Environmental impacts of a material recovery facility in a Life Cycle Perspective

Conference Dates

June 5-10, 2016


The study aims to evaluate the environmental performances of an integrated material recovery facility (MRF), which has a crucial role in the waste management plan of a region in the middle of Italy, characterized by a low level (less than 20%) of household source separation and separate collection [1].

The facility, which is able to treat about 30 kt/y of mixed waste, has three main units: a mechanical sorting platform, bio-cells for tunnel composting, and a landfill. The output streams of the sorting platform are the ferrous metals and mixed plastics, which are sent to the recycling processes, the solid recovered fuel (SRF), which is utilized in an external combustion-based waste-to-energy plant, and a low-quality organic fraction, which is treated in the on-site composting unit. The solid residues generated by these processes are about a half of the input stream, and are disposed in the annexed landfill. The bio-cells for tunnel composting are in operation since 2014, and so far produces just a low-quality compost, utilized for landfill capping, and a leachate, sent to an external wastewater treatment plant (WTP). The landfill produces a leachate, which is treated in the WTP, and a biogas, which is collected (with an efficiency of about 60%), and sent to a gas engine, having an electric energy conversion efficiency of 38%.

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