Life-cycle cost-benefit analysis on sustainable food waste management: The case of Hong Kong International Airport

Chor Man Lam, Iris K.M. Yu, Francisco Medel, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Shu-Chien Hsu, Chi Sun Poon

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Food waste is responsible for a significant portion of solid waste generation in the international airports, where efficient on-site or off-site sorting and recycling may be feasible. The aim of this study is to develop a Life-Cycle Cost-Benefit Analysis (LC-CBA) framework, through the integration of the life-cycle assessment (LCA) and cost-benefit analysis (CBA), to guide decision-making in sustainable food waste management. The analysis tool assesses the environmental and economic performance of different food waste management options, as demonstrated in a case study of the Hong Kong International Airport with six food waste handling scenarios consisting of different combinations of treatment technologies. Both centralized (i.e., off-site) and on-site treatment options were evaluated. The on-site incineration scenario was found to be the most sustainable option with the lowest life-cycle net costs of HKD 461.73/tonne. The scenario achieved the highest energy recovery of 707 kWh/tonne, which led to an economic savings of HKD 697.81/tonne and an environmental savings of HKD 470.96/tonne. The LC-CBA developed in this study is widely applicable to inform decision-making on sustainable food waste management worldwide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751-762
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2018


  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Energy recovery
  • Incineration
  • On-site treatment
  • Organic resource recovery
  • Organic waste

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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