Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts Waste Technology and Innovation Study


Material Energy benefit from recycling (kWh/t)30



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Material

Energy benefit from recycling (kWh/t)30

Source

Aluminum cans

47.5

DECC, 2007

Steel cans

9.1

DECC, 2007

Copper wire

22.9

USEPA, 2006

Glass

1.1

DECC, 2007

HDPE

13.0

DECC, 2007

LDPE

15.6

USEPA, 2006

PET

13.8

DECC, 2007

Corrugated cardboard

7.6

DECC, 2007

Magazines/third-class mail

0.2

USEPA, 2006

Newspaper

4.2

DECC, 2007

Office paper

5.9

DECC, 2007

Phonebooks

3.2

USEPA, 2006

Textbooks

0.1

USEPA, 2006

Timber

2.0

DECC, 2007

Medium-density fiberboard

0.2

USEPA, 2006

Food Discards

0.2

USEPA, 2006

Yard Trimmings

0.2

USEPA, 2006

Mixed Paper







Broad Definition

7.4

DECC, 2007

Residential Definition

6.4

USEPA, 2006

Office Paper Definition

5.9

DECC, 2007

Mixed metal

20.8

USEPA, 2006

Mixed plastics

14.6

USEPA, 2006

Mixed recyclables

4.7

USEPA, 2006

Mixed organics

-0.2

USEPA, 2006

Carpet

29.3

USEPA, 2006

Personal computers

0.1

DECC, 2007

Concrete

0.03

USEPA, 2006

Fly ash

1.3

USEPA, 2006

Tires

14.4

USEPA, 2006

Televisions

0.1

DECC, 2007

Table 9 Water and greenhouse gas emissions savings from recycling

Material

Recycling water savings

Recycling greenhouse gas emissions savings

kL/tonne31

Source

tCO2-e/t

Source

Aluminum Cans

233.2

DECC, 2007

15.18

DECC, 2007

Steel Cans

1.1

DECC, 2007

0.81

DECC, 2007

Glass

2

DECC, 2007

0.33

DECC, 2007

HDPE

-10.4

DECC, 2007

0.49

DECC, 2007

PET

-12.1

DECC, 2007

1.43

DECC, 2007

Corrugated Cardboard

30.66

DECC, 2007

1.29

DECC, 2007

Newspaper

21.08

DECC, 2007

0.57

DECC, 2007

Office Paper

15.58

DECC, 2007

1.54

DECC, 2007

Timber

0.07

DECC, 2007

0.15

DECC, 2007

Personal Computers

0.28

DECC, 2007

0.04

DECC, 2007

Clay Bricks

1.88

DECC, 2007

0.01

DECC, 2007

Televisions

0.46

DECC, 2007

0.2

DECC, 2007

Lead

47.5

Mudd, 2009







Silver

47.5

Mudd, 2009







Zinc

47.5

Mudd, 2009







Table 10 shows the energy benefits associated with source reduction of various material types.

Table 10 Energy benefits from source reduction



Material

Energy benefit from source reduction (kWh/t)

