Ecological-Economic Modelling for Regional Waste Management Systems
Award winning PhD research project, funded by the European Commission INTAS PhD Fellowship, focused on the application of multi-criteria optimization, GIS and life cycle analysis to the analysis of the regional waste management system in the UK context.
This project focused on the development of a multi-criteria optimisation tool for achieving sustainable solutions for municipal solid waste management systems (MSWMS). The aim of the project was to provide a new methodological background for the regional solid waste management modelling taking into account spatial and temporal patterns of waste generation and processing, environmental as well as economic impacts of the system development with a particular emphasis on public health and biodiversity.
The research has focused on integrating three different approaches to the spatial-temporal analysis of the MSWMS, namely a life cycle inventory analysis, which helps to identify emission patterns within the MSWMS, a multi-criteria optimisation approach, which helps to find compromise solutions among environmentally and economically preferred options, and a geographic information systems approach, which provides a tool for identifying waste management facilities, transportation environmental and social impacts, aswell as analysis of environmental impacts on valuable ecosystems. A Russian methodology for calculating environmental damage was used to weight the importance of different sub-territories covered by the system as well as simplifying the analysis of emissions from the waste treatment plants. The approach provides a new perspective for the analysis of municipal solid waste management systems at the regional scale. The principal novelty of the proposed complex MSW management model is an integration of the different types of data–geographical, environmental and economic–using relational database technology.
Simulations using the dataset for Gloucestershire were performed on a simplified version of the model. Simulations were undertaken to explore the potential effects on waste management infrastructure of introducing the EU Landfill Directive. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses inherent in the methods utilised has suggested that a relatively affordable and easy to use tool can be developed for strategic analysis of the municipal solid waste management systemin a region, giving useful support to the decision-maker regarding the potential development paths and trade-offs between economic and environmental performance of a proposed waste management system.
We could bring waste management in your region to a new level, by proposing ways to reduce costs and bring down the associated environmental impact. We adopt the full life cycle approach, study the spatial distribution of the waste generation and treatment, reducing the impacts on ecosystems and human health and proposing a way forward to avoid landfilling and stimulate more recycling in your area.