This report provides data for use in evaluating the proven technologies and combinations of technologies that might be considered for managing municipal solid waste (MSW). It covers five major methods for MSW management in common use today:

It also provides information on three MSW management technologies that are not widely used at present:

To the extent possible with available reliable data, the report presents information for each proven MSW technology on: In addition to data about individual operations, the report presents net energy balances and inventories of environmental releases from selected combined MSW management strategies that use two or more separate operations.

The scope of the report extends from the waste's origin (defined as the point at which the waste is set out for collection), through transportation and processing operations, to its final disposition (e.g., recycling and remanufacturing, combustion, or landfilling operations). Data for all operations are presented on a consistent basis: one (1) ton of municipal (i.e., residential, commercial, and institutional) waste at the collection point. The data provided in tables in this report are also available in a spreadsheet that allows the user to modify the information and to tailor the combination strategies to fit a particular need. In the process of developing the data presented here, one goal was to identify where gaps in the available information exist as a guide to future data collection and research efforts.

Selection of an MSW management plan may be influenced by many factors, in addition to the technical performance and economics of each option. The importance of or emphasis on each of these factors is likely to differ for each jurisdiction. The factors below fall into this category, but were excluded from the scope of this report:

The MSW technologies covered in this report do not exhaust the plausible components of waste management strategies. For example, many communities have initiated efforts to decrease the amount of waste that must be handled by promoting source reduction and waste minimization, including backyard composting, but data on those programs are not analyzed here.



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