The purpose of this module is to introduce concepts in solid waste management and provide information on all aspects of solid waste management including waste generation, waste characterization, recycling, composting, landfilling and waste-to-energy.  This module provides a broad overview of solid waste management, and can be used as an introduction to the more detailed information in the subsequent modules. Although solid waste sometimes receives limited coverage in undergraduate and graduate environmental engineering and science courses, the solid waste industry is a $39.4 billion dollar industry and current issues in solid waste management focus on timely topics including resource and energy recovery from solid waste. By completing the activities in this module, you will be able to: 

  1. Describe historic trends in per capita waste generation and recycling rates as well as to describe the composition of solid waste.
  2. Understand terminology associated with MSW recycling and compare its advantages and disadvantages.
  3. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of various methods of solid waste disposal including landfills, thermal conversion and composting

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