Publications related to the Earth Engineering Center of Columbia University published over the past years related to our WTERT organization.
The 17th Nationwide Survey of MSW Management in the U.S.
A joint study by BioCycle Magazine and the Earth Engineering Center of Columbia University
Latest national data on municipal solid waste management find estimated generation is 389.5 million tons in 2008 — 69 percent landfilled, 24 percent recycled and composted, and 7 percent combusted via waste-to-energy.Read Full Article
Disposal of municipal solid waste in sanitary landfills is still the main waste management method in the Attica region, as in most regions of Greece. Nevertheless, diversion from landfilling is being promoted by regional plans, in which the perspectives of new waste treatment technologies are being evaluated. The present study aimed to assess the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions impact of different municipal solid waste treatment technologies currently under assessment in the new regional plan for Attica.Download Publication (pdf)
According to the State of Garbage, in 2006, forty-six of the fifty states reported tonnage data for “recycled” (composted or mulched) organics, including yard trimmings and food residuals, and/or wood (non-C&D). The total tonnage of organics composted or mulched was 20,368,139 tons in 2006 . This amount represented 5% of estimated Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) generated in the U.S. (387 million tons).Download Publication (pdf)
Use of Statistical Entropy and Life Cycle Analysis to Evaluate Global Warming Potential of Waste Management Systems
The statistical entropy (SE) function has been applied to waste treatment systems to account for dilution or concentration effects on metals. We later extended it to account for carbon flows, especially in waste management systems involving thermal treatment. Now, a simple lifecycle “net energy” metric – encompassing the “lost energy” that would have been gained when high-calorific materials are landfilled rather than combusted with energy recovery – is introduced to account for additional influxes of carbon when using landfilling as the primary disposal method. When combining net energy calculations and long terms effects of landfilling, waste to energy (WTE) becomes a more attractive option for dealing with non-recycled municipal solid waste (MSW). A greenhouse gasforcing factor is also introduced to account for the entropy generating effects of methane. When incorporating forcing and lost energy, WTE performs notably better than landfills with respect to entropy generation and carbon.Download Publication (pdf)
The city of Mumbai (Bombay), India is facing a solid waste management crisis. The infrastructure has been unable to keep pace with economic development and population growth, resulting in insufficient collection of municipal solid waste (MSW) and over-burdened dumps. Improper disposal of solid wastes over several decades and open burning of garbage have led to serious environmental pollution and health problems. This study examined the solid waste management process in Mumbai and the potential for implementation of waste-to-energy facilities.Download Publication (pdf)
A 2007 WTERT survey showed that the global waste-to-energy capacity (WTE) increased in the period 2001-2007 by about 4 million metric tons per annum. By far, the principal technology used globally for energy recovery from municipal solid wastes is combustion of “as received” MSW on moving grates (“mass burn” or stocker technology). This paper also includes a brief report on the results of a study by WTERT on ways to increase beneficial uses of WTE ash in the U.S.Download Publication (pdf)