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Concept: Waste collection


Urban waste impacts human and environmental health, and waste management has become one of the major challenges of humanity. Concurrently with new directives due to manage this human by-product, illegal dumping has become one of the most lucrative activities of organized crime. Beyond economic fraud, illegal waste disposal strongly enhances uncontrolled dissemination of human pathogens, pollutants and invasive species. Here, we demonstrate the potential of novel real-time GPS tracking of scavenging species to detect environmental crime. Specifically, we were able to detect illegal activities at an officially closed dump, which was visited recurrently by 5 of 19 GPS-tracked yellow-legged gulls (Larus michahellis). In comparison with conventional land-based surveys, GPS tracking allows a much wider and cost-efficient spatiotemporal coverage, even of the most hazardous sites, while GPS data accessibility through the internet enables rapid intervention. Our results suggest that multi-species guilds of feathered detectives equipped with GPS and cameras could help fight illegal dumping at continental scales. We encourage further experimental studies, to infer waste detection thresholds in gulls and other scavenging species exploiting human waste dumps.

Concepts: Waste management, Recycling, Waste, Waste collection, Gull, Larus, Herring Gull, Yellow-legged Gull


Municipal solid waste management is a multidisciplinary activity that includes generation, source separation, storage, collection, transfer and transport, processing and recovery, and, last but not least, disposal. The optimization of waste collection, through source separation, is compulsory where a landfill based management must be overcome. In this paper, a few aspects related to the implementation of a Web-GIS based system are analyzed. This approach is critically analyzed referring to the experience of two Italian case studies and two additional extra-European case studies. The first case is one of the best examples of selective collection optimization in Italy. The obtained efficiency is very high: 80% of waste is source separated for recycling purposes. In the second reference case, the local administration is going to be faced with the optimization of waste collection through Web-GIS oriented technologies for the first time. The starting scenario is far from an optimized management of municipal solid waste. The last two case studies concern pilot experiences in China and Malaysia. Each step of the Web-GIS oriented strategy is comparatively discussed referring to typical scenarios of developed and transient economies. The main result is that transient economies are ready to move toward Web oriented tools for MSW management, but this opportunity is not yet well exploited in the sector.

Concepts: Waste management, Recycling, Waste-to-energy, Waste, Waste collection


This study presents environmental air samples collected at a US military installation with a solid waste disposal facility (SWDF) containing a burn pit from 2005 through 2012 and compared these results with occupational (breathing zone) samples.

Concepts: Waste management, Recycling, Waste-to-energy, Waste, Biodegradable waste, Thermal treatment, Waste collection, Bagram Air Base


Currently, use and disposal of plastic by consumers through waste management activities in Ghana not only creates environmental problems, but also reinforces the notion of a wasteful society. The magnitude of this problem has led to increasing pressure from the public for efficient and practical measures to solve the waste problem. This paper analyses the impact of plastic use and disposal in Ghana. It emphasizes the need for commitment to proper management of the impacts of plastic waste and effective environmental management in the country. Sustainable Solid Waste Management (SSWM) is a critical problem for developing countries with regards to climate change and greenhouse gas emission, and also the general wellbeing of the populace. Key themes of this paper are producer responsibility and management of products at end of life. The paper proposes two theatrical recovery models that can be used to address the issue of sachet waste in Ghana.

Concepts: Environment, Climate change, Waste management, Recycling, Greenhouse gas, Waste-to-energy, Waste, Waste collection


Molecular switches and machines that are powered by acid-base reactions are susceptible to low switching cycles because of the concomitant formation of waste products during their operation. Here, we demonstrate the fast, efficient, and reversible modulation of a hydrazone switch in methanol using a visible-light activated photoacid, with no generation of side products, high conversion rates (>95%), and no loss of activity over 100 cycles. TEG functionalization of the hydrazone switch allows for the process to be carried with high conversion (>90%) in water as well.

Concepts: Molecule, Atom, Management, Waste management, Recycling, Waste, Waste collection


Plastic flexible films are increasingly used in many applications due to their lightness and versatility. In 2014, the amount of plastic films represented 34% of total plastic packaging produced in UK. The flexible film waste generation rises according to the increase in number of applications. Currently, in developed countries, about 50% of plastics in domestic waste are films. Moreover, about 615,000 tonnes of agricultural flexible waste are generated in the EU every year. A review of plastic films recycling has been conducted in order to detect the shortcomings and establish guidelines for future research. This paper reviews plastic films waste management technologies from two different sources: post-industrial and post-consumer. Clean and homogeneous post-industrial waste is recycled through closed-loop or open-loop mechanical processes. The main differences between these methods are the quality and the application of the recycled materials. Further research should be focused on closing the loops to obtain the highest environmental benefits of recycling. This could be accomplished through minimizing the material degradation during mechanical processes. Regarding post-consumer waste, flexible films from agricultural and packaging sectors have been assessed. The agricultural films and commercial and industrial flexible packaging are recycled through open-loop mechanical recycling due to existing selective waste collection routes. Nevertheless, the contamination from the use phase adversely affects the quality of recycled plastics. Therefore, upgrading of current washing lines is required. On the other hand, household flexible packaging shows the lowest recycling rates mainly because of inefficient sorting technologies. Delamination and compatibilization methods should be further developed to ensure the recycling of multilayer films. Finally, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies on waste management have been reviewed. A lack of thorough LCA on plastic films waste management systems was identified.

