Published in Waste Management & Research, two of SCS’s most experienced MSW experts, Dave Ross and James Law, cover the MSW evolution and forecast conditions and practices to expect in the next 40 years. Their paper is a mix of facts and sage opinions highlighting some significant and interesting milestones as solid waste management transformed from the 80s to today’s rapidly changing infrastructure and processes.
Ross and Law close their article with speculations on how solid waste management might evolve further by 2063.
Additional Solid Waste Management Resources:
Protect Our Environment and Controlling Climate Change
The ISWA World Congress attracted 1,200 participants this year despite the pandemic and received major coverage in the news while heating up social media channels. The Business Times Singapore published an 8-page supplement and a feature article about James Law and his views as Chair of the ISWA Landfill Group on what we, as individuals and communities, can do to protect our environment.
Featured speakers included Alex Stege and his Solid Waste Emissions Estimation Tool (SWEET) used in a project in Tyre Caza, Lebanon. SWEET allows solid waste planners to compare emissions from implementing different programs and quantify the effectiveness of available waste management options in reducing emissions of GHGs and air pollutants.
Alex presented during the Waste Management In An Era Of New Energy track. His discussion covered Evaluating the Energy Potential of 16 Landfill Gas to Energy Projects in China to be financed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC). There are 24 landfill gas-to-energy projects in China, including ten sites already under operation. In 2021, IFC hired SCS Engineers to evaluate the NCWI estimates and prepare a report providing independent LFG generation and recovery projections for the 16 landfills. The project developer (NCWI) provided IFC with waste data and LFG generation and recovery projections for 16 of their project site landfills from the report indicating a sufficient supply of recoverable LFG to support their planned facility capacities.
SCS Engineers was asked to comment to the NWRA and SWANA industry groups in their October 6 letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the proposed new EPA rule changes for GHG reporting. SCS’s deep expertise and knowledge of GHG monitoring and reporting, especially GHG rule k values, help inform the revisions and determinations for data elements under the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule. Ref. Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2019-0424.
It is wonderful to see ISWA and SWANA in leadership roles to help us meet a global challenge!
Using the Solid Waste Emissions Estimation Tool (SWEET), in 2020, International Solid Waste Association’s (ISWA) Task Force on Closing Dumpsites completed a study of waste sector short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Tyre Caza, Lebanon. SWEET model runs used data on municipal solid waste (MSW) generation, collection, disposal, and diversion under existing and potential alternative management scenarios proposed in an Integrated Waste Management Plan (IWMP) for Tyre Caza. Waste sector emissions reductions exceeding 45% of baseline levels are achievable by 2030 if all dumpsites are closed and remediated, waste burning is stopped, and a new sanitary landfill is developed with 60% methane collection and combustion. Additional emissions reduction accrues from implementing the IWMP and upgrading existing waste treatment facilities to increase waste diversion rates from current levels (22%, including informal sector recycling) to 40%. Estimates of all of Lebanon’s waste sector emissions using SWEET were developed for this mini-review article using published data on the amounts of MSW collected, disposed, and diverted, with adjustments to account for indirect GHG reductions from composting and anaerobic digestion (AD). A 50% reduction in emissions from baseline levels can be achieved by 2034 if, by 2025 diversion of collected wastes to recycling, composting, and AD facilities are increased from 14% to 28%, and all residual MSW is disposed of in sanitary landfills with 65% methane recovery.
Conclusion: SWEET allows solid waste planners to compare emissions resulting from implementing different programs and to quantify the effectiveness of available waste management options in reducing emissions of GHGs and air pollutants. Full article access is on Sage Journals.
