Component Composition of Bulky Waste

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Fewer composition data are available for bulky waste than for MSW. Table 10.3.2 shows the potential range of compositions. The first column in the table shows the composition of all bulky waste generated in two adjacent counties in southern New Jersey, including bulky waste reported as recycled. The third column shows the composition of bulky waste disposed in the two counties, and the middle column shows the estimated recycling rate for each bulky waste component based on reported recycling and disposal. Note that the estimated overall recycling rate is almost 80%.

The composition prior to recycling is dramatically different from the composition after recycling. For example, inorganic materials account for roughly three quarters of the bulky waste before recycling but little more than one quarter after recycling. Depending on local recycling practices, the composition of bulky waste received at a disposal facility in the United States could be similar to the first column of Table 10.3.2, similar to the third column, or anywhere in between.

The composition of MSW does not change dramatically from season to season. Even the most variable component, yard waste, may be consistent in areas with mild climates. In areas with cold winters, generation of yard waste generally peaks in the late spring, declines gradually through the summer and fall, and is lowest in January and February. A surge in yard waste can occur in mid to late fall in areas where a large proportion of tree leaves enter the solid waste stream and are not diverted for composting or mulching.

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