Assessing the composition of municipal solid waste in Wales

Burnley, S.J.; Ellis, J.C; Flowerdew, R.; Poll, A.J. and Prosser, H. (2007). Assessing the composition of municipal solid waste in Wales. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 49(3) pp. 264–283.



In many regions and countries, national and international targets have been set for municipal solid waste (MSW) recycling, recovery and diversion from landfill. To develop and implement effective strategies to meet these targets requires reliable information on the composition of all parts of the MSW stream. Previous studies on the composition of MSW in the United Kingdom have covered only some components of the waste stream or very localised geographical areas. This research was designed to obtain and analyse representative samples of all the components of the MSW stream across Wales. Samples were taken of household-colleted waste, civic amenity site waste, commercial waste and litter in nine local authority areas across the country and the waste samples were sorted into categories by material type. A questionnaire survey was also undertaken among the households sampled. The results from the research estimate that 36% of MSW in Wales consists of recyclable material and a further 28% is compostable. Sixty-two percent of this MSW is classed as biodegradable and packaging material accounts for 17% of the total. Electrical and electronic goods account for 2% and 0.8% of the MSW consists of potentially hazardous material.

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