About SWEET: SWEET was developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the auspices of the Global Methane Initiative and in support of the CCAC. Abt Associates and SCS Engineers supported the development of SWEET. SWEET provides estimates for the full suite of GHG and air pollutant emissions in the waste sector, including methane, black carbon, CO2, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, particulates, and organic carbon (CCAC, 2018). Emissions estimates are provided for the following sources: (1) waste collection and transportation, (2) open burning of waste, (3) landfills and open dumps, (4) organic waste management facilities (composting and anaerobic digesters), (5) waste-to-energy facilities and (6) waste handling equipment. Note that emissions from fuel and waste combustion are the only CO2 emissions included in SWEET’s calculations, which exclude biogenic CO2 emissions from waste disposal sites. Published reports by the US EPA (e.g., EPA, 1998, 2015), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (e.g., IPCC, 2006), and other sources (e.g., SCS Engineers, 2007, 2009; United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), 2004) were used to develop calculation methods and emissions factors for the waste sector emissions sources. CO2e conversions use a 100-year Global Warming Potential (GWP). The black carbon GWP is 900 (Bond et al., 2013).
Anna Cerf conducted research at the Environmental Research and Education Foundation, had an internship at the Environmental Defense Fund, and worked for SCS Engineers. Now she’s off to Germany.
Cerf graduated from UVA in 2020 with a degree in civil engineering and a minor in urban and environmental planning. The course work for her program will cover three fundamental disciplines: sanitary engineering, groundwater remediation, and hydraulic engineering.
She is a Rotary Global Grant Scholar, using an award to fund her two-year master’s program in water resource engineering and management at the University of Stuttgart. “With the support of ISWA professors and access to University of Stuttgart’s premier research facilities, I will research the transport and treatment of emerging contaminants for my master’s thesis.”
Cerf feels having a master’s in water resource engineering and management will further her career at the intersection of environmental issues and public health. “The University of Stuttgart has top-of-the-line water research facilities,” Cerf said. “It is also home to the Institute of Sanitary Engineering, Water Quality, and Solid Waste Management.
“By the end of the program, I will be able to anticipate, understand and evaluate water management-related issues,” Cerf said. “As climate change exacerbates existing water scarcity issues and environmental degradation damages water quality, these skills become increasingly important.”
The International Solid Waste Association – ISWA, published a comprehensive report completed by SCS Engineers for ISWA under the Climate and Clean Air – CCAC, on reducing Short-Lived Climate Pollutants. A CCAC Solid Waste Emissions Estimation Tool – called SWEET, was used to investigate waste sector emissions of short-lived climate pollutants -termed SLCPs, and other greenhouse gases – GHGs.
Data was collected where multiple waste management scenarios in Tyre Caza, Lebanon. Publications on waste management in Lebanon, including an Integrated Waste Management Plan and Updated Master Plan for the closure and rehabilitation of uncontrolled dumpsites throughout Lebanon, provided data that were used in this study along with updated information provided by Lebanon’s Office of the Minister of State for Administrative Reform.
Different management options for reducing emissions of SLCPs over the short- and medium-term. Comparing emissions reductions achieved by implementing a range of programs over a meaningful time horizon provide greater clarity of vision to see which strategies produce the most climate benefits and are worth a high level of effort and the commitment of resources to achieve.
SWEET is designed to be used by solid waste planning professionals worldwide. It allows some degree of flexibility in selecting key inputs, which gives it greater control and ability to reflect local conditions but adds a level of complexity that may be difficult for some users to navigate. While offering users control of some model assumptions, SWEET includes many calculations and assumptions that are necessarily fixed and can produce unintended results given the model’s limitations. In addition, the assignment of input data that appropriately reflects actual and expected conditions can be challenging, especially when there is a large amount of information to be considered.
The reports on solid waste management in Lebanon and Tyre Caza following the waste management crisis provided multiple sources of data that required evaluation and processing before being used in SWEET.
Click here to read, share, and download the report, ESTIMATION OF WASTE SECTOR GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS IN TYRE CAZA, LEBANON, USING THE SOLID WASTE EMISSIONS ESTIMATION TOOL (SWEET)
ISWA and CCAC will be sponsoring a training workshop on the use of SWEET in the future. For advice and guidance using SWEET contact Alex Stege, SCS Engineers Senior Project Advisor, and Expert on Landfill Gas Modeling.
