Report: Advanced thermal treatment of municipal solid waste

Prepared by Enviros Consulting Limited on behalf of Defra as part of the New Technologies Supporter Programme, 2007

Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) is waste collected by or on behalf of a local authority.  It comprises mostly household waste and it may include some commercial and industrial wastes. Historically, nationally the quantity of MSW has risen year on year1, presenting a growing problem for local authorities particularly as legislation, now limits (by implication2) the amount of mixed MSW that can be sent to landfill, becomes more stringent over time.

One of the guiding principles for European and UK waste management has been the concept of a hierarchy of waste management options, where the most desirable option is not to produce the waste in the first place (waste prevention) and the least desirable option is to dispose of the waste to landfill with no recovery of either materials and/or energy. Between these two extremes there are a wide variety of waste treatment options that may be used as part of a waste management strategy to recover materials (for example furniture reuse, glass recycling or organic waste composting) or generate energy from the wastes (for example through incineration, or digesting biodegradable wastes to produce usable gases). 

This guide is designed to be read in conjunction with the other Waste Management Technology Briefs in this series and with the case studies provided on Waste Technology Data Centre. Other relevant sources of information are identified throughout the document.

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