Municipal solid waste (MSW) management is internationally recognized for its potential to be both a source and mitigation technology for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Historically, GHG emission estimates have relied upon quantitative knowledge of various MSW components and their carbon contents, information normally presented in waste characterization studies. Aside from errors associated with such studies, existing data do not reflect changes over time or from location to location and are therefore limited in their utility for estimating GHG emissions and mitigation due to proposed projects. This paper presents an alternative approach to estimate GHG emissions and mitigation using the concept of a carbon balance, where key carbon quantities are determined from operational measurements at modern municipal waste combustors (MWCs).

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