Practices of Solid Waste Processing and Disposal

Document Type

Contribution to Books

Publication Date


Publication Title

Handbook of Environmental Engineering: Solid Waste Engineering and Management: Volume 1


Around the world, the amount of waste generated has been steadily increasing. The composition of municipal solid waste (MSW) varies significantly between municipalities and countries. This variation is influenced by various factors like lifestyle, economics, waste management laws, and industrial structure. Waste control is usually handled by municipalities. They must have a system that is both reliable and usable for the residents. Nonetheless, they are often confronted with various issues beyond the municipal authority’s capacity to manage MSW. Additionally, a lack of understanding, particularly regarding the quantity, characteristics, calorific value, and generation rate of MSW, can further cause impractical solid waste treatment and final disposal strategies. As a result, most developed countries would have much better solid waste management efficiency than developing countries due to the lack of these data. Apart from the complexity of MSW, the composition of e-waste is well known to be complex and varies by product type. It is made up of over a thousand different compounds classified as hazardous or nonhazardous that would increase treatment and disposal challenges when mixed with MSW. Solid waste processing and treatment before disposals, such as bioconversion (composting, vermicomposting, anaerobic digestion, and fermentation) and thermal conversion (incineration either with or without energy recovery, pyrolysis, and gasification), have demonstrated an environmental and economic benefit from waste material. An incinerator can be used for both concepts in MSW management, either processing or disposal of solid waste. Regardless of the incinerator’s construction or intended use, the by-product of the incinerator must eventually be disposed of in a landfill. Landfilling is regarded as an effective method of waste management. Despite its benefits in terms of resolving solid waste problems, there are several environmental concerns. Furthermore, landfills can only accommodate for a certain amount of time, and landfill reclamation can take many decades. Each method of solid waste processing, treatment, and disposal has several advantages and disadvantages.