(Based on the original edition: Manual Gerenciamento Integrado de Resíduos Sólidos, 2001)

1st EDITION – 2008
MINISTRY FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND TERRITORY – ITALY General Director Corrado Clini Director, Division I, Environment and Development Research Department Paolo Soprano Consultant, Division I, Environment and Development Research Department Pierluigi Manzione INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT RESEARCH CENTRE, IDRC – Canada Senior Program Specialist Walter Ubal Giordano Research Officer Alicia Iglesias Program Assistant Clara Saavedra Webmaster María Noel Estrada BRAZILIAN INSTITUTE OF MUNICIPAL ADMINISTRATION – IBAM General Director Mara Biasi Ferrari Pinto Director, National School of Urban Services – ENSUR Tereza Cristina Baratta Director, Urban Development and the Environment – DUMA Ana Lucia Nadalutti La Rovere PUBLICATION Technical coordination Karin Segala Technical content – Update and Adaptation Gilson Leite Mansur José Henrique Penido Monteiro Chapter 2 – Collaboration Victor Zular Zveibil Silvia Martarello Astolpho Technical Revision Andrea Pitanguy de Romani Karin Segala Translation from Spanish to English Liliana Battipede and David Reed Design and Layout Roberto Tostes / Doble Clic Editoras Publishing Coordination and Revision, English version Víctor L. Bacchetta and Laura Pallares

Manual on municipal solid waste integrated management in Latin American and Caribbean cities / José Henrique Penido Monteiro …[et al]; updated and adapted by Gilson Leite Mansur and José Henrique Penido Monteiro; technical coordination by Karin Segala; translation by Liliana Battipede and David Reed. – Montevideo: IDRC, 2008. 264p.; 21 X 29.7cm Adapted from: Manual gerenciamento integrado de resíduos sólidos, 2001. 1. Solid waste. I. Monteiro, José Henrique Penido. II. Mansur, Gilson Leite. III. Segala, Karin (coord.). IV. International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

PRESENTATION PREFACE 1 The general situation of solid waste management in Latin America and the Caribbean 1.1 Introduction 1.2 Regional Evaluation of Municipal Solid Waste Management Services in Latin America and the Caribbean 1.3 Solid waste sector trends Integrated Solid Waste Management Institutional models and payment for services 3.1 Concept 3.2 Forms of administration 3.3 Payment for services 3.3.1 Guidelines for the calculation of a waste collection rate Legislation 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 and Environmental Licenses Introduction Legislation Environmental Licenses Regulations applicable to solid waste 6 12 14 15 15 22 28 32 33 34 39 42 44 45 45 47 48 50 51 51 51 52 59 59 62 63 63 65 66 70 74 75 75 76 78 80 82 83 84 87

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Solid waste: origin, definition and characteristics 5.1 Definition of rubbish and solid waste 5.2 Solid waste classification 5.2.1 Potential environmental contamination risks 5.2.2 Nature and origin 5.3 Characteristics of solid waste 5.3.1 Physical characteristics 5.3.2 Chemical characteristics 5.3.3 Biological characteristics 5.4 Influence of solid waste characteristics on urban cleaning system planning 5.5 Factors that influence solid waste characteristics 5.6 Processes for determining principal physical characteristics Solid waste quantity projections Solid waste preparation and storage 7.1 Concept 7.2 The importance of appropriate preparation and storage 7.3 Characteristics of pre-collection storage containers 7.4 Domestic waste pre-collection preparation and storage 7.5 Pre-collection storage of street waste 7.6 Pre-collection storage of waste in low demographic density and low-income areas 7.7 Pre-collection storage of waste produced by large generators 7.8 Special domestic waste pre-collection storage 7.9 Special origin waste pre-collection storage

