efforts and subsurface contaminant transport
restorations activities; for cleanup progresses to completion.
• locate and document land-use and waste
site activity; The integration of remote-sensing data
• provide fuel geographic database sources is a cost-effective method for
improvements. environmental screening, aiding site
characterisation and monitoring large
Methodology facilities. This sensing method provides a fast,
The remote-sensing program applied state- economic way to delineate the locations of
of-the-art remote-sensing and geophysical known disposal areas, confirm the location of
technologies to manage routine and undocumented disposal sites, locate the
remotely sensed examinations of areas under major concentrations of buried wastes and
investigation and adjacent off-site areas. aid environmental sampling planning.
Applying this program can reduce
Remote-sensing surveys provide data restoration costs by improving efficiency in
necessary for documenting changes in land- all phases of the effort and can direct the
use and waste site activity, as well as associated attention and funding to the most serious
impacts of these changes, on vegetation and problems.
water resources. Low-altitude radiological
surveys, multispectral scanning, The ability to acquire, manage and analyse
photographic surveys (natural colour and the vast amounts of remote-sensing
colour infrared) conducted at several information is vital to identifying and
altitudes offer a broad range of landscape characterising environmental restoration
characterisation data. Repeated multispectral problems, modelling and assessing their
scanner imagery and gamma photographic impacts, prioritising and designing effective
surveys allow monitoring of degradation that cleanup solutions, meeting regulatory
might occur in waste-containment vessels and requirements and long-term monitoring to
monitoring of improvements from verify efficiency and compliance.
restoration efforts and cleanup at the later
states in the remediation lifecycle. Aperture project, waste landfills
Additionally, airborne geophysical methods monitoring
extend the surveillance to several metres into
the soil, allowing identification of anomalies Institute of development
recorded as magnetic or resistivity changes. The study was carried out in the framework
Data fusion and analysis of remote-sensing of Aperture project (environmental
data create effective means for identifying typological space mapper facilitating the
unknown waste sites and contaminant implementation of European legislation)
transport pathways. which was funded by the European
Commission in 2000 (Aperture, 2000).
This program is of value throughout the Description
remediation lifecycle by providing efficient In this study, remote-sensing technology was
site characterisation, detection of temporal applied in order to monitor waste landfills
changes associated with contaminant and to detect the illegal landfill activity. The
transport or remediation efforts and main aim of Aperture was to investigate if
geographic database improvements (e.g. and how high-resolution earth observation
facility layout, land cover, topography). This (EO) data can be effectively used in
tested program provides a cost-effective and environmental analysis. The remote-sensed
time-efficient means for monitoring large data are periodically received.
areas of landscape for hazardous waste sites
and waste site impacts, particularly in light of The main objective was to develop a
mandated lifecycle for cleanup operations. methodology based on remote sensing and
Overview of available assessment tools 47

techniques that are broadly accepted in • Shapes: The landfills often have an
order to map and categorise environmental irregular curved shape or a regular shape
sensitive areas of Europe according to various when the landfill is inside a quarry.
environmental issues. This methodology can • Features: Roads can indicate the presence
be directly used by various authorities and of an active landfill.
non-governmental organisations to assess the
environmental impact at local scale and to The final product of the data analysis was a
serve as a baseline for facilitation of map that contains data related to illegal
environmental policy development. landfill activity.

