<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Another waste treatment alternative, mechanical biological treatment (MBT), is not common in the United States. However, this alternative is widely used in Europe. During implementation of this method, waste material is subjected to a combination of mechanical and biological operations that reduce volume through the degradation of organic fractions in the waste. Mechanical operations such as sorting, shredding, and crushing prepare the waste for subsequent biological treatment, consisting of either aerobic composting or anaerobic digestion. Following the biological processes, the reduced waste mass may be subjected to incineration.


Waste degradation not only produces useful solid end-products (such as compost), degradation by-products can also be used as a beneficial energy source. As discussed above, anaerobic digestion of waste can generate biogas, which can be captured and incorporated into electricity generation. Alternatively, waste can be directly incinerated to produce energy. Incineration consists of waste combustion at very high temperatures to produce electrical energy. The byproduct of incineration is ash, which requires proper characterization prior to disposal, or in some cases, beneficial re-use. While public perception of incineration can be negative, this is often based reactions to older, less efficient technologies. New incinerators are cleaner, more flexible and efficient, and are an excellent means to convert waste to energy    while reducing the volume of waste. Incineration can also offset fossil fuel use and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions ( Bogner et al., 2007 ). It is widely used in developed countries due to landfill space limitations. It is estimated that about 130 million tons of waste are annually combusted in more than 600 plants in 35 countries. Further, incineration is often used to effectively mitigate hazardous wastes such as chlorinated hydrocarbons, oils, solvents, medical wastes, and pesticides.

Despite all these advantages, incineration is often viewed negatively because of the resulting air emissions, the creation of daughter chemical compounds, and production of ash, which is commonly toxic. Currently, many 'next generation" systems are being researched and developed, and the USEPA is developing new regulations to carefully monitor incinerator air emissions under the Clean Air Act .

Landfill disposal

Despite advances in reuse and recycling, landfill disposal remains the primary waste disposal method in the United States. As previously mentioned, the rate of MSW generation continues to increase, but overall landfill capacity is decreasing. New regulations concerning proper waste disposal and the use of innovative liner systems to minimize the potential of groundwater contamination from leachate infiltration and migration have resulted in a substantial increase in the costs of landfill disposal. Also, public opposition to landfills continues to grow, partially inspired by memories of historic uncontrolled dumping practices the resulting undesirable side effects of uncontrolled vectors, contaminated groundwater, unmitigated odors, and subsequent diminished property values.

Questions & Answers

what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
Jobilize.com Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Sustainability: a comprehensive foundation. OpenStax CNX. Nov 11, 2013 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11325/1.43
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Sustainability: a comprehensive foundation' conversation and receive update notifications?