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Solid waste collection and transport 8.1 Domestic waste collection and transport 8.1.1 Concept 8.1.2 Collection regularity 8.1.3 Collection frequency 8.1.4 Collection times 8.1.5 Restructuring domestic collection routes 8.1.6 Collection vehicles 8.1.7 Tools and implements used by collectors 8.2 Public solid waste collection and transport 8.2.1 Concept 8.2.2 Collection of waste gathered by sweeping 8.2.3 Collection of waste from weeding and vegetation cutting 8.2.4 Tree pruning waste collection 8.2.5 Collection of rubble and other construction waste 8.2.6 Special collections 8.2.7 Vehicles and equipment used for collection 8.3 Waste collection in tourist cities 8.4 Solid waste collection in informal settlements 8.5 Collection of medical waste 8.5.1 Acknowledgement of the problem 8.5.2 Segregation 8.5.3 Separate collection of common, infectious and special waste 8.5.4 Vehicles for collection and transport 8.5.5 Aspects of collection planning Solid waste transfer 9.1 Concept 9.2 Types of transfer station 9.2.1 Direct transfer station 9.2.2 Station with storage facilities 9.2.3 Alternative transfer systems 9.3 Vehicles and machines for transfer stations Street cleaning 10.1 The importance of street cleanliness 10.2 Waste found in the street 10.3 Street cleaning services 10.3.1 Sweeping services 10.3.2 Weeding and scraping services 10.3.3 Cutting services 10.3.4 Drain cleaning services 10.3.5 Market cleaning services 10.3.6 Manual and mechanical waste removal services 10.3.7 Beach cleaning services 10.4 How to reduce street waste 10.5 Street cleaning in tourist cities Recovery of recyclable materials 11.1 Concept 11.2 Selective collection programs 11.2.1 Selective door to door collection 11.2.2 Voluntary Drop-off Centres (VDC) 11.2.3 Segregator organizations

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Solid waste treatment 12.1 Concept 12.2 Domestic solid waste treatment 12.2.1 Recycling 12.2.2 Composting 12.2.3 Choosing a treatment option 12.3 Treatment of special domestic waste 12.3.1 Construction rubble 12.3.2 Tyres 12.3.3 Batteries and fluorescent tubes 12.4 Treatment of waste from special sources 12.4.1 Industrial solid waste 12.4.2 Radioactive waste 12.4.3 Port and airport waste 12.4.4 Medical waste Solid waste final disposal 13.1 Introduction 13.2 Impacts of inappropriate solid waste disposal 13.3 Sanitary landfill 13.3.1 Sanitary landfill site selection 13.3.2 Environmental licenses 13.3.3 Master plan 13.3.4 Landfill installation 13.3.5 Sanitary landfill operation 13.3.6 Equipment 13.4 Controlled landfills 13.5 Environmental recuperation of refuse dumps 13.6 The situation of segregators 13.7 Special domestic waste disposal 13.7.1 Construction rubble disposal 13.7.2 Disposal of batteries 13.7.3 Disposal of fluorescent tubes 13.7.4 Disposal of tyres 13.8 Disposal of waste from special sources 13.8.1 Industrial waste disposal 13.8.2 Radioactive waste disposal 13.8.3 Port and airport waste disposal 13.8.4 Medical waste disposal 13.9 Sanitary landfills and carbon credits: Opportunities to help resolve environmental problems 13.9.1 Greenhouse effect: causes and consequences 13.9.2 The “logic” of carbon credits 13.9.3 Circumstances in which biogas from a sanitary landfill can be utilized 13.9.4 Requirements for the implementation of GHG emission reduction projects in solid waste landfills 13.9.5 General considerations

