Saturday, November 1, 2008

WARM (cool new toy)

WAste Reduction Model (WARM) is a cool "new-to-me" toy available from the U.S. EPA. This is a calculator that allows users to model the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions created by disposing of waste. Not only does it look at landfilling, but it also considers alternative waste management measures such as recycling, composting, source reduction (!), and incineration.

It is a user-friendly spreadsheet that asks for the following information:

  • Baseline waste management (tons generated, recycled, landfilled, combusted, or composted) for about 30 material types
  • Alternative waste management scenario for the same as listed above, with the additioanl category of "source tons reduced"
  • Material source
  • Landfill gas recovery methods
  • Transportation of waste
It's also really interesting to look at the per ton estimates of GHG emissions by materials. For example, combusting aluminum cans results in 0.02 tons of GHG emissions per ton of aluminum; however, combusting steel cans results in savings of 0.42 tons of GHG emissions per ton of steel. Conversely, recycling aluminum cans results in savings of 3.73 tons of GHG emissions; while for steel cans the result is saving only 0.49 tons.

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