Waste management strategies in view of material and energy system transition: structured discussion with group works for identifying environmentally robust strategies

ACTIVE LAB 09 / 12 October 2023 / 09:00 - 10:30

Organised by:
David Laner - Center for Resource Management and Solid Waste Engineering, University of Kassel (DE), david.laner@uni-kassel.de
Valentina Bisinella - Department of Environmental and Resource Engineering, Technical University of Denmark (DK), valenb@dtu.dk

Current global environmental challenges, such as climate change, clean energy provision and responsible consumption and production, require society to urgently transition to more sustainable solutions across all sectors with fundamental, transformative, and cross-cutting changes. This is true for the waste management sector as well as for other sectors such as energy and material production, which are heavily linked to waste management and subject to particularly drastic changes. These changes need to be reflected in environmental decision support tools, most prominently in LCA, in order to identify and implement environmentally sound waste management schemes, optimal for the time when they are design and robust in view of future conditions in which they will operate. However, despite the need for comprehensive studies on the effect of system changes on environmentally preferable waste management solutions, so far there is hardly any research on the specific challenges for prospective LCAs on future waste management systems. The aim of the workshop is to address challenges and uncertainty related to future transformations of energy and material systems and how they can be reflected in prospective LCA on waste management. The workshop will initiate talks in order to identify research and framework-creation opportunities in this area.

Introductory presentations:

D. Laner (DE)
Identifying environmentally robust waste system configurations
Short introductory presentation introducing the workshop topic and highlighting the issue that robust configurations may be preferable to extremely good performances, if the latter are dependent on specific boundary conditions which may vary in view of future development and uncertainty.

V. Bisinella (DK)
Waste LCA and the future
Synthesis of challenges LCAs of future waste management systems will have to address and, to the extent possible, of approaches and recommendations on how to deal with these challenges. The focus of the talk will be on methodological aspects of modelling future waste systems in LCA.

S. Schmidt (DE)
Current and future key factors for the environmental performance of plastic packaging waste management
Case study on the environmental performance of plastic packaging waste management in Germany. Expected transformations of material and energy systems were considered in the LCA by adjusting life cycle inventories using results from the integrated assessment models IMAGE and REMIND for a pathway to limit global warming to 1.5 °C. The focus will be on the future development of the environmental performance of plastic packaging waste management and its key factors.

T. Christensen (DK)
The future challenges of waste management
Systematic review of major future challenges of waste management. The aim of the talk is to address some of the key transformations and changes in the foreground and background systems of waste management activities.

A.S. Varling (DK)
Emerging technologies in waste management systems: carbon capture, storage and utilization applied to incineration and anaerobic digestion
The presentation will highlight key aspects of emerging technologies with respect to their potential to affect the environmental performance of waste management.

Structured discussion (potentially with group work):

Guiding questions:
• In which waste management contexts have the participants experienced these challenges?
• What actions have the participants taken to solve these challenges?
• Are the actions taken case-specific or could they be generalized to a wider framework?
• What general advice can we give to other practitioners?
• Can we develop guidance on the identified issues, which can be shared with others?