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About the Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Curbside Material Recovery

A Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) can be a valuable tool to evaluate the trade-offs associated with different products and processes. While LCA is being used more regularly to evaluate the environmental impact of solid waste management systems, the availability of high-quality studies applicable to the USA are limited. It will take science, education and working at each point within the circular economy to truly make an impact on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to make a significant difference.

This report provides:

  • An overview of Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) and review of recent studies related to solid waste management
  • A comparative assessment of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fossil energy use associated with specific recyclable materials (e.g. paper, plastic, metal, glass)
  • Key findings that highlight sustainability benefits and environmental burdens associated with different modes of collection and endpoints (e.g. landfilling, recycling, yard and food waste composting)