New Tool to Help Solid-Waste Systems Reach Cost, Environmental Goals


Researchers develop a novel open-source life-cycle optimization framework for solid waste and sustainable materials management applications named SwolfPy

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a free, user-friendly tool that makes use of multiple computational models to help solid waste systems achieve their environmental goals in the most cost-efficient way possible.

Waste management systems do more than simply put solid waste into landfills. These systems need to not only safely store or recycle solid waste, but also must minimize any health risks associated with the waste, minimize environmental risks associated with air or water pollution, and minimize the release of greenhouse gases (GHGs) that can be produced as solid waste is processed or decomposes.

“The challenge is that there are a host of things waste management systems can do to accomplish these goals,” says James Levis, co-author of a paper on the new tool and a research assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering at NC State. “And many of those actions have trade-offs, in terms of cost, environmental impact, technical challenges, and so on.

“To address this, we’ve created an open-source tool called the Solid Waste Optimization Life-cycle in Python (SwolfPy), which allows users to assess all of these options in one place. This can help users determine the best course of action for any specific set of circumstances. And, because it is open-source, the solid waste community can develop additional features over time to make the tool even more useful in guiding decision-making.”

Continue reading at North Carolina State University

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