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Journal: Waste management (New York, N.Y.)


Twenty-five comparative cycle assessments (LCAs) addressing food waste treatment were reviewed, including the treatment alternatives landfill, thermal treatment, compost (small and large scale) and anaerobic digestion. The global warming potential related to these treatment alternatives varies largely amongst the studies. Large differences in relation to setting of system boundaries, methodological choices and variations in used input data were seen between the studies. Also, a number of internal contradictions were identified, many times resulting in biased comparisons between alternatives. Thus, noticed differences in global warming potential are not found to be a result of actual differences in the environmental impacts from studied systems, but rather to differences in the performance of the study. A number of key issues with high impact on the overall global warming potential from different treatment alternatives for food waste were identified through the use of one-way sensitivity analyses in relation to a previously performed LCA of food waste management. Assumptions related to characteristics in treated waste, losses and emissions of carbon, nutrients and other compounds during the collection, storage and pretreatment, potential energy recovery through combustion, emissions from composting, emissions from storage and land use of bio-fertilizers and chemical fertilizers and eco-profiles of substituted goods were all identified as highly relevant for the outcomes of this type of comparisons. As the use of LCA in this area is likely to increase in coming years, it is highly relevant to establish more detailed guidelines within this field in order to increase both the general quality in assessments as well as the potentials for cross-study comparisons.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Anaerobic digestion, Waste management, Potential energy, Methane, Compost, Mechanical biological treatment, Composting


Based on a recent survey of German composting plants an evaluation of costs and benefits of composting was attempted. In this regard, several economical, ecological and legal aspects and some interrelations are discussed in this paper. A special emphasis is placed on the fees and compost prices of composting plants. It is also shown how the legal framework provides the economic basis for composting in Germany, how economical and ecological costs and benefits could be assessed, and why it is so difficult to determine the value of composting.

Concepts: Cost, Investment, Social sciences, Sustainability, Extinction, Ecological economics, Economy, Economic system


A landfill reclamation project was considered to recover landfill airspace and soil, reduce future groundwater impacts by removing the waste buried in the unlined area, and optimize airspace use at the site. A phased approach was utilized to evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of the reclamation project; based on the results of these evaluations, approximately 6.8ha of the unlined cells were reclaimed. Approximately 371,000 in-place cubic meters of waste was mined from 6.8ha in this project. Approximately 230,600 cubic meters of net airspace was recovered due to beneficial use of the recovered final cover soil and reclaimed soil as intermediate and daily cover soil, respectively, for the current landfill operations. This paper presents the researchers' landfill reclamation project experience, including a summary of activities pertaining to reclamation operations, an estimation of reclamation rates achieved during the project, project costs and benefits, and estimated composition of the reclaimed materials.

Concepts: Soil, Waste management, Estimation, Recycling, Landfill, Land reclamation, Waste picker, Daily cover


Anaerobic digestion of residual materials from animals and crops offers an opportunity to simultaneously produce bioenergy and plant fertilizers at single farms and in farm communities where input substrate materials and resulting digested residues are shared among member farms. A surplus benefit from this practice may be the suppressing of propagules from harmful biological pests like weeds and animal pathogens (e.g. parasites). In the present work, batch experiments were performed, where survival of seeds of seven species of weeds and non-embryonated eggs of the large roundworm of pigs, Ascaris suum, was assessed under conditions similar to biogas plants managed at meso- (37°C) and thermophilic (55°C) conditions. Cattle manure was used as digestion substrate and experimental units were sampled destructively over time. Regarding weed seeds, the effect of thermophilic conditions (55°C) was very clear as complete mortality, irrespective of weed species, was reached after less than 2 days. At mesophilic conditions, seeds of Avena fatua, Sinapsis arvensis, Solidago canadensis had completely lost germination ability, while Brassica napus, Fallopia convolvulus and Amzinckia micrantha still maintained low levels (∼1%) of germination ability after 1 week. Chenopodium album was the only weed species which survived 1 week at substantial levels (7%) although after 11d germination ability was totally lost. Similarly, at 55°C, no Ascaris eggs survived more than 3h of incubation. Incubation at 37°C did not affect egg survival during the first 48h and it took up to 10days before total elimination was reached. In general, anaerobic digestion in biogas plants seems an efficient way (thermophilic more efficient than mesophilic) to treat organic farm wastes in a way that suppresses animal parasites and weeds so that the digestates can be applied without risking spread of these pests.

Concepts: Archaea, Plant, Anaerobic digestion, Biogas, Sintex Digester, Manure, Thermophile, Mesophile


Research was conducted to determine suitable chemical parameters as indicators of odor from decomposing food wastes. Prepared food scraps were stored in 18l plastic buckets (2kg wet weight each) at 20°C and 8°C to reproduce high and low temperature conditions. After 1, 3, 7, 10 and 14days of storage, the odor from the buckets were marked to an intensity scale of 0 (no odor) to 5 (intense) and the corresponding leachate analyzed for volatile fatty acids, ammonia and total organic carbon. A linear relationship between odor intensity and the measured parameter indicates a suitable odor indicator. Odor intensified with longer storage period and warmer surroundings. The study found ammonia and isovaleric acid to be promising odor indicators. For this food waste mixture, offensive odors were emitted if the ammonia and isovaleric acid contents exceeded 360mg/l and 940mg/l, respectively.

