Municipal Solid Waste: To the Landfill or the Incinerator?

by Nadja Redmond

A global phenomenon is slowly beginning to pick up traction and conversation in the United States: energy recovery through use of waste to energy facilities. WtE, the waste management process that involves generating electricity and/or heat from waste through combustion, is already widely used in Europe. By 2014, Europe had 452 such facilities [], and compared to the United States’ 71, it is no secret there is an ongoing debate on whether WtE facilities are effective or hazardous for the environment and for the communities they inhabit. When the country produces over 250 million tons of municipal solid waste a year [], alternative routes of waste management and energy recovery that utilizes that waste that have proved effective overseas are worth considering. Continue reading

World’s First Bio Plant for Unsorted Household Waste to be Built in the UK

by Jesse Crabtree

Converting household waste into energy is no new feat. Every day, garbage is burned to power steam-turbine generators, and methane gas is recovered from decomposing waste in landfills. But now the Danish energy company DONG is planning the first bio plant that will turn waste into fuel and recyclables without any need for sorting or prior treatment. Continue reading

Landfill Mining as Landfill Remediation in Sweden

by Hilary Haskell

Nonrenewable resource recovery and greenhouse gas emissions reductions make landfill mining both an economically and environmentally attractive landfill remediation option. Per Frändegård et al. (2013) studied the economic feasibility and environmental impact of landfill mining for Swedish municipal waste under mobile and advanced stationary separation plant scenarios. The authors used Monte Carlo sensitivity analysis to assess the effects of uncertain parameters on landfill composition and greenhouse gas mitigation potential. Of Sweden’s thousands of landfills holding more than 350 million tons of material, many are aging and require remediation. The study concludes that landfill mining could prevent emission of 50 million tons of carbon-dioxide equivalents, provide over five years of energy to Sweden’s district heating system, and supply Sweden with 7 million tons of ferrous and 2 million tons of nonferrous metal materials. Continue reading