The first step of the whole procedure was to Field of application

set the channel combinations in order to Through the implementation of the remote-
help the discrimination of landfill targets sensing technology, the following can be
from vegetated areas, since the former mostly achieved:
act as bare soil like spectral signature. This is
the reason why SPOT/HRV-XS and channels • detection of waste landfills;
1–4 of Landsat TM were firstly selected for • detection of dangerous waste in landfills;
this study. One of the key elements to • detection of contamination of soil and
differentiate landfill from other bare soil groundwater pollution;
areas is the shape of the target — making the • measurement of distances between
spatial resolution of sensors more crucial. landfills, water bodies and urban areas;
Another key element is the temporal • determination of quarries (active and
availability of satellite images, which closed).
determine the possibility of illegal
investigation in the past. Governmental authorities and other
environmental institutions can use the
The methodology used entails the following remote-sensing technology in order to check
steps according to the Aperture methodology compliance with law for decision-making and
specifications: image acquisition, image pre- policy development.
processing, image processing and production
of an environmental legislation compliance Comments
map (ELCM). In the processing and image analysis, the
Aperture methodology failed to define a
The only pre-processing carried out after common procedure for all case studies
receipt and checking of the raw data were mainly because of the variety of the
geometric corrections. The process of geo- environmental problems examined, the
correction complies with the quality control accuracy required and the satellite images
requirements of the Aperture project and is acquired.
the only mandatory pre-processing step.
Satellite images have immense potential
The processing of images for landfill value in the environmental sector and can
identification consisted of image contrast have significant importance as historical
enhancement techniques. The goal was to evidence in the cases where ground
improve the visual interpretability of an inspections can no longer be available.
image by increasing the apparent distinction
between features in the scene. The spatial resolution of the available
satellite data and the request for automatic
After all these enhancement procedures, processing constitute some of the week
images were displayed on screen and visually points of the remote-sensing technology. The
interpreted by an analyst having the availability of ancillary data can also cause
knowledge of landfill targets. some problems.

Amongst the set of indicators one can In general, through the Aperture project, a
mention: cost-effective methodology was developed
which results in categorising areas according
• Brightness: Bright areas are those not to various environmental issues.
covered with filled ground, natural
vegetation and plantation.
48 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

Figure 3.2 The information/indicator pyramid (SCOPE, 1995; WRI, 1995)



Analysed data

Primary data

3.9. Indicators There are different types of indicators useful

in the context of supporting environmental
3.9.1. Description policy: descriptive indicators, performance
When there is need to move smoothly from indicators and efficiency indicators (EEA,
an abundance of detailed field data to 2001a).
summarised information for international
and national level purposes, indicators and In conclusion, indicators must be: specific,
indices are used (SCOPE, 1995; UNDPCSD, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-
1995; WRI, 1995). bound.

Indicators and indices (aggregate indicators) 3.9.2. Field of application

are important tools that assist decision- Indicators can be used to track progress over
makers in formulating and implementing time, or compare characteristics between one
plans for management at local, national and or more communities, companies, agencies,
international levels. An indicator is an departments, products or processes. By
elementary datum or a simple combination examining these indicators over time or
of data capable of measuring an observed between different regions, communities, etc.,
phenomenon. It is selected according to a identification of improvements or setbacks in
variety of criteria (e.g. accessibility, updating resource use and waste generation can be
frequency, spatial and temporal coverage). tracked. By using indicators, the relative
success of different source-reduction efforts
Indicators are there to enhance the can be examined.
communication about the environment and
to serve as a tool for policy-making. To make Moreover, indicators and indices can be used
this communication process work, simplicity to quantify likely environmental ecosystem
is needed. Indicators simplify a complex and health impacts and risks especially from
reality. They have to fulfil scientific, hazardous waste disposal. Also, they can be
functional and pragmatic requirements, for used to illustrate the shift in industrial
example, the consideration of ecological strategy away from end-of-pipe processes
context, transparency and reproducibility, towards waste recycling, cleaner production
comprehensibility, policy relevance, and integrated lifecycle analysis (Granados et
international comparability and justifiable al., 1999).
expenditure (EEA, 2001a).
3.9.3. Benefits
An indicator distils information derived from The use of indicators and indices is very
analysing data obtained by monitoring and important as they have the following
data collection. Raw data or statistics do not advantages:
make an indicator without the results of
analysis and synthesis. As a bare minimum, • They contain condensed and summarised
an explanation must be given of the information.
(possible) causes of change (or lack of • They can reflect past, present and future
change) shown by the indicator (EEA, actions related to environmental issues.
Overview of available assessment tools 49

