Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Processing


Municipal solid waste (MSW), also known as trash or garbage, is non-hazardous refuse generated by households, institutions, hospitals, and businesses.

It comprises waste, compostable materials, and recyclable materials, with the municipality overseeing its disposal.

Typically, this refuse is collected, separated, and sent to either a landfill or a municipal recycling center for processing.

In some cases, what is defined by a community as municipal solid waste will vary by jurisdiction.

Definition of municipal solid waste = All types of solid waste generated by households and commercial establishments and collected usually by local government bodies.

 Municipal solid waste consists of:

  • household domestic waste that is set aside for collection or delivered by the householder directly to the waste facility,
  • other types of domestic waste (e.g., domestic clean-up, furniture, and residential garden waste),
  • local council generated waste (e.g., waste from street sweeping, litter bins, and parks),
  • commercial waste generated from food preparation premises, supermarkets, etc.).

The combined residential and commercial solid waste generated in an area can also be an MSW definition. MSW includes paper, cans, bottles, food scraps, yard waste, and other items.

Recently, the importance of alternative energy sources has become increasingly apparent, with landfills reaching capacity.

MSW consists of everyday items like glass, plastics, metals, textiles, organics, and paper.

The material mix of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) varies per country and, in some cases, even per community.

This mix contains many valuable products, compost, and high calorific materials (refuse-derived fuel / RDF) that, once separated by mechanical treatment or degraded by biological treatment, offer a broad range of new resources.

RDF (refuse-derived fuel) exploits the traditional household waste (MSW) energy content to substitute conventional fuels, thus posing an alternative.

MSW recycling is attractive, both environmentally and economically.

However, before the waste can be used as fuel, it must be sorted, and volume reduced into a homogenous fraction size.

MSW management consists of 4 components:

  • Disposal
  • Composting
  • Waste-to-energy
  • Recycling

It is crucial to monitor MSW collection and record the information about collection time, area, and other related data from a central location.

Municipal solid waste management covers the activities and actions required to manage MSW from collection to its final disposal.

Municipal Solid Waste recycling systems employ a variety of different pieces of equipment to quickly and reliably sort materials, including the following:

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