Waste Characterization: Approaches and Methods

A. Lagerkvist, H. Ecke, Thomas Højlund Christensen

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    Characterization of solid waste is usually a difficult task because of the heterogeneity of the waste and its spatial as well as temporal variations. This makes waste characterization costly if good and reliable data with reasonable uncertainty is to be obtained. Therefore, a waste characterization is often narrowly defined to meet specific needs for information. This may however limit the general usefulness of the information gained, for example, if the specific purpose limited the characterization to a subset of variables. In general, data available in the solid waste area are limited and often with limited representation. This chapter describes common approaches and methods in waste characterization including common terms, sampling, characterization methods and data evaluation. The focus is on the characterization of waste as it is generated or collected, while specific issues on characterization related to individual treatment processes and waste products are dealt with in the following chapters: Characteristic data on residential waste (Chapter 2.2), commercial and institutional waste (Chapter 2.3), industrial waste (Chapter 2.4) and construction and demolition waste (Chapter 2.5). If information about waste is required, it is always advisable to check the literature and the internet to see if relevant data is available already. However, in all cases the relevance of the data with respect to cultural, climatic and economical basis as well as the quality and age of the data available must be carefully assessed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSolid Waste Technology and Management
    VolumeVolume 1. Chapter 2.1
    Place of PublicationChichester, West Sussex, UK
    Publication date2011
    ISBN (Print)978-1-405-17517-3
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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