• They allow the assessment of changes in are being published in an EEA technical
relation to the goals and targets. report.
• They can show improvements or setbacks
over time since they are a comparative Both the Commission and the EEA have
scientific tool. developed sets of relevant indicators for the
• Indicators allow a selection of statistics and environment as the ‘best available
data to be collected, because they focus on information’ on waste and material flows.
the most relevant pieces of information. The Environment DG has developed the
headline indicators and Eurostat the
3.9.4. Drawbacks/limitations environment pressure indices, while the EEA
The main disadvantages concerning is working with a core set of indicators
indicators and indices are the following: (environmental signals series). The best-
needed information is not always available
• The quality of data, which is used for the today. Therefore, there is a need for ‘a vision’
determination of indicators, is often on what should be the indicators of
questionable because there are no tomorrow for policy-making and information
standardised procedures and sometimes for the public at large.
‘guess’ work is involved.
• The determination of indicators still takes Hence, the ETC/WMF has developed a
place on an isolated, scientific case study comprehensive indicator framework with
basis and therefore they are not suitable to derived core indicators for waste and
provide an overall picture for larger areas. material flows, based on the following
Each indicator is representative of a strategic main policy objectives:
component of a whole environmental issue
(Walz, 2000). • conserving natural resources;
• In determining indicators, it is not always • prevention of waste generation;
easy to elaborate and comprehend simple • sustainable waste management.
and direct links between different sources
of data, due to constraints in available time, Field of application
human and financial resources (Walz, The EEA assessment reports
2000). EEA assessment reports are based on the use
• The number of indicators is still too great of indicators for information assessment (as
to be able to fulfil the information and environmental signals reports). Indicators
communication functions at first sight, are also used as key variables to communicate
therefore work should be done on a greater environmental information to EEA
degree of aggregation. stakeholders as well as in the development of
• Sometimes, the message behind an various models.
indicator is lost, therefore a good graphical
presentation of the information is needed OECD, core sets of environmental
(EEA, 2001a). indicators

3.9.5. Application of indicators Institute of development EEA, ETC/WMF, draft on core set of OECD (Organisation for Economic
indicators on waste and material flows Cooperation and Development), Paris
(OECD, 1998, 1999, 2001).
Institute of development
ETC/WMF, EEA (EEA, 2000; EEA 2001). Description
The OECD has long been a pioneer in the
Description field of environmental indicators with the
The EEA has asked the ETC/WMF to outline development and publication of the first
and define the need for indicators to international sets of environmental
describe the waste and material flows under indicators and their regular use in country
the perception of the DPSIR framework, the environmental performance reviews
waste hierarchy, sustainable development (environmental policies assessment series).
and the six EAPs. This framework and core
set of indicators should in the long-term OECD environmental indicators are used in
perspective (five to 10 years) make it possible reporting, planning, clarifying policy
to make a comprehensive description of the objectives and priorities, budgeting and
state and outlooks for waste and material assessing performance. They assist in the
flow. The results of this ETC/WMF project implementation, development and
50 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

harmonisation of environmental policies and • Amounts of waste generated

also help to incorporate environmental — By sector (7.1A)
concerns in decision-making, to promote — By selected waste streams (7.1B)
sustainable development at national and • Municipal waste
international level and to evaluate national — Generation of municipal waste (7.2A)
environmental performance (assessment). — Composition of municipal waste (7.2B)
— Collection and disposal of municipal
The OECD developed several sets of waste (7.2C)
indicators each responding to a specific • Hazardous waste
purpose: — Production, movement and disposal of
hazardous waste (7.3)
• the OECD core set of environmental • Waste recycling
indicators; — Waste-recycling rates — paper and
• several sets of sectoral indicators; cardboard (7.4A)
• key environmental indicators drawn from — Waste-recycling rates — glass (7.4B)
the core set. • Waste treatment and disposal installations
— Waste-treatment and disposal
Indicator-based assessments for OECD installations (7.5)
member countries are regularly published in • Nuclear waste
so-called environmental performance — Nuclear waste: spent fuel arisings (7.6).
The OECD key environmental indicators
Field of application A smaller set of key environmental indicators
The OECD core set has been published by OECD in 2001 on the
The OECD core set helps track occasion of the OECD Environment
environmental performance and progress Ministers Meeting in April 2001. It is
towards sustainable development. In the intended to give a broad overview of
1998 publication ‘Towards sustainable environmental issues in OECD countries.
development: environmental indicators’, the
term ‘Core indicators’ was used. The The 10 key environmental indicators are
indicators presented in the fields of waste grouped in five indicators representing
and resource use are more or less the same as pollution issues and five indicators
presented in the OECD Environmental Data representing the issue of natural resources
Compendium published in 1999: and assets (see following table).

