Different solid waste management system scenarios were developed and compared for the Municipal Solid Waste Management System of Ankara by using the life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. The solid waste management methods considered in the scenarios were collection and transportation of wastes, source reduction, Material Recovery Facility (MRF)/Transfer Stations (TS), incineration, anaerobic digestion and landfilling. The goal of the study was to determine the most environmentally friendly option of MSWM system for Ankara. The functional unit of the study was the amount of solid waste generated in the system area of concern, which are the districts of Ankara. The life cycle inventory analysis was carried out by IWM Model-1. The inputs and outputs of each management stage were defined and the inventory emissions calculated by the model were classified in to impact categories; non-renewable energy sources exhausting potential, final solid waste as hazardous and nonhazardous, global warming, acidification, eutrophication and human toxicity. The impacts were quantified with the weighing factors of each category to develop the environmental profiles of each scenario. In most of the categories, Source Reduction Scenario was found to be the most feasible management method, except the global warming category. The lowest contribution to G-AT was calculated for the anaerobic digestion process. In the interpretation and improvement assessment stage, the results were further evaluated and recommendations were made to improve the current solid waste management system of Ankara. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.