Decomposition of major organic components during mechanical-biological pretreatment of residual municipal solid waste
Landfilling of untreated municipal solid waste (MSW) generates environmentally hazardous gas and leachate emissions (El-Fadel et al., 1997). The aim of mechanical-biological waste pretreatment (MBP) is to anticipate this process in a controlled system and to avoid later emissions in the landfill (Leikam and Stegmann, 1997). Main source of these emissions is the microbial metabolism of the easily degradable organic waste compounds, i.e. carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids. The focus of our study was to elucidate the behaviour of these constituents, together with the more recalcitrant compounds lignin and plastics, in the course of different mechanical-biological pretreatments by degradative (wet-chemical) and non-degradative (NMR-spectroscopic) methods. From the composition of organic matter after MBP, conclusions will be drawn with regard to the remaining landfill emission potential.