Concepts: European Union, Waste management, Recycling, Waste, Resin identification code, Life cycle assessment, Waste collection, Design for X


Public festivals and events generate a tremendous amount of waste, especially when they involve food and drink. To reduce contamination across waste streams, we evaluated three types of interventions at a public event. In a randomized control trial, we examined the impact of volunteer staff assistance, bin tops, and sample 3D items with bin tops, on the amount of contamination and the weight of the organics, recyclable containers, paper, and garbage bins at a public event. The event was the annual Apple Festival held at the University of British Columbia, which was attended by around 10,000 visitors. We found that contamination was the lowest in the volunteer staff condition among all conditions. Specifically, volunteer staff reduced contamination by 96.1% on average in the organics bin, 96.9% in the recyclable containers bin, 97.0% in the paper bin, and 84.9% in the garbage bin. Our interventions did not influence the weight of the materials in the bins. This finding highlights the impact of volunteers on reducing contamination in waste streams at events, and provides suggestions and implications for waste management for event organizers to minimize contamination in all waste streams to achieve zero waste goals.

Concepts: Randomized controlled trial, Waste management, Reducing agent, Recycling, Waste, Waste picker, Waste collection, Festival


As waste management regulations become more stringent, yet demand for resources continues to increase, there is a pressing need for innovative management techniques and more sophisticated supporting analysis techniques. Sequential extraction (SE) analysis, a technique previously applied to soils and sediments, offers the potential to gain a better understanding of the composition of solid wastes. SE attempts to classify potentially toxic elements (PTEs) by their associations with phases or fractions in waste, with the aim of improving resource use and reducing negative environmental impacts. In this review we explain how SE can be applied to steel wastes. These present challenges due to differences in sample characteristics compared with materials to which SE has been traditionally applied, specifically chemical composition, particle size and pH buffering capacity, which are critical when identifying a suitable SE method. We highlight the importance of delineating iron-rich phases, and find that the commonly applied BCR (The community Bureau of reference) extraction method is problematic due to difficulties with zinc speciation (a critical steel waste constituent), hence a substantially modified SEP is necessary to deal with particular characteristics of steel wastes. Successful development of SE for steel wastes could have wider implications, e.g., for the sustainable management of fly ash and mining wastes.

Concepts: Scientific method, Soil, Zinc, Waste management, Buffer solution, Recycling, Waste, Waste collection


This paper focuses on the realization of an Internet of Things (IoT) architecture to optimize waste management in the context of Smart Cities. In particular, a novel typology of sensor node based on the use of low cost and low power components is described. This node is provided with a single-chip microcontroller, a sensor able to measure the filling level of trash bins using ultrasounds and a data transmission module based on the LoRa LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) technology. Together with the node, a minimal network architecture was designed, based on a LoRa gateway, with the purpose of testing the IoT node performances. Especially, the paper analyzes in detail the node architecture, focusing on the energy saving technologies and policies, with the purpose of extending the batteries lifetime by reducing power consumption, through hardware and software optimization. Tests on sensor and radio module effectiveness are also presented.

Concepts: Waste management, Robert Duvall, Computer network, Optimization, Recycling, Waste, Waste collection, Computer networking


Swedish legislation makes municipalities responsible for recycling or disposing of household waste. Municipalities therefore play an important role in achieving Sweden’s increased levels of ambition in the waste management area and in achieving the goal of a more circular economy. This paper studies how two municipal policy instruments - weight-based waste tariffs and special systems for the collection of food waste - affect the collected volumes of different types of waste. We find that a system of collecting food waste separately is more effective overall than imposing weight-based waste tariffs in respect not only of reducing the amounts of waste destined for incineration, but also of increasing materials recycling and biological recovery, despite the fact that the direct incentive effects of these two systems should be similar. Separate food waste collection was associated with increased recycling not only of food waste but also of other waste. Introducing separate food waste collection indirectly signals to households that recycling is important and desirable, and our results suggest that this signalling effect may be as important as direct incentive effects.

Concepts: Effect, Effectiveness, Sweden, Waste management, Recycling, Waste, Biodegradable waste, Waste collection