Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Waste management & research : the journal of the International Solid Wastes and Public Cleansing Association, ISWA


Geosynthetic clay liners (GCLs) have gained popularity as a barrier system in modern landfill construction. As such, it is depended upon to provide a level of impermeability to prevent the escape of contaminants into the surrounding soil and groundwater. It has been proven that a GCL’s hydraulic conductivity is closely related to its moisture content. GCLs are known to absorb moisture from the underlying soil after installation. In a landfill, temperatures near the liner can reach upwards of 55ºC. The effect of these elevated temperatures on the hydration process of the GCL was determined for two types of GCL over two types of subsoil: sand and clay. It was found that elevated temperatures prevented the GCL from reaching moisture content levels that would be acceptable in a real-life scenario. Temperatures in landfills could be expected to cause a GCL to reach a moisture equilibrium at roughly 16% gravimetric moisture content, where GCL at room temperature would reach higher than 100% gravimetric moisture content. The significant difference in moisture equilibrium of GCLs at different temperatures may suggest that the heat naturally produced in landfills could negatively affect the liner’s hydraulic performance. The importance of allowing a GCL to properly hydrate before heat exposure must be better understood in order to minimize the potential negative effect of a landfill on our environment and our livelihood. This study also confirmed that the hydration potential of GCL depends on the method of GCL manufacture and the subsoil characteristics.

Concepts: Soil, Temperature, Thermodynamics, Hydrology, Aquifer, Pollution, Landfill, Daily cover


Digested sewage sludge gasification in supercritical water was studied. Influences of main reaction parameters, including temperature (623-698 K), pressure (25-35 Mpa), residence time (10-15 min) and dry matter content (5-25 wt%), were investigated to optimize the gasification process. The main gas products were methane, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and traces of ethene, etc. Results showed that 10 wt% dry matter content digested sewage sludge at a temperature of 698 K and residence time of 50 min, with a pressure of 25 MPa, were the most favorable conditions for the sewage sludge gasification and carbon gasification efficiencies. In addition, potassium carbonate (K(2)CO(3)) was also employed as the catalyst to make a comparison between gasification with and without catalyst. When 2.6 g K(2)CO(3) was added, a gasification efficiency of 25.26% and a carbon gasification efficiency of 20.02% were achieved, which were almost four times as much as the efficiencies without catalyst. K(2)CO(3) has been proved to be effective in sewage sludge gasification.

Concepts: Oxygen, Carbon dioxide, Hydrogen, Carbon, Carbon monoxide, Gas, Methane, Gasification


Waste reduction and recycling at the city level will acquire greater significance in the near future due to rising global volumes of waste. This paper seeks to identify policy-relevant drivers for successful promotion of waste reduction and recycling. Factors influencing the success of waste reduction and recycling campaigns are identified. Two case study cities in Japan which depict the successful use of the 3Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle) at the municipal level are presented. In these cases, the existence of incinerators, which are generally considered as disincentives for recycling, was not functioning as a disincentive but rather as an incentive for waste reduction. Owing to the high cost of incineration facilities, the movement to close incinerators has become a strong incentive for waste reduction and recycling in these two cities. The study suggests that careful consideration is necessary when making decisions concerning high-cost waste treatment facilities with high installation, maintenance and renewal outlays. In addition, intensive source separation and other municipal recycling initiatives have a high potential for producing positive results.

Concepts: City, Japan, Waste management, Reuse, Recycling, Incineration, Waste hierarchy, Waste treatment technology


The role of the moisture content and particle size (PS) on the disintegration of complex organic matter during the wet anaerobic digestion (AD) process was investigated. A range of total solids (TS) from 5% to 11.3% and PS from 0.25 to 15 mm was evaluated using carrot waste as model complex organic matter. The experimental results showed that the methane production rate decreased with higher TS and PS. A modified version of the AD model no.1 for complex organic substrates was used to model the experimental data. The simulations showed a decrease of the disintegration rate constants with increasing TS and PS. The results of the biomethanation tests were used to calibrate and validate the applied model. In particular, the values of the disintegration constant for various TS and PS were determined. The simulations showed good agreement between the numerical and observed data.

Concepts: Particle physics, Philosophy of science, Anaerobic digestion, Waste management, Biogas, Methane, Standard Model, Methanogenesis


Brazil has a large population with a high waste generation. The municipal solid waste (MSW) generated is deposited mainly in landfills. However, a considerable fraction of the waste is still improperly disposed of in dumpsters. In order to overcome this inadequate deposition, it is necessary to seek alternative routes. Between these alternatives, it is possible to quote gasification and incineration. The objective of this study is to compare, from an energetic and economic point of view, these technologies, aiming at their possible implementation in Brazilian cities. A total of two configurations were evaluated: (i) waste incineration with energy recovery and electricity production in a steam cycle; and (ii) waste gasification, where the syngas produced is used as fuel in a boiler of a steam cycle for electricity production. Simulations were performed assuming the same amount of available waste for both configurations, with a composition corresponding to the MSW from Santo André, Brazil. The thermal efficiencies of the gasification and incineration configurations were 19.3% and 25.1%, respectively. The difference in the efficiencies was caused by the irreversibilities associated with the gasification process, and the additional electricity consumption in the waste treatment step. The economic analysis presented a cost of electrical energy produced of 0.113 (US$ kWh(-1)) and 0.139 (US$ kWh(-1)) for the incineration and gasification plants respectively.