Concepts: Oxygen, Carbon dioxide, Acid, Hydrogen, Odor, Bicarbonate, PH indicator, Waste


The transformation and transfer of nitrogen during the aerobic treatment of seven wastes were studied in ventilated air-tight 10-L reactors at 35°C. Studied wastes included distinct types of organic wastes and their digestates. Ammonia emissions varied depending on the kind of waste and treatment conditions. These emissions accounted for 2-43% of the initial nitrogen. Total nitrogen losses, which resulted mainly from ammonia emissions and nitrification-denitrification, accounted for 1-76% of the initial nitrogen. Ammonification was the main process responsible for nitrogen losses. An equation which allows estimating the ammonification flow of each type of waste according to its biodegradable carbon and carbon/nitrogen ratio was proposed. As a consequence of the lower contribution of storage and leachate rates, stripping and nitrification rates of ammonia nitrogen were negatively correlated. This observation suggests the possibility of promotingnitrification in order to reduce ammonia emissions.

Concepts: Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Waste, Biodegradable waste, Hazardous waste, Nitrification, Commercial waste


Separation of waste printed circuit boards (WPCBs) has been a bottleneck in WPCBs resource processing. In this study, the separation of WPCBs was performed using dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) as a solvent. Various parameters, which included solid to liquid ratio, temperature, WPCB sizes, and time, were studied to understand the separation of WPCBs by dissolving bromine epoxy resin using DMSO. Experimental results showed that the concentration of dissolving the bromine epoxy resin increased with increasing various parameters. The optimum condition of complete separation of WPCBs was solid to liquid ratio of 1:7 and WPCB sizes of 16mm(2) at 145°C for 60min. The used DMSO was vapored under the decompression, which obtained the regenerated DMSO and dissolved bromine epoxy resin. This clean and non-polluting technology offers a new way to separate valuable materials from WPCBs and prevent the environmental pollution of waste printed circuit boards effectively.

Concepts: Dimethyl sulfoxide, Printed circuit board, FR-4, Breadboard, Electronic engineering, Via


In this study, a method which is environmentally sound, time and energy efficient has been used for recovery of indium from used liquid crystal display (LCD) panels. In this method, indium tin oxide (ITO) glass was crushed to micron size particles in seconds via high energy ball milling (HEBM). The parameters affecting the amount of dissolved indium such as milling time, particle size, effect time of acid solution, amount of HCl in the acid solution were tried to be optimized. The results show that by crushing ITO glass to micron size particles by HEBM, it is possible to extract higher amount of indium at room temperature than that by conventional methods using only conventional shredding machines. In this study, 86% of indium which exists in raw materials was recovered about in a very short time.

Concepts: Liquid, Indium tin oxide, Display resolution, Liquid crystal display, Indium(III) oxide, Indium, Liquid crystal, Display technology


Particle size may significantly affect the speed and stability of anaerobic digestion, and matching the choice of particle size reduction equipment to digester type can thus determine the success or failure of the process. In the current research the organic fraction of municipal solid waste was processed using a combination of a shear shredder, rotary cutter and wet macerator to produce streams with different particle size distributions. The pre-processed waste was used in trials in semi-continuous ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ digesters at organic loading rate (OLR) up to 6kg volatile solids (VS) m(-3)day(-1). The results indicated that while difference in the particle size distribution did not change the specific biogas yield, the digester performance was affected. In the ‘dry’ digesters the finer particle size led to acidification and ultimately to process failure at the highest OLR. In ‘wet’ digestion a fine particle size led to severe foaming and the process could not be operated above 5kgVSm(-3)day(-1). Although the trial was not designed as a direct comparison between ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ digestion, the specific biogas yield of the ‘dry’ digesters was 90% of that produced by ‘wet’ digesters fed on the same waste at the same OLR.

Concepts: Anaerobic digestion, Waste management, Particle size distribution, Biogas, Sintex Digester, Hydrogen sulfide


Used batteries contain numerous metals in high concentrations and if not disposed of with proper care, they can negatively affect our environment. These metals represent 83% of all spent batteries and therefore it is important to recover metals such as Zn and Mn, and reuse them for the production of new batteries. The recovery of Zn and Mn from used batteries, in particular from Zn-C and alkaline ones has been researched using hydrometallurgical methods. After comminution and classification of elemental components, the electrode paste resulting from these processes was treated by chemical leaching. Prior to the leaching process the electrode paste has been subjected to two washing steps, in order to remove the potassium, which is an inconvenient element in this type of processes. To simultaneously extract Zn and Mn from this paste, the leaching method in alkaline medium (NaOH solution) and acid medium (sulphuric acid solution) was used. Also, to determine the efficiency of extraction of Zn and Mn from used batteries, the following variables were studied: reagents concentration, S/L ratio, temperature, time. The best results for extraction yield of Zn and Mn were obtained under acid leaching conditions (2M H(2)SO(4), 1h, 80°C).

Concepts: Concentration, Chemistry, Chemical element, Zinc, Sodium hydroxide, Sulfuric acid, Manganese, Hydrometallurgy