Table 3.2 OECD environmental Indicators

Pollution issues Available indicators (1) Medium-term indicators (2)

Climate change 1. CO2 emission intensities Index of greenhouse gas emissions
Ozone layer 2. Indices of apparent consumption of Same, plus aggregation into one index of
ozone depleting substances (ODS) apparent consumption of ODS
Air quality 3. SOx and NOx emission intensities Population exposure to air pollution
Waste generation 4. Municipal waste-generation Total waste generation intensities,
intensities indicators derived from material flow
Freshwater quality 5. Wastewater treatment connection Pollution loads to water bodies
Natural resources and assets
Freshwater 6. Intensity of use of water resources Same plus sub-national breakdown
Forest resources 7. Intensity of use of forest resources Same
Fish resources 8. Intensity of use of fish resources Same plus closer link to available
Energy resources 9. Intensity of energy use Energy efficiency index
Biodiversity 10. Threatened species Species and habitat or ecosystem
diversity. Area of key ecosystems

(1) Indicators for which data are available for a majority of OECD countries and that are presented in this report.
(2) Indicators that require further specification and development (availability of basic data sets, underlying
concepts and definitions).
Overview of available assessment tools 51

Environmental pressure indicators for the themes of ’Resource depletion’ and ‘Waste’ Table 3.3

Resource depletion
Water consumption (RD-1)
Energy use (RD-2)
Increase in territory permanently occupied by urbanisation (RD-3)
Inputs of phosphate to agricultural land (RD-4)
Electricity production from fossil fuels (RD-5)
Timber balance (RD-6)
Waste landfilled (WA-1)
Municipal waste landfilled
Hazardous waste landfilled
Waste incinerated (WA-2)
Municipal waste incinerated
Hazardous waste incinerated
Hazardous waste (WA-3)
Hazardous waste generated
Hazardous waste recovered
Hazardous waste incinerated
Hazardous waste landfilled
Municipal waste generated (WA-4)
Municipal waste generated
Generation of industrial waste (WA-5)
Generation of industrial waste
Waste/material recycled (WA-6)
Recycling of paper
Recycling of packaging glass
Non-recycled municipal waste (UP-2)
Municipal waste landfilled
Municipal waste incinerated Eurostat, environmental pressure With regard to waste and material flows, the
indicators following indicators are included in the
Eurostat set of sustainable development
Institute of development indicators.
Eurostat (Eurostat, 2001). UN, indicators of sustainable development
On a regular basis, Eurostat publishes so- Institute of development
called environmental pressure indicators United Nations Department of Economic
comprising 60 indicators related to 10 and Social Affairs — Division for Sustainable
environmental themes, which include Development (UN, 2000).
resource depletion, dispersion of toxic
substances, urban environmental problems, Description
waste and water pollution and water Four years after the Rio Conference, The
resources. The indicators had been selected United Nations Commission on Sustainable
and ranked by a panel of several European Development (UNCSD) developed
environmental experts. numerous activities to promote sustainable
development. These led to the adoption of a
Field of application work programme (1995) on the indicators of
The following table presents the sustainable development. A list of 132
environmental pressure indicators for the indicators was developed and tested. As a
‘Waste’ as well as the ‘Resource depletion’ result of the 1996–99 testing phase of CSD
theme. list of sustainable development indicators,
52 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

Table 3.4 Eurostat’s sustainable development indicators with relevance for waste and material flows

Material consumption (ECON 9)

Material consumption in the EU, 1980 and 1997 (preliminary estimates))
EU-15 total material requirement — 1997
Generation and disposal of municipal waste (ECON 13)
Municipal waste collected
Municipal waste landfilled and incinerated)
Generation of industrial waste (ECON 14)
Generation of industrial waste, by sector
Mining, manufacturing and construction waste arising
Generation and disposal of hazardous waste (ECON 15)
Total generated hazardous waste (according to national definition)
Disposal of hazardous waste (landfill, incineration)
Generation and disposal of radioactive waste (ECON 16)
Recycling of waste — paper, glass (ECON 17)
Recycling rate glass
Recycling rate paper
Waste-treatment and disposal facilities (ECON 18)
Waste-treatment facilities (Number of treatment plants; incinerators, landfill sites)

the framework employed in the CSD work workshop, and a consultative group of
programme to guide the selection of experts.
sustainable development indicators has
evolved from a driving force-state-response Field of application
approach towards one focussing on themes The new theme framework, as presented in
and sub-themes. September 2000, comprises

