Copenhagen Resource Institute

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen Resource Institute

Copenhagen, Denmark

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Laurent A.,Technical University of Denmark | Clavreul J.,Technical University of Denmark | Bernstad A.,Lund University | Bakas I.,Technical University of Denmark | And 4 more authors.
Waste Management | Year: 2014

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is increasingly used in waste management to identify strategies that prevent or minimise negative impacts on ecosystems, human health or natural resources. However, the quality of the provided support to decision- and policy-makers is strongly dependent on a proper conduct of the LCA. How has LCA been applied until now? Are there any inconsistencies in the past practice? To answer these questions, we draw on a critical review of 222 published LCA studies of solid waste management systems. We analyse the past practice against the ISO standard requirements and the ILCD Handbook guidelines for each major step within the goal definition, scope definition, inventory analysis, impact assessment, and interpretation phases of the methodology. Results show that malpractices exist in several aspects of the LCA with large differences across studies. Examples are a frequent neglect of the goal definition, a frequent lack of transparency and precision in the definition of the scope of the study, e.g. an unclear delimitation of the system boundaries, a truncated impact coverage, difficulties in capturing influential local specificities such as representative waste compositions into the inventory, and a frequent lack of essential sensitivity and uncertainty analyses. Many of these aspects are important for the reliability of the results. For each of them, we therefore provide detailed recommendations to practitioners of waste management LCAs. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Laurent A.,Technical University of Denmark | Bakas I.,Technical University of Denmark | Clavreul J.,Technical University of Denmark | Bernstad A.,Lund University | And 4 more authors.
Waste Management | Year: 2014

The continuously increasing solid waste generation worldwide calls for management strategies that integrate concerns for environmental sustainability. By quantifying environmental impacts of systems, life cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool, which can contribute to answer that call. But how, where and to which extent has it been applied to solid waste management systems (SWMSs) until now, and which lessons can be learnt from the findings of these LCA applications? To address these questions, we performed a critical review of 222 published LCA studies of SWMS. We first analysed the geographic distribution and found that the published studies have primarily been concentrated in Europe with little application in developing countries. In terms of technological coverage, they have largely overlooked application of LCA to waste prevention activities and to relevant waste types apart from household waste, e.g. construction and demolition waste. Waste management practitioners are thus encouraged to abridge these gaps in future applications of LCA. In addition to this contextual analysis, we also evaluated the findings of selected studies of good quality and found that there is little agreement in the conclusions among them. The strong dependence of each SWMS on local conditions, such as waste composition or energy system, prevents a meaningful generalisation of the LCA results as we find it in the waste hierarchy. We therefore recommend stakeholders in solid waste management to regard LCA as a tool, which, by its ability of capturing the local specific conditions in the modelling of environmental impacts and benefits of a SWMS, allows identifying critical problems and proposing improvement options adapted to the local specificities. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Power K.,Copenhagen Resource Institute | Mont O.,Lund University
Sustainability | Year: 2010

Looking at consumption from a societal perspective, we can see that purchasing and behavior decisions are influenced by many factors, not the least which are what the people around us and in the media are doing. Other factors include economic influences, the marketing of products and technological innovations, and regulations governing consumption. This article, Part II, argues that in order to understand consumption, we need to move beyond the dominant (economic) understanding of consumers and consumer behavior, and think about the origins of our preferences, needs, and desires. A thorough understanding of consumption is informed by the contributions of sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, and behavioral scientists, who study the socio-cultural, social, and psychological contexts in which consumer behavior is embedded. These disciplines offer rich and complex explanations of human behavior, which in turn illuminate the discussion on how consumer behavior can be made more sustainable. © 2010 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


Mont O.,Lund University | Power K.,Copenhagen Resource Institute
Sustainability | Year: 2010

Addressing climate change and the collapse of ecosystems without threatening the economy, while simultaneously improving the well-being of all people and ensuring social justice and equality, seems to be the largest challenge in the history of mankind. So far, all the efforts to address growing environmental and human problems through technological solutions and policy measures have been largely outpaced by growing population and increasing consumption levels. Therefore, an understanding of the essential driving forces and complexities of consumption, and of how environmental impacts from rising consumption can be reduced, is becoming increasingly important. This understanding can be achieved by analyzing not only economic frameworks, political settings, business models, and technological innovations, but also social norms, psychological factors, and collective and individual decision-making processes. This article, Part I, provides a meta-analysis of the main political, economic, technological, and business drivers of contemporary consumption and offers a systematic discussion of the relevance of these factors for the instigation of change towards sustainable patterns and levels of consumption. The main conclusion from Part I and II is that a systems-thinking approach is required in order to understand how various political, technical, social, economic, and psychological drivers overlap and influence each other in creating our consumer society. © 2010 by the authors.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: ENV.2009.4.2.3.2 | Award Amount: 1.96M | Year: 2010

