Municipal Solid Waste Recycling: Impacts on Energy Savings and Air Pollution


In recent years, recycling of municipal solid waste (MSW) has been recognized as one of the most efficient methods of waste management in terms of environmental benefits. This study investigates the energy savings and other environmental benefits of recycling of dry MSW collected in Shiraz, Iran (2018). The impact of different recycling rates (current = 15%, desirable = 50%, ideal = 80%) on environmental benefits and energy savings were assessed. The annual quantity of recycled components were defined as glass (735 tons), plastic carrier bags (555 tons), cardboard (3,874 tons), paper (3,806 tons), disposable plastic containers (287 tons), other types of metals (785 tons), disposable metallic containers (aluminum) (171 tons), other types of plastics (812 tons) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) (887 tons). The results confirmed that recycling of paper and glass in three different scenarios resulted in a reduction of 1.01, 2.14, and 3.43 million tons of air pollutant emissions, respectively. By improving the recycling rates from 15 to 80%, overall energy savings can improve by between a factor of 3.5 to 5.5. Also, a reduction of approximately 2-3.5% in air pollutant emissions can be achieved by upgrading the current recycling program (15% recycling rate) to favorable and ideal conditions.

Authors: Mahdi Farzadkia, Amir Hossein Mahvi, Abbas Norouzian Baghani, Armin Sorooshian, Mahdieh Delikhoon, Razieh Sheikhi, Qadir Ashournejad
; Full Source: Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association (1995) 2021 Jan 28. doi: 10.1080/10962247.2021.1883770.