With the background of the national testing • sustainable development dimensions

experience and the overall orientation to (social, environmental, economic,
decision-making needs, the Expert Group on institutional),
Indicators of Sustainable Development • 15 themes;
recommended that the framework be re- • 39 sub-themes;
focused to emphasise policy issues or main • 58 ‘core’ indicators (1).
themes related to sustainable development.
To meet this recommendation, the Under the economic dimension the
framework has been revised and re- following indicators with relevance to waste
structured in an iterative and inclusive way and material flows have been chosen:
through a consultant study, the Barbados

Table 3.5 Waste and material flows indicators

Theme Sub-theme Indicator

Consumption and Material consumption Intensity of material use (1)
Production patterns
Waste generation Generation of industrial and municipal solid waste
and management
Generation of hazardous waste
Generation of radioactive waste
Waste recycling and reuse

(1) Alternative indicator: total material requirement (TMR).

(1) Although, the UN CSD has called it ’core’ indicators, this set has the character of ’key or headline’ indicators
in the sense of this report, i.e. standing at the top of the UN CSD information pyramid.
Overview of available assessment tools 53

Comments 3.10.3. Benefits

The framework and its set of sustainable The benefits of the CBA as an assessment tool
development indicators meets the CSD are the following:
indicator programme objective of having an
agreed core set available for all countries to • It studies which projects or policies are
use by the year 2001. efficient in terms of their use of resources.
• The results are presented in a clear and
3.10. Cost–benefit analysis (CBA) easily understandable way, as the positive
and negative effects of a scenario are
3.10.1. Description summed up into one monetary figure (the
Cost–benefit analysis (CBA) is a tool for net present value).
decision-makers in order to assess the • The CBA gives a good overview of the result
positive and negative effects of a project or of different scenarios.
policy. All impacts are measured in both
physical and monetary values. As a result, it is 3.10.4. Drawbacks/limitations
usually necessary to estimate the monetary Some of the main disadvantages of CBA are
value of environmental effects, which do not presented below:
have a price from the market mechanism.
The idea behind the CBA is simple; a project • It may not be possible to measure all
should be carried out if the benefits exceed impacts, direct as well as indirect, in
the costs. physical units.
• There is uncertainty involved in estimating
There are different approaches to carry out the monetary value of several
CBAs, but the main stages are: environmental impacts and thus it may not
be possible to value all impacts in monetary
• definition of project (definition of purpose, terms. Some people even question the ethic
setting project boundaries, choosing in valuing environmental impacts in
baseline and alternative scenarios); monetary terms.
• physical quantification of relevant impacts • The distributional effects may not be
(inventory of resource use, emissions, etc.; included in the CBA.
an environmental impact analysis is carried • The assumptions made (e.g. the prices and
out); discount rate) may change during the
• monetary valuation of (environmental) lifetime of the project lifetime changing the
effects; preferred outcome. 3.10.5. Application of
• discounting of cost and benefit flows; cost–benefit analysis (CBA)
• calculation of net present value of baseline
and alternative scenarios; 3.10.5. Recycling of packaging materials
• sensitivity analysis of important parameters
(e.g. the discount rate). Institute of development
RDC Environment and Pira International
There are several methods of estimating the have been consultants for the European
monetary values of the environmental Commission (EC Commission, 2001).
impacts. One is to reveal preferences by
asking how much individuals are willing to Description
pay for an environmental improvement, or to The main purpose of this study was to analyse
study real estate prices in areas with a healthy the cost and benefit patterns of packaging
environment. Another is to estimate the costs recycling and reuse in the context of
of avoiding a certain negative effect. potential targets for the revision of the
packaging and packaging waste directive.
3.10.2. Field of application This description will only focus on the
CBA can basically be carried out to assess and analysis of the recycling targets.
weigh the importance of the positive and
negative effects of any project or The materials included in the study were
contemplated change in policy. However, it is plastics, paper/cardboard, steel, aluminium,
a precondition that the effects can be composites and glass. For each material, one,
measured. Examples are to build a bridge or two or three packaging applications (e.g.
keep the ferry, to increase recycling or LDPE films and PET bottles) were chosen as
incineration of paper, and studying different the case study, so a total of 10 case studies
ways of treating and disposing of waste oils. were carried out.
54 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