The project CORPUS - Enhancing Connectivity Between Research and Policymaking in Sustainable Consumption aims to develop novel approaches to knowledge brokering (KB) between policy-making and research. It will foster evidence-based policy-making at the example of sustainable consumption by applying and testing a combination of online and offline KB methods. It will stimulate community-building across the involved researchers and policy-makers to arrive at a self-sustaining process of knowledge management in sustainable con-sumption policies. The CORPUS Web Platform is to become a central reference point for high quality information and networking among European professionals working with sustainable consumption. It will provide a space for incubating and nurturing knowledge to be shared among researchers and policy-makers through private domain, and scientific results to be disseminated in the public domain, and a transparent, effective interaction (dialogue) between scientists and policy-makers. The Interaction Exercises in three priority areas of sustainable consumption (food, mo-bility, housing) will explore novel modalities of knowledge brokerage through different forms of face-to-face dialogues. They provide specifically tailored arenas for personal exchange, infor-mation provision, and offline community-building. Since community-building is crucial for successful and ongoing knowledge exchange, a sepa-rate work package is dedicated to building of relationships, governing the network, and stimulat-ing engagement of participants. Another work package provides resources for initial fine-tuning and recurrent adaptations of the process and ensures the transferability of the projects results by systematically reflecting the empirical experiences against the background of knowledge management theory. Related to that, a built-in evaluation further enhances continued learning on the knowledge brokerage approach taken within CORPUS.


PubMed | Copenhagen Resource Institute, Lund University and Technical University of Denmark
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Waste management (New York, N.Y.) | Year: 2014

The continuously increasing solid waste generation worldwide calls for management strategies that integrate concerns for environmental sustainability. By quantifying environmental impacts of systems, life cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool, which can contribute to answer that call. But how, where and to which extent has it been applied to solid waste management systems (SWMSs) until now, and which lessons can be learnt from the findings of these LCA applications? To address these questions, we performed a critical review of 222 published LCA studies of SWMS. We first analysed the geographic distribution and found that the published studies have primarily been concentrated in Europe with little application in developing countries. In terms of technological coverage, they have largely overlooked application of LCA to waste prevention activities and to relevant waste types apart from household waste, e.g. construction and demolition waste. Waste management practitioners are thus encouraged to abridge these gaps in future applications of LCA. In addition to this contextual analysis, we also evaluated the findings of selected studies of good quality and found that there is little agreement in the conclusions among them. The strong dependence of each SWMS on local conditions, such as waste composition or energy system, prevents a meaningful generalisation of the LCA results as we find it in the waste hierarchy. We therefore recommend stakeholders in solid waste management to regard LCA as a tool, which, by its ability of capturing the local specific conditions in the modelling of environmental impacts and benefits of a SWMS, allows identifying critical problems and proposing improvement options adapted to the local specificities.


PubMed | Copenhagen Resource Institute, Lund University and Technical University of Denmark
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Waste management (New York, N.Y.) | Year: 2014

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is increasingly used in waste management to identify strategies that prevent or minimise negative impacts on ecosystems, human health or natural resources. However, the quality of the provided support to decision- and policy-makers is strongly dependent on a proper conduct of the LCA. How has LCA been applied until now? Are there any inconsistencies in the past practice? To answer these questions, we draw on a critical review of 222 published LCA studies of solid waste management systems. We analyse the past practice against the ISO standard requirements and the ILCD Handbook guidelines for each major step within the goal definition, scope definition, inventory analysis, impact assessment, and interpretation phases of the methodology. Results show that malpractices exist in several aspects of the LCA with large differences across studies. Examples are a frequent neglect of the goal definition, a frequent lack of transparency and precision in the definition of the scope of the study, e.g. an unclear delimitation of the system boundaries, a truncated impact coverage, difficulties in capturing influential local specificities such as representative waste compositions into the inventory, and a frequent lack of essential sensitivity and uncertainty analyses. Many of these aspects are important for the reliability of the results. For each of them, we therefore provide detailed recommendations to practitioners of waste management LCAs.

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