The Environmental Research and Education Foundation (EREF) will host a Solid Waste Management Life-Cycle Assessment Workshop from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm on Friday, October 3, 2014 at 3301 Benson Drive (Renaissance Once Building), 1st Floor in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Life-cycle assessment (LCA) is widely used to estimate the environmental and economic impacts associated with products, processes, and systems. Numerous tools and models have been developed to address the unique challenges associated with solid waste management (SWM) processes and systems. LCA is a unique and powerful tool for SWM and can answer questions such as:

  • Is it better to compost, anaerobically digest, burn, or landfill food waste?
  • What are the costs associated with:

    • reducing environmental impacts from solid waste processes or systems?
    • making certain SWM decisions (e.g. implementing WTE or recycling)
  • What are the net environmental implications of recycling?
  • What process(es) in the solid waste system lead to the most emissions?

This workshop will provide an introduction to LCA with a subsequent focus on SWM applications geared towards practitioners, consultants, policy makers, and researchers. Participants will:

  • gain a basic understanding of what LCA is and how LCA is used in a variety of industries
  • understand the essentials of how an LCA model is developed for evaluating SWM strategies (e.g., collection, recovery, waste-to-energy, landfill, composting and anaerobic digestion)
  • gain an understanding of how LCA   is used to evaluate multiple SWM strategies via a presentation of illustrative case studies

As part of this workshop, a demonstration of the Solid Waste Optimization Life-cycle Framework (SWOLF) will be provided.  SWOLF is a multi-stage life-cycle optimization framework, developed at N.C. State University and supported by EREF and the National Science Foundation, that is capable of analyzing the economic and environmental impacts and trade-offs associated with SWM systems when considering future changes to waste generation, waste composition, and the energy system.  


The cost to register for the EREF workshop is $75 for consultants/industry personnel, $25 for federal/state/local agencies/non-profits and $15 for academia and students. The workshop is sponsored by Smith Gardner, Inc. and Waste Industries. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available.

For more information or to register, visit