For each case study, a number of scenarios The optimal recycling rate for each Member
were chosen as combinations of population State was estimated on the basis of the
density (high or low), selective collection packaging mix in the country (both
scheme (bring scheme or separate industrial and household packaging waste)
collection), achieved recycling rate and and the optimal recycling ranges.
waste-management option (landfill or
incineration). Likewise, the optimal recycling rate for each
packaging material at EU level was estimated.
The internal costs were defined as the The optimal recycling rate for material in a
operational costs incurred by industry. The specific Member State is the weighted
total internal cost of each scenario is the sum average of the optimum targets for the
of all costs minus the sum of all revenues, and different applications in this Member State.
it is given per tonne of the packaging
application. For each scenario, the internal Comments
costs are given as a range of minimum and The study is a final draft report only and the
maximum cost depending on the waste- European Commission has invited a
management system (share being recycled stakeholder consultation on the study.
and either landfilled or incinerated).
At least two comments on the study can be
The external costs are the environmental made. Firstly, only two options for recycling
costs. First, for each scenario, the levels have been analysed (either low or high
environmental inputs and outputs are achievable recycling rates). Thus, it is not
estimated according to a lifecycle assessment possible to determine the optimal level of
(the inventory of a LCA). Secondly, each recycling very precisely. As a result, the
environmental input or output is classified precision in the analysis is at best to indicate
according to the environmental impacts to that no recycling, a low recycling rate or a
which it may contribute, and characterised high recycling rate has the best cost–benefit
according to its potential to contribute to ratio.
that impact. Finally, an economic valuation is
applied to each environmental impact Secondly, a sensitivity analysis has been
category. carried out where the internal costs are
calculated using a +/– 20 % range. It is
The total social cost of a scenario is then the difficult to validate this type of sensitivity
sum of the internal plus the external costs. analysis. Some of the cost parameters that
On the basis of this information, the optimal vary are likely to vary in the same direction
recycling ranges for each packaging for all the scenarios. An alternative option
application were identified among the would be to use a probability distribution
different scenarios. function. As many of the parameters and
variables can be assumed to be independent,
A number of sensitivity analyses are made, there is a low probability that all values are at
though basically two types of parameters are the high end or at low end and accordingly
considered: uncertainties arising from the range of the resulting total costs is less
methodological choices (e.g. energy model) than when the high–low approach is used.
and from scenario choices (e.g. transport
Overview of available assessment tools 55