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but also their intention to initiate actions at all levels with the participation of developed and developing countries. or within each of them. This agreement focuses attention on some specific areas related to local environmental policy. held in December 2005 in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). such as sustainable water and sanitation management. establish local environmental policies and regulations. together with some others carried out during the year. and assist in implementing national and sub-national environmental policies. NGOs and the private sector. As the level of governance is closest to the people. The resulting projects (specifically in Latin America and the Caribbean) will be expressly devoted to establishing new partnerships (within the broad category of the “type II initiatives” launched in Johannesburg) in areas of interest common to private and public sectors. the role that municipalities can play in the sustainability process is of great importance: the local dimension should be considered as the most significant for experimenting with new environmental strategies and best practices and demonstrating their effectiveness on a broader dimension. This collaboration had previously resulted in significant benefits through the organization of a high level meeting held in Sao Paulo (Brazil). mobilizing and responding to the public in the promotion of sustainable development. urban waste management. 6 . operate and maintain economic. which came into force in 2005 and is aimed at achieving common objectives related to environmental protection and integrating them with social and economic development. pertain to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Ministry for Environment and Territory of Italy and IDRC.PRESENTATION The role of local authorities for a better environmental policy The training course on integrated urban solid waste management in municipalities of Latin America and the Caribbean. international institutions. local authorities construct. social and environmental infrastructure. In this regard. and to supporting local authorities in developing voluntary processes at the local level. As stated in chapter 28 of Agenda 21. These peak activities. represented a significant step in the fruitful collaboration between the Ministry for the Environment and Territory of Italy and the International Development Research Centre of Canada (IDRC) through the Environmental Management Secretariat (EMS). professionals and heads of public institutions in order to quantify the process towards sustainability in the urban solid waste management sector and to assess the situation through an exchange of information and an evaluation of best practices in each field. oversee planning processes. they play a vital role in educating. the promotion of clean technologies and industrial processes and the use of renewable energy sources. which gathered experts. administrators. all of which are processes geared to ensuring local sustainable development. The MoU established a partnership between the two institutions and implies not only that both parties are committed to achieving the agreed objectives.

in addition to the improvement of specific policies. transport. the development of clean technologies – by replacing refuse dumps with final waste disposal centres – can be included among the advantages of responsible and sustainable local government policy-making. including the adoption of specific action plans. awareness raising campaigns and influencing the market towards the attainment of an environmentally sound waste cycle. Policies such as housing. enforce laws and regulations and promote initiatives suitable for local conditions.Indeed. The real challenge is to transform waste into reusable resources: measures should be initiated to stimulate private investment in this field and to create opportunities to include municipalities as potential beneficiaries of the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism for curbing greenhouse gas emissions. Paolo Soprano Ministry for the Environment and Territory – Italy 7 . Waste management issues are at the centre of environmental concerns in many urban areas. especially because continued population growth and the expansion of economic activities stimulate higher consumption of resources and a greater waste generation. have significant impacts on how cities grow. In more general terms. it rather aims to focus on each policy in an isolated manner: thus. waste and water management. and to diminish environmental pressures to sustainable levels. the promotion of renewable energy sources and the improvement of people’s quality of life by preventing pollution in urban areas. The traditional framework of policies is not designed to consider interrelationships between the policies of different sectors. An effective environmental management of industrial (hazardous) and urban waste can also serve as a significant mechanism for the creation of new job opportunities. local governments can play an important supervisory role. This is particularly true for the urban waste management sector. local authorities can play a more effective role in developing the capacity to deliver feasible sustainable development outcomes. so as to enable the decoupling of environmental degradation from population growth and economic development. a change in the policy framework itself is required today. urban development. In these circumstances major improvements in efficiency are needed. For these reasons.

Este Acuerdo fija su atención en algunas áreas específicas vinculadas a las políticas ambientales locales. Estas actividades destacadas – combinadas con otras que se desarrollaron en el transcurso del año – corresponden al Memorando de Entendimiento firmado conjuntamente por el Ministerio de Ambiente y Territorio – Italia y el IDRC. sino que también desean poner en marcha acciones a todo nivel con la participación de países desarrollados y en desarrollo. En este sentido. siendo todos ellos procesos acometidos para asegurar un desarrollo local sustentable. implica no sólo que ambas partes están comprometidas con el logro de objetivos acordados. profesionales y autoridades de instituciones públicas se reunieron para cuantificar el proceso en pro de la sustentabilidad en la gestión integrada de residuos sólidos urbanos. y para apoyar a las autoridades locales en el desarrollo de procesos voluntarios a nivel local. administradores. en Río de Janeiro (Brasil). realizado en diciembre de 2005. instituciones internacionales. gestión sustentable del agua y saneamiento. Tal como se establece en el capítulo 28 de la Agenda 21. el papel que podrían desempeñar los municipios en función del proceso de sustentabilidad es de gran importancia: la dimensión local debería ser considerada como la más significativa en la experiencia de nuevas estrategias ambientales y mejores prácticas. las autoridadeslocales construyen. Los proyectos resultantes (en especial en América Latina y el Caribe) estarán expresamente dedicados al establecimiento de nuevas asociaciones (en la categoría más amplia de “iniciativas tipo II” que fueran lanzadas en Johannesburgo) en las áreas de interés entre los sectores público y privado. como por ejemplo en los casos de gestión de residuos sólidos urbanos. organizaciones no gubernamentales (ONG) y el sector privado. que entró en vigor en el año 2005 y apunta al logro de objetivos compartidos relativos a la protección del medio ambiente y a hacer que los mismos fueran compatibles con el desarrollo social y económico. El Memorando de Entendimiento. Anteriormente esta colaboración ya había logrado un importante resultado a través de la organización de una reunión de alto nivel que tuvo lugar en San Pablo (Brasil). 8 . promoción de tecnologías y procesos industriales limpios y uso de fuentes de energía renovable. que establece una asociación entre las dos instituciones. donde expertos. y para evaluar la situación a través del intercambio de información y evaluación de las mejores prácticas en cada área. a través del Secretariado de Manejo del Medio Ambiente (EMS-SEMA). mostrando su efectividad en una dimensión más amplia. ha sido uno de los pasos más importantes en la fructífera colaboración entre el Ministerio de Ambiente y Territorio – Italia y el Centro Internacional de Investigaciones para el Desarrollo (IDRC) de Canadá.PRESENTACIÓN El papel de las autoridades locales para una mejor política ambiental El curso de capacitación sobre gestión integrada de residuos sólidos urbanos a nivel de Municipios de América Latina y el Caribe. o dentro de cada uno de ellos.

