Curated Session: Resource Management and Waste Diversion
Evaluating the Impact on Waste Management caused by the Changing Waste Stream Composition
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
16:00 – 18:00
Solid waste management, and in particular sanitary landfilling, is being impacted by changes to waste composition. One notable change is an overall decrease in tonnage. Reasons for the reduced quantity may be attributed to factors such as: increased diversion of recyclables, increased diversion of vegetative organics, evolving diversion of food waste, changes to packaging, expansion of fresh organic foods lifestyle, expansion of fitness lifestyles, as well as other generational life choices. These changes are manifested in the continued reduction in waste requiring land disposal, a trend that began with the economic downturn of 2009-2010; current generation quantities have not fully recovered from the downturn.
While this description relates to the traditional composition of waste requiring landfilling, other societal factors are also changing material composition.
- Oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) using hydraulic fracturing methods (fracking) generates E&P drilling waste that requires disposal. Often this material is disposed of at existing landfills, necessitating re-evaluation of design criteria such as slope stability.
- The elimination of coal combustion residual (CCR) impoundments has resulted in additional coal ash being diverted to landfills.
- The European Union has mostly banned organics from landfills which changes the landfilling practices throughout that sector.
We will discuss the following topics:
- Changes in quantity and composition of U.S. MSW
- Potential impact of landfill gas generation caused by organic diversion from the landfill
- Stability issues that should be considered with waste composition changes, specifically E&P waste and other high moisture content “special” wastes during co-disposal
- Problems in international areas with landfill failures (Asia, South America, and Africa) and what can be done to prevent the problems
- The operational changes necessitated by organic diversion and its impact on a “sustainable resource management center” model