Since a landfill causes emissions for a very long-time period, life-cycle-based environmental assessment was carried out to compare different technological options for sustainable leachate treatment and LFG collection and utilization. WAMPS, the life-cycle assessment (LCA) model for waste management planning, was used for the environmental assessment of selected leachate and LFG treatment technologies.
Results of both direct measurements in the studied landfills and LCA support the fact that leachate treatment with reverse osmosis has the best environmental performance compared to aerobic-activated sludge treatment. Recently, the collection efficiency of LFG in the studied landfills is relatively low. In order to improve the overall environmental performance of LFG management the gas collection rate should be improved. LFG utilisation for energy recovery is an essential part of the system. The results of the study show that the avoided impacts of energy recovery can be even greater than direct impacts of greenhouse gas emissions from landfills. Therefore, measures which combine LFG collection with energy generation should be preferred to treatment in flare.
It should be noted that the results of this study do not express the total environmental impacts of the entire landfill system, but only the eutrophicating impacts and global warming related to the studied leachate and LFG management options. Therefore, it is recommended that further LCAs investigate also other relevant impact categories.
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