Life Cycle Assessment of Food Disposal Options in Sydney

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Food waste processor (FWP) units are mainly used to dispose of waste generated in the kitchen during the preparation of food. A limit or ban on their use has been sought by local council. In response, In-Sink-Erator (an international manufacturer of FWPs) has approached the Cooperative Research Centre for Waste Management and Pollution Control to investigate the environmental, technical, economic and social impacts of their product. The environmental assessment has been based on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach consisting of goal and scope definition, inventory analysis, impact assessment and interpretation. The FWP option has been compared with alternative options of home composting, codisposal of food waste with municipal waste and centralised composting of green (food and garden) waste. For the comparison the functional unit was defined as the amount of food waste produced by a household in one year. The environmental assessment comprises energy consumption and contributions to climate change, eutrophication and acidification. The impacts from one functional unit have been used to extrapolate the overall environmental impacts for greater Sydney area. Different scenarios have been analysed with regards to varying market penetrations of FWP (5%, 15%, 25% and 50% market penetration). The results from the LCA have been combined with the economic, engineering and social investigation to support a holistic approach to ecologically sustainable decision making. This conference paper deals only with the baseline scenarios of the report prepared for In-Sink-Erator. A more comprehensive version of this paper will be submitted to the Journal of Cleaner Production.
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Lundie, S
Peters, G
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UNSW Faculty