A method and databases for estimating detailed industrial waste generation at different scales – With application to biogas industry development
Journal article, 2020
In this study, a top-down method for constructing databases of industrial waste generation profiles is presented. The method employs routinely reported statistical data for economic activities, which enables simple data acquisition and ensures capture of changes in production processes and waste generation. Quantified waste generation profiles following the EWC-stat nomenclature for 42 waste types were compiled into two EU databases, one for 12 sectors and the other for more than 200 industries. These were complimented with quantified factors on waste generation per employee for each sector. The relationship between amounts of waste generated and number of employees has been confirmed for each sector with statistical tests; this can be used to estimate waste quantities in other scenarios. The databases employ standard EU economic and waste nomenclatures, which are also similar to those used worldwide. Potential use scenarios include: evaluation of different geographic boundaries, such as industrial park, municipal, regional or national level; focus on expected types and quantities of waste generated by particular sectors and industries; or targeting particular types of wastes, the economic activities that produce them and the quantities generated. The latter scenario is illustrated in this paper by exploring potential for industrial symbiosis where waste streams from bio-based industries are used to produce biogas in the Västra Götaland region of Sweden. The developed method and databases could support the implementation of circular economy policies, including industrial symbiosis.