The current waste management system, handling around 500,000?t of household, commercial, and institutional waste annually in the Irkutsk region, Siberia, is based on landfilling in an old landfill with no controls of leachate and gas. Life-cycle assessment modelling of the current system shows that it is a major load on the environment, while the simulation of seven alternative systems results in large savings in many impact categories. With respect to climate change, it is estimated that a saving of about 1200?kg CO2 equivalents is possible per year, per inhabitant, which is a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The best alternatives involve efficient energy recovery from waste and recycling by source separation for commercial and institutional waste, the major waste type in the Irkutsk region. Recycling of household waste seems less attractive, and it is therefore recommended only to consider this option after experience has been gained with the commercial and institutional waste. Sensitivity analysis shows that recovery of energy - in particular electricity, heat, and steam - from waste is crucial to the environmental performance of the waste management system. This relates to the efficiencies of energy recovery as well as what the recovered energy substitutes, that is, the 'dirtier' the off-set energy, the higher the environmental savings for the waste management system. Since recovered energy may be utilised by only a few energy grids or industrial users, it is recommended to perform additional local assessments of the integration of the waste energy into existing systems and facilities.