Comparison of costs for three hypothetical alternative kitchen waste management systems

  • Schiettecatte W
  • Tize R
  • De Wever H
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Urban water and waste management continues to be a major challenge, with the Earth's population projected to rise to 9 billion by 2050, with 70% of this population expected to live in cities. A combined treatment of wastewater and the organic fraction of municipal solid waste offers opportunities for improved environmental protection and energy recovery, but the collection and transport of organic wastes must be cost effective. This study compares three alternative kitchen waste collection and transportation systems for a virtual modern urban area with 300,000 residents and a population density of 10,000 persons per square kilometre. Door-to-door collection, being the standard practice in modern urban centres, remains the most economically advantageous at a cost of 263 euros per tonne of kitchen waste. Important drawbacks are the difficult logistics, increased city traffic, air and noise pollution. The quieter, cleaner and more hygienic vacuum transport of kitchen waste comes with a higher cost of 367 euros per tonne, mainly resulting from a higher initial investment cost for the system installation. The third option includes the well-known use of under-sink food waste disposers (often called garbage grinders) that are connected to the kitchen's wastewater piping system, with a total yearly cost of 392 euros per tonne. Important advantages with this system are the clean operation and the current availability of a city-wide sewage conveyance pipeline system. Further research is recommended, for instance the application of a life cycle assessment approach, to more fully compare the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Kitchen wastes
  • door-to-door waste collection
  • food water disposers
  • garbage grinders
  • pneumatic waste transport
  • solid waste collection

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  • Wim Schiettecatte

  • Ronald Tize

  • Heleen De Wever

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