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Gewählte Doctoral Thesis:

Gudrun Obersteiner (2021): Climate Impact of Waste Management.
Doctoral Thesis - Institut für Abfallwirtschaft (ABF-BOKU), BOKU-Universität für Bodenkultur, pp 115. UB BOKU obvsg FullText

Data Source: ZID Abstracts
The waste management sector, mainly because of methane emissions from landfills has been perceived as a relevant source of greenhouse gases. In recent years, focus was shifted from landfill to other areas and priorities were given to waste prevention and product reuse. However, a comprehensive analysis of the relevance of different waste management measures on the resulting GHG emissions and thus the contribution of individual stages of the waste hierarchy to the climate was not carried out. Within this theses, an attempt was made to assess the relevance of direct waste management effects as they are already included in common GHG inventories in comparison to effects of other waste management options according to the waste hierarchy such as waste prevention or preparation for re-use. It could be shown that a relevant impact of landfills to the overall results in LCA of waste management systems only appears in the case of disposal of untreated residual waste in reactor landfills. With appropriate treatment of wastes, the relevance of landfills to the overall results is decreasing remarkably. Impacts from the end of life phase are not the driving factor compared to the overall product impacts. Priority should therefore be given to waste prevention and re-use. By preventing products from being wasted, emissions in any previous stages of the supply chain can be avoided. It could be shown that the contribution of re-use and waste prevention on GHG savings exceeds by far the potential of conventional waste management options which are recorded within the framework of current climate inventories. As main outcome it could be shown that waste management as soon the whole waste hierarchy is considered, is not a causer of climate impacts but rather makes a significant contribution to climate protection.

Betreuer: Salhofer Stefan Petrus
1. Berater: Zollitsch Werner

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