Overview of the benefits and drawbacks of the assessment tools Table 3.6

Simulation Lifecycle Environ- Environ- Multi crite- Waste fac- Geograph- Remote Indicators Cost–ben-
models analysis mental im- mental risk ria analysis tors ic informa- sensing efit analy-
pact assess- tion sis
assess- ment systems
Main Illustrate Holistic ap- Provides Compares Able to Easy to in- Able to Minimises Con- Deter-
benefits the current proach that environ- the severity compare terpret and handle the expen- densed mines the
and esti- provides mental in- of risks scenarios communi- spatial data sive field and sum- benefit or
mate the informa- formation from what- with con- cate, re- and allow work, ho- marised in- cost to so-
future situ- tion so that of a certain ever sourc- tradictory duce the the users mogeneity formation, ciety, the
ation, eval- environ- project, es, explicit objectives number of to perform in the de- can be results are
uate mental im- and may be manage- and many parame- a number ter-mina- used for as- presented
alternative pact can be used for ment of criteria, ters nor- of queries. tion or sessing the in an un-
scenarios. minimised modelling risks. transpar- mally inter-preta- changes in der-stand-
over prod- scenarios. ent proc- required. tion. relation to able way.
uct life- ess, allows targets.
time. involve-
ment of
Main Data col- Definition Project- Complex Necessary No nationa Mainly a Requires Data often Perhaps
draw- lection may of system specific as- study to to have lly or inter- descriptive experi- not compa- not possi-
backs be difficult bounda- sessment, carry out, compara- nationally tool, not enced per- rable be- ble to
and expen- ries and lacks ex- all informa- ble data, accepted able to sonnel, cause of no measure all
sive, over- functional plicit tion may criteria system of predict fu- cost of ac- harmo- impacts,
simplificati unit are im- project not be may be waste fac- ture quisition of nised col- difficulties
on occurs, portant for definition available, over- tors exist trends, aerial pho- lection in measur-
cannot the out- leading to no detailed lapped, the yet, de- data col- tographs method, ing all envi-
consider all come, may limited guidance allocation pend on lection is are high, not yet de- ron-mental
parame- be difficult bounda- on meth- of weights availability expensive. not able to veloped impacts in
ters. to weigh ries and odologies to each cri- of data, predict fu- fully to pro- monetary
different applica- and how to terion may cannot ture degra- vide an units.
environ- tion. interpret proved to stand dation. overall pic-
mental im- the risks. be difficult. alone but ture for
pacts. should be larger are-
linked to as.
other data.
Field of Determine Product Construc- Accidents Environ- Used for Mapping Mapping Used to Environ-
appli- environ- policy, tion works and routine mental different and spatial and spatial track mental
cation mental im- product and other operations planning purposes, planning planning progress planning
plications develop- interven- involving and deci- e.g. to inte- purposes. purposes. over time and deci-
from adop- ment and tions in the potentially sion-mak- grate envi- or compare sion-mak-
tion of a improve- natural sur- long-term ing ronmental charac-ter- ing
policy or ment. roundings processes. process. data with istics be- process.
specific and land- economic tween one
measures, scape. aspects, or more
future and as part communi-
trends in of environ- ties, com-
environ- mental panies,
mental im- manage- products,
pact. ment in processes
produc- etc.
56 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

4. Conclusions

The main findings of the previous chapters Third conclusion: ‘Twofold approach
are summarised in this section. recommended for prospective analyses’.

First conclusion: ‘Getting the information Prospective analysis — one established

basis right’ — An indicator framework on ‘building block’ of the EEA’s integrated
waste and material flows is needed as a assessment for policy-making and reporting
prerequisite for integrated assessment. — aims at anticipating future trends of
driving forces and pressures. By this,
Integrated assessment of the waste and emerging issues may be identified and
material flow issue is only feasible on the existing policies may be evaluated with
basis of adequate statistics and indicators. Yet, regard to reaching their objectives. Further,
on the European level, insufficient statistical prospective analyses can support elaboration
information on waste and material flows is of policy responses needed in the future.
currently available.
As far as waste and material flows are
The EEA has progressed in the development concerned, a twofold approach is
of a core set of WMF indicators. This set will recommended:
provide the basic information needed to
assess waste and material flows issues 1. In order to generate outlooks or
covering all aspects of waste generation/ projections for the main aggregated
management and material inputs into the indicators on waste and material flows,
economic cycle. the existing simulation model framework
of the EEA should include a module on
However, ‘getting the information right’ will waste and material flows (see fourth
need some five to 10 years since it is conclusion).
dependent on the implementation of the
waste statistics regulation. In the meantime, 2. For the projection of selected waste
assessment will be based on only limited, streams and material flows separate
currently available information. ETC/WMF models should be developed
(see fifth conclusion).
Second conclusion: ‘EEA assessment will to a
large extent be based on indicators’. Fourth conclusion: ‘Elaborate the extension
of existing simulation models by a waste and
Through its close link to policy objectives, material flow module.
the above-mentioned indicator framework
will also serve as the ‘backbone’ for The existing EEA model should be extended
integrated assessment in the field of waste by main waste and material flow variables in a
and material flows. These indicators with stepwise approach starting from waste factors
high policy relevance will be used by the EEA connecting economic performance (e.g.
for regular reporting (EEA environmental GDP, gross value added, gross output,
signals series) and indicator-based assessment national income, etc.) with waste and
similar to the transport and environment material flow quantities.
reporting mechanism (TERM).
A macroeconomic model (GEM E3)
The use of indicators applies to the constitutes the core of the existing EEA
assessment of existing information as well as model framework (see Section 4.1.1). It links
to describe future trends, for example, the main socioeconomic driving forces to
forecasting of expected waste quantities in various energy and air emissions modules
the forthcoming years on the basis of historic that are also part of the model framework. It
trends and the development of economic has to be investigated whether it is feasible to
activities. design a module on waste and material flows
that can use the output of a macroeconomic
Conclusions 57