Source

Aluminum Cans

77,119

USEPA, 2006

Steel Cans

11,780

USEPA, 2006

Copper Wire

39,805

USEPA, 2006

Glass

2,612

USEPA, 2006

HDPE

22,673

USEPA, 2006

LDPE

24,794

USEPA, 2006

PET

23,473

USEPA, 2006

Corrugated Cardboard

8,639

USEPA, 2006

Magazines/Third-class Mail

10,734

USEPA, 2006

Newspaper

13,133

USEPA, 2006

Office Paper

12,032

USEPA, 2006

Phonebooks

12,871

USEPA, 2006

Textbooks

11,406

USEPA, 2006

Dimensional Lumber

1,140

USEPA, 2006

Medium-density Fiberboard

3,716

USEPA, 2006

Mixed Paper







Broad Definition

10,415

USEPA, 2006

Residential Definition

10,415

USEPA, 2006

Office Paper Definition

23,709

USEPA, 2006

Carpet

29,397

USEPA, 2006

Personal Computers

308,868

USEPA, 2006

Clay Bricks

1,656

USEPA, 2006

Fly Ash

1,540

USEPA, 2006

Tyres

28,464

USEPA, 2006

Table 11 Greenhouse gas emissions

Waste stream




Source waste stream options

Greenhouse emissions
(tCO2-e/t) 32


Source

Residual MSW

MBT

MBT Aerobic

-0.05




MBT Anaerobic

-0.104

AEA, 2002

Disposal

Eng. Landfill

-0.1-1.0




0.98

USEPA, 2006

Bioreactor landfill

-0.1-1.0




Stabilised/inert landfill

-0.25




Ash landfill

-0.25




Thermal processing

Mass burn

Excludes biogenic carbon, based on US energy mix

-0.08

USEPA, 2006

No energy recovery

0.181

AEA, 2002

Energy recovery as electricity (with metals recovery), assume coal fired

-0.225

AEA, 2002

Energy recovery as electricity (with metals recovery), assume wind power

0.177

AEA, 2002

RDF

Excludes biogenic carbon, based on US energy mix

-0.04

USEPA, 2006

Gasification

Energy recovery as electricity, assume coal fired

-0.195

AEA, 2002

Energy recovery as electricity, assume wind power

0.163

AEA, 2002

Source separated organics

Composting

Includes transport and sequestration

-0.2

USEPA, 2006

Includes transport and sequestration and avoided product credit

-0.41

Calculated. Incorporated DEC, 2008 process default with life cycle based emissions including process energy, sequestration, avoided product credits for peat substitution. Avoided Landfill excluded.

Note: Data published prior to NGERS guidelines mean that directly referenced values may include outdated carbon accounting approaches such as including biogenic emissions. Indicative of performance as a more reliable would plot performance against assumptions.

Table 12 Energy balance factors



Waste stream




Source waste stream options

Energy balance (net electrical energy) (kWh/t) 33

Source

Residual MSW

MBT treatment

MBT Aerobic

-24

Nolan ITU, 1999

MBT Anaerobic

160

Nolan ITU, 1999

Incineration

220-400

Nolan ITU, 1999

New Thermal

320-400

Öko-Institut, 1998, Nolan ITU, 1999

Disposal

Eng. Landfill

233

Nolan ITU, 1999

Source separated organics

Composting


Open

-10

Nolan ITU, 1999

Enclosed

-24

Nolan ITU, 1999
        1. Environmental priority assessment Tables


Guidance on the identification of policy or funding priorities from the broad spectrum of waste streams and materials that exist is not immediately possible from published studies. Studies vary in term of the indicators that they report against, the terms of reference and functional unit of the study, goal and scope of the original study, the system boundaries, data quality etc. These variations mean that comparison of results should proceed only with regard to the study context.

Material stream priorities need to be ranked by the waste stream from which they originate as well as by the end-product that is recovered if they are to reflect the environmental performance variations that exist at this level.

Examples are provided in Table 13 for a material stream (office paper) and waste stream (residual MSW). To define categories in a more streamlined way would fail to capture system variables that are influential in determining the overall performance of the system.

Table 13 Paper waste (office paper) definition - priority assessment matrix



Material stream




Technology characterisation / End product recovery options

Greenhouse benefit (tCO2-e/t)

Water Savings (kl/t)

Energy Balance (GJ/t)

Paper waste

Office paper



MSW

Cardboard/Packaging fibre

1.13

30

27

Tissue










Recycled office paper

1.54

29

21

Newsprint

0.57

21

15

Compost

0.24

37

.09

C & I

Fuel (mass burn combustion) to gasification

-0.078




3.8

Landfill

-2.5




1.4

Stabilate for landfill

-0.25







Stabilate for RDF or energy recovery







3.2

Note: The absence of a toxicity assessment has the potential to bias the results as a measure of sustainability. For waste treatment, toxicity impact is one of the most significant impact categories (NPCC, 2001, ERV 3003). For example, LCA data reveals the toxicity impact savings from recycling paper into recycled office paper is notably higher than for other grades due to the materials intensity of producing writing paper grades.





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