Concepts: Waste management, Recycling, Coal, Incineration, Waste-to-energy, Biodegradable waste, Gasification, Waste treatment technology


The paper investigates various approaches to an environmental policy regarding drinks containers in Georgia. Currently, most of the waste containers are landfilled or pollute the environment through littering, and separate collection and recycling of drinks containers are almost nonexistent. The Association Agreement with the EU, which entered into force in July 2016, stipulates the development of up-to-date waste management activities in this transition country. In accordance with the legal framework, this mini-review proposes an EPR policy for Georgia, based on the waste hierarchy. Various approaches for such an EPR policy are reviewed as regards their feasibility for a transition country, but in particular with regard to incentive compatibility: the policy should guide producers and consumers to comply with the regulations. Some cost estimates demonstrate the financial feasibility of the recommended solution. Practical experiences from Austria, Bulgaria, France and Germany provide a European context.


The Sultanate of Oman faces challenges, like rapid growth of waste generation, which calls for an optimum waste management strategy. Oman has witnessed the production of 1.5m t of municipal solid waste in 2012, which is expected to elevate to 1.89m t in 2030. This rapid increase needs to be tackled to reduce the generation rates along with the environmental impacts. Currently, there are no treatment facilities in Oman other than limited recycling, and therefore dumping waste into the landfill is the only ultimate way to dispose solid waste. Hence, this study is an initiative to improve the waste managing system in Oman by proposing optimum waste-to-energy technology using an analytical hierarchy process, manually and through expect choice software as well. In the present study, the identified important parameters were considered in an analytical hierarchy process model to rank the waste-to-energy technology alternatives. Based on the survey conducted, the most important criteria were environmental and economic, with the local priority vector of 0.400 and 0.277, respectively. This research concludes that the most suitable waste-to-energy technology for Oman, on the basis of the identified criteria, is anaerobic digestion followed by fermentation and incineration, which will help to reduce the amount of waste, greenhouse gas emissions and developing and maintaining costs of landfills.


The concept of materials coming from nature with environmental advantages of being biodegradable and/or biobased (often referred to as bioplastics) is very attractive to the industry and to the consumers. Bioplastics already play an important role in the fields of packaging, agriculture, gastronomy, consumer electronics and automotive, but still they have a very low share in the total production of plastics (currently about 1% of the about 300 million tonnes of plastic produced annually). Biodegradable plastics are often perceived as the possible solution for the waste problem, but biodegradability is just an additional feature of the material to be exploited at the end of its life in specific terms, in the specific disposal environment and in a specific time, which is often forgotten. They should be used as a favoured choice for the applications that demand a cheap way to dispose of the item after it has fulfilled its job (e.g. for food packaging, agriculture or medical products). The mini-review presents the opportunities and future challenges of biodegradable plastics, regarding processing, properties and waste management options.

Concepts: Time, Plastic, Anaerobic digestion, Biodegradation, Bioplastic, Consumer protection, Biodegradable plastic, Biodegradable waste management


Since day one, retailers and consumers have favoured plastic carrier bags. However, owing to the numerous environmental disadvantages, lightweight plastic carrier bags have been drawing the attention of the European Union competent authorities. Therefore, many European Union member states have taken action so as to reduce the use of plastic carrier bags. Based on the existing legislation and voluntary initiatives for the reduction of lightweight plastic carrier bags, the challenges and achieved outcomes from the implemented policy options in the various European Union member states are discussed and commented regarding the forthcoming transposition of the ‘Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste to reduce the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags’ into the European Union member states' national law.

Concepts: European Union, United Kingdom, Member State of the European Union, Slovakia, Malta, Treaty of Lisbon, Poland, Inner Six


Current European waste policy does not mainly aim to treat waste streams but rather place in the foreground of interest the complete supply chain of a product. Waste prevention and re-use do have the highest priority and they take effect before the end-of-life phase of a product or a material is reached. Recycling only takes the third place whereas recovery and disposal represent the least favourable options. Recycling can help to decrease the consumption of primary resources but it does not tackle the causes but only the symptoms. In principle, recycling processes require energy and will generate side streams (i.e. waste). Furthermore, there are insuperable barriers and the practice is far from 100% recycling. The philosophy of waste prevention and re-use is completely different since they really tackle the causes. It is self-evident that a decrease of waste will also decrease the consumption of resources, energy and money to process the waste. However, even if European legislation is proceeding in the right direction, a clear decrease in waste generation did not occur up to now. Unfortunately, waste generation represents a positive factor of economic growth. Basically, waste generation is a huge business and numerous stakeholders are not interested to reduce waste. More sophisticated incentives are required to decouple economic growth from waste generation.

Concepts: European Union, Economics, Waste management, Recycling, Waste, Waste hierarchy, Waste management concepts, Third place