model. The module then needs to include • estimate future quantities of priority waste
algorithms that reflect changes in the ratios streams based on existing data from past
between the driving forces, the economic years;
variables and the waste generation. • link waste quantities with dangerous
substances that can potentially be
This approach should lead to outlooks to be transferred into the environment if wastes
used, for example, in EEA outlook reports. are not managed properly;
For prospective analyses serving more • prepare ‘what-if’ scenarios related to policy
detailed environmental policy-making issues, and management issues.
more specific models simulating selected
priority waste and material streams (e.g. end- Sixth conclusion: ‘LCA to be used for
of-life vehicles, sewage sludge, WEEE, etc.) assessments of products and processes’.
should be developed (see fifth conclusion).
Lifecycle assessment is a decision-support
Fifth conclusion: ‘Develop information and tool through which evaluation of the
assessment tools on selected waste and environmental burdens associated with a
material streams’. product, process or activity can be carried
out. If, in the future, the EEA wants to
In order to be able to support the undertake product- or process-specific
development of the indicator framework of assessments, LCA would be an appropriate
the EEA with regard to more detailed policy- tool.
making issues, more specific models are
required. Seventh conclusion: ‘GIS and remote sensing
for spatial issues’.
EU waste policies and legislation have been
focusing on selected priority waste and So far, GIS and remote sensing have not been
material streams (packaging, end-of-life part of EEA integrated assessment for policy-
vehicles, WEEE, sewage sludge). There is a making and reporting in the field of waste
need to improve data and information on and material flows since spatial issues on the
generation and management for a number of local and regional level are subject to
waste streams, including projections on national and regional authorities’ decision-
future waste arisings. The EEA and ETC/ making. Spatial issues associated to waste and
WMF already work in this field by developing material flows include for example the
a model predicting future waste arisings and location of landfills and incineration plants,
the potential emissions of dangerous the identification of quarries, the selection of
substances into the environment. Technically the routing and the monitoring of the
sound assumptions and coefficients will be transportation of waste and raw materials,
used, in order to link expected waste etc. If this kind of detailed information ever
quantities and emissions of dangerous will be needed, GIS and remote sensing can
substances with the respective waste- be used to develop a rather detailed picture
generating activities. of activities related to waste management.

The long-term objective is to develop a

model that will enable the user to:
58 Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

5. References

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activity in Italy. Environmental typological 2000 replacing Decision 94/3/EC
space mapper facilitating the establishing a list of wastes.
implementation of a European legislation’,
European Commission, 2000. Commission Directive 94/69/EC of 19
December 1994 adapting to technical
Ayres, R. U. and Simonis, U. E., Industrial progress for the twenty-first time Council
metabolism, United Nations University Press: Directive 67/548/EEC on the approximation
Tokyo, New York, 1994. of laws, regulations and administrative
provisions relating to the classification,
Ayres, R. U., Lifecycle analysis: A critique, packaging and labelling of dangerous
Resources, Conservation and Recycling, substances.
Commission Directive 96/54/EC of 30 July
Barton, J. R., Dalley, D. and Patel, V. S., 1996 adapting to technical progress for the
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Bellehumeur, C., Vasseur, L., Ansseau, C. and Commission Directive 98/73/EC of 18

Marcos, B., Implementation of a multi-criteria September 1998 adapting to technical
sewage sludge management model in the southern progress for the 24th time Council Directive
Quebec municipality of Lac-Megantic, Canada, 67/548/EEC on the approximation of the
Group Stoper, University of Sherbrooke, laws, regulations and administrative
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packaging and labelling of dangerous
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European Environment Agency

Assessment of information related to waste and material flows

2003 – 63 pp. – 21 x 29.7 cm

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