This section addresses several aspects of the relationship between the characteristics of solid waste and the methods used to manage it. Implications for waste reduction, recycling, composting, incineration, and landfilling are included, as well as general implications for solid waste management as a whole.
MSW is abundant, unsightly, and potentially odorous; contains numerous potential pollutants; and supports both disease-causing organisms and disease-carrying organisms. Like MSW, bulky solid waste is abundant, unsightly and potentially polluting. In addition, the dry, combustible nature of some bulky waste components can pose a fire hazard. Because of these characteristics of MSW and bulky waste, a prompt, effective, and reliable system is required to isolate solid waste from people and the environment.
A beneficial use of solid waste is relatively difficult because it contains many different types of materials in a range of sizes. The only established use for unprocessed MSW is as fuel in mass-burn incinerators (see Section 10.9). Even mass-burn incinerators cannot handle unprocessed bulky waste. In the past, unprocessed bulky waste was used as fill material, but this practice is restricted today. In general, processing is required to recover useful materials from both MSW and bulky waste.
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