A new article by Eldbjørg Blikra, Verònica Martínez (Fundació ENT) and Marianne Thomsen has been published in Sustainability entitled “A Review of Waste Management Decision Support Tools and Their Ability to Assess Circular Biowaste Management Systems”.
The circular economy concept offers a number of solutions to increasing amounts of biowaste and resource scarcity by valorising biowaste. However, it is necessary to consistently address the environmental benefits and impacts of circular biowaste management systems (CBWMS). Various decision support tools (DST) for environmental assessment of waste management systems (WMS) exist. This study provides a review of life cycle assessment based WMS-DSTs. Twenty-five WMS-DSTs were identified and analysed through a shortlisting procedure. Eight tools were shortlisted for the assessment of their applicability to deliver sustainability assessment of CBWMS. It was found that six tools model key properties that are necessary for assessing the environmental sustainability of CBWMSs, including waste-specific modelling of gaseous emissions, biogas generation or bioproduct composition. However, only two tools consider both waste-specific heavy metals content in bioproducts and the associated implications when applied on soil. Most of the shortlisted tools are flexible to simulate new technologies involved in CBWMS. Nevertheless, only two tools allow importing directly new background data, which is important when modelling substitution of new bioproducts developed in emerging biowaste refineries.