WTE Guidebook for Latin America and the Caribbean

The Guidebook for the Application of Waste to Energy Technologies in Latin America and the Caribbean, a new Earth Engineering Center major contribution to the WTE literature, was sponsored by InterAmerican Development Bank.


The economic development and growth of urban population in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region have resulted in the generation of an increasing amount of municipal solid waste (MSW) that is surpassing the existing capacity of sanitary landfills. This situation has led governments to evaluate alternative options, such as waste reduction, recycling, and waste-to-energy (WTE), in order to divert the waste stream from landfills.

WTE is a thermal treatment technology with energy recovery, and has become one of the preferred choices in most northern European Countries, Japan, in several cities in the US, and increasingly in China. However, the high investment and operational costs of this technology, and the lack of information and communication with the population regarding the environmental impacts of WTE, have precluded its development in LAC.

The objective of this document is to provide a Technical Guidance Note, aimed at providing basic technological, financial, and environmental information about WTE facilities. It is expected that this Guidance Note will enable policymakers and SWM services managers in LAC to make informed decisions about the feasibility of this treatment option for any specific case. This Guidebook is divided in two parts: Chapters 1 to 6 describe the general aspects of WTE technologies and project development; chapters 7 to 10 present several cases studies of WTE application in the LAC region.

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