producen un importante impacto en la forma en que las ciudades crecen. Políticas públicas como la de vivienda. transporte. desarrollo urbano. y liderando al mercado en la dirección correcta para el logro de un ciclo de manejo de desechos que resulte ambientalmente saludable. los gobiernos locales pueden desempeñar un papel importante en la supervisión. movilización y respuesta al público para promover el desarrollo sustentable. en la más amplia difusión de la adopción de fuentes de energía renovable y para mejorar la calidad de vida de las personas. las autoridades locales desempeñan un papel crucial en la educación. implantan las políticas y reglamentaciones ambientales locales. se requiere una considerable mejora en la eficiencia para permitir la separación de la degradación ambiental del incremento de la población y el desarrollo económico. más bien intenta focalizar cada política de manera aislada: es por eso que hoy se requiere un cambio en el propio encuadre de las políticas públicas. Por todas estas razones. evitando la contaminación en zonas urbanas. De hecho. supervisan los procesos de planificación. social y ambiental. en especial porque el constante crecimiento poblacional y la expansión de las actividades económicas estimulan un mayor consumo de recursos y un incremento en la generación de desechos. Esto resulta particularmente cierto en el caso del sector de gestión de desechos urbanos. A medida que el nivel de gobernabilidad se acerca más a los pueblos. además de la mejora de algunas políticas específicas. incluyendo la adopción de planes de acción específicos. Los problemas en torno al manejo de residuos constituyen la principal preocupación ambiental en muchas zonas urbanas. sensibilización. para abatir las emisiones de gases con efecto invernadero. La gestión ambiental efectiva del desecho industrial (peligroso) y urbano también podría ser un mecanismo importante en la creación de nuevas oportunidades de empleo.operan y mantienen la infraestructura económica. gestión de desechos y agua. el desarrollo de tecnologías limpias – sustituyendo vertederos por centros para la disposición final de los residuos – podría incluirse entre las ventajas que se derivarían al contar con políticas responsables y sustentables en los gobiernos locales. En términos más generales. En tales circunstancias. las autoridades locales pueden desempeñar un papel más eficaz en el desarrollo de la capacidad para producir resultados más efectivos en cuanto al desarrollo sustentable. El marco tradicional de las políticas no ha sido diseñado para tener en cuenta la interrelación entre las políticas sectoriales. asegurando el cumplimiento de la legislación y las reglamentaciones y promoviendo acciones adecuadas a las condiciones locales. y colaboran en la implementación de políticas ambientales nacionales y sub-nacionales. y para reducir las presiones ambientales a niveles sustentables. Paolo Soprano Ministerio de Ambiente y Territorio – Italia 9 . El verdadero desafío está en transformar los residuos en recursos reutilizables: deberían preverse medidas para estimular la inversión privada