Characterization of solid waste and determination of the emission potential

Waste samples were taken in order to investigate the material behaviour regarding different treatment/recycling options. In waste incineration, the combustible and inert parts have to be determined. The content of biodegradable organic substances is important in biological treatment. The portion of biodegradable organic substance has also to be considered if wastes are to be landfilled. This portion gives rise to processes leading landfill gas and leachate emissions.

This study evaluates selected research parameters concerning the emissions expected during landfilling of wastes. The potential of emissions is investigated by means of a landfill simulation reactor (LSR) to study the quality waste material at settlement. Representative parameters which can be used for characterising landfill behaviour have to correlate well with the emissions arising from the landfill simulation reactors.

Individual material groups are characterised by employing the following parameters:

Volatile solids = Determination of the total content of an organic substance
Heavy metal content = Determination of the metal load in a solid fraction
Eluate = Determination of the water soluble organic and inorganic components
Respiratory activity = Readily, aerobically biodegradable portion of an organic substance
Gas formation = Readily, anaerobically biodegradable portion of the organic substance

These investigations are classified as:
- abChemical-physical analyses, which are time -non intensive
- abBiological methods of determination, which can take up to several days or weeks to perform.

The reactivity of the individual material during landfilling depends on the contents of the biodegradable substances, i.e. on the biological stability of the waste. The biological parameters are suitable for a direct judgement of the bio-degradability potential, contrary to the chemical parameters which are indirect parameters, non-sensitive/ specific indicators of organic material quality.

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