Building a better solid waste management infrastructure is a top priority for the City of Madison’s sister city, Kanifing, in The Gambia, Africa; and Wisconsin solid waste professionals are helping.
When Kanifing began placing municipal waste in an old quarry on the outskirts 40 years ago, it seemed like a good idea. Today, the 45-acre unlined Bakoteh dump lies in the residential heart of The Gambia’s largest municipality, Kanifing, and it’s causing problems for the community.
The good news is that work is underway to modernize the solid waste practices:
Get more background on what’s driving the need for action, meet the team of stakeholders working together to drive positive changes, and learn more about the progress they’ve made by viewing this video from your friends and colleagues at SCS Engineers.
If you’re interested in learning more Chris Jimieson is happy to help.
ISWA, a worldwide organization, promotes and develops professional waste management to protect human health and the environment as well as to ensure sustainable resource management.
The International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) General Secretariat announced the reelection of James Law for a second term as a board member representing the Organization Members of ISWA. His second term begins on October 6, at the ISWA General Assembly held during the 2019 World Congress in Bilbao, Spain. He is currently the Chair of the ISWA Working Group on Landfill and the Task Force on Closing Dumpsites Initiative as well.
Mr. Law has been a member of ISWA for 11 years. He became active after attending a World Congress conference in Singapore as a presenter and a trainer at the Landfill training workshop on how to use HELP modeling. “I love to attend and network at the annual World Congress, it is such a rewarding and educational experience with the world top experts in waste management and sustainability,” said Law.
James Law, PE, BCEE, LEED AP BD+C, SC, IWM, and SCS Engineers’ National Expert for Geotechnical and Landfill Engineering, has over three decades of engineering and management experience in geotechnical engineering and subsurface soil investigation – exploration programs (including landfill slope stability, embankment and MSE Wall evaluations), solid waste management, landfill engineering, and closure design. Mr. Law’s solid waste management experience also includes landfill gas collection and utilization as alternate energy expertise.
He has a commendable public-service record and contributes widely and regularly to industry associations and non-profits holding the International Status certification as an International Waste Manager by ISWA. James Law is recognized globally for his work toward the remediation and closure of open dumps; imperative to mitigate the impact on the environment and adverse effects on public health.
Law co-authored an ISWA publication on “The Roadmap for Closing Open Dumpsites,” released at the 2016 World Congress in Novi Sad, Serbia and has been involved in ISWA’s ongoing campaign to close the world’s 50 largest dumpsites ever since. ISWA and its national member, the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) work together along with other global organizations such as Climate Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) on this globally significant movement.
Law regularly speaks and publishes papers at national and international conferences, as well as serving on the Editorial Board for the ISWA WM&R publication as a reviewer and author. His recent editorial article on “ISWA’s Closing Dumpsites Initiative: Status of Progress” co-authored with Dave Ross was published in the 2019 WM&R publication, Volume 37 (6).
The International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) has determined that uncontrolled dumpsites hold 40% of the world’s waste and that the world’s 50 biggest dumpsites (identified through a voluntarily survey conducted by D-Waste in 2014) directly affect the daily lives of 64 million people, equivalent to the population of France.
The ISWA reports (2014, 2015a, 2015b, 2016) showcase how eliminating dumpsites is an urgent issue, affecting local, regional, and even global health and the environment. Important findings indicate that 38 out of the 50 biggest dumpsites directly impact marine and coastal areas and can become sources of disease outbreaks and the release of wastes (particularly durable plastics) to waterways and the oceans.
Studies suggest that non-engineered dumps and uncontrolled landfills are the third largest source of global anthropogenic methane, a greenhouse gas about 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2), accelerating climate change. It is estimated that open dumps emit the equivalent of more than 20 million metric tonnes [tons] of CO2 per year. Without any action, it is projected that existing open dumps will account for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.
