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A comparison of thermal treatment processes for hazardous waste : Strategic EIA for the Dutch national hazardous waste management plan 1997- 2007

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Author: Tukker, A.
Institution: TNO Strategie, Technologie en Beleid
Source:International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 6, 4, 341-351
Identifier: 234871
doi: doi:10.1007/BF02978525
Keywords: Architecture and Building · Dutch National Hazardous Waste Management Plan · EIA · Environmental Impact Assessment · Hazardous waste · Incineration · LCA · Life Cycle Assessment · Thermal treatment · Waste · Waste management


This paper (the second in a series of three) compares incineration options for hazardous waste with LCA. Provided that acceptance criteria are met with regard to metals, PAHs and chlorine, Dutch Municipal Solid Waste Incinerators (MSWIs) appeared to be preferable above rotary kilns since they have a better energy recovery and - unlike rotary kilns - produce reusable slags. The position of the cement kiln relative to the MSWI and rotary kiln depends on the allocation method chosen. System enlargement, which may be most highly defensible, tends to give cement kilns the advantage. Yet, two key concerns which are unsolvable by LCA make final conclusions impossible. First, an input of highly contaminated waste leads to an enrichment of cement with metals. Long-term consequences are not known, so the incineration of waste with a high metal content will inevitably be controversial. Second, no convincing proof was found that cement kilns would not produce additional hazardous process emissions (e.g. dioxins) when using waste instead of fuel. The precautionary principle demands that such proof be provided before cement kilns can be considered for the incineration of waste with a composition other than their regular fuel.