If open dumps instead were replaced by engineered landfills with state-of-the-art landfill gas collection and destruction systems, it would be like removing five million cars from the planet.
In 2018, ISWA’s Working Group on Landfill (WGL) developed a Task Force on Closing Dumpsites (TFCD) and presented its dump closure initiative as one of its flagship projects for the future at the United Nations (UN) Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development – Habitat III.
Please read this important ISWA Editorial by James Law and David Ross on this significant issue. The editorial contains a link to the full article available on open access through ISWA’s Journal, Waste Management & Research here.
SCS Engineers brochure – Closing Dumpsites is also available.
An open dump refers to a land disposal site where solid waste is disposed of in a manner that does not protect the environment, is susceptible to open burning, and is exposed to the elements, vectors, and scavengers. Therefore, closing or upgrading open dumps to a sanitary landfill is a key issue for many communities worldwide.
In 1976, the passage of U.S. federal legislation known as RCRA pushed for the closure of open dumps and encouraged the development of modern sanitary landfills. In the 1990s, the U.S. EPA issued rules implementing such requirement. As a result, thousands of open dumps were closed.
The informative brochure “Closing Dumpsites,” is intended for many countries that are now beginning down the path to closing them with basic information of the process. Although U.S. dumps have been closed for many years with SCS providing post-closure and long-term care of these facilities, other countries can learn more about the long-term management of these facilities from our professionals nationwide by contacting us at .
ISWA World Congress 2018 will feature a comprehensive scientific program highlighting the socio-economic impacts of waste recycling, waste reduction, and health, safety and policy regulation pertaining to recycling and climate change. It will also include areas of current interest such as marine and coastal waste management.
Please join SCS Engineers at one of these sessions, we always look forward to visiting and exchanging ideas with our ISWA colleagues.
Join Moderator David Ross at the session Sustainable Consumption and Waste Management in Developing Countries. This session is in Conference Hall 3, Level 3, on Monday, October 22. The presentation begins at 1130.
Or, join Presenter Bob Dick for Technological Innovation in Solid Waste Management Meeting for his presentation of a case study on Quarry Landfill Permitting. This presentation examines the application to productively use former quarry sites and avoid landfill development on greenfield sites. This strategic session is in meeting room 304, on Monday, October 22. The presentation begins at 1130.
You may choose to join Moderator James Law for the Climate Change and Landfills
This strategic session is in meeting room 304, on Monday, October 22. The presentation also begins at 1130, in meeting room 306, Level 3.
Join Moderator Dr. Fangmei Zhang at the session Closing Dumpsites and Marine Litter. Dr. Zhang will also present a case study on the Technical Challenges of Closing Old
Dumpsites for Redevelopment. Jose Luis Davila in the same session will present a case study on the San Cristobal Open Dump Conversion to an Engineered Landfill. These informative sessions are in meeting room 304, on Monday, October 22. The presentation begins at 1400.
ISWA Working Group on Landfill Closing Dumpsites
Keynote Session with Moderator James Law at 0830 am Conference Hall 3, Level 3.
ISWA Consortium of Working Groups – Landfill, Climate Change, and Waste Management
A Keynote Session with presentations by James Law and Alex Stege at 0930 in Conference Hall 3, Level 3. This forum includes ISWA Task Force on Closing Dumpsites and Evaluating the Effects of Closing Open Dumps on Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
Climate Change and Landfills will take place in meeting room 306, Level 3 at 1600. James Law will present Addressing Slope Failures and Fires at Major Landfills – A Case Study of
Ghazipur Landfill in Delhi, India.
Improving Air Quality and Mitigating Climate Change through Better Waste Management, Bob Dick will present Landfill Operations to Maximize
Landfill Gas Recovery in Conference Hall 3, Level 3 at 1030.
Post Conference Workshop on Landfill Dumpsite Stability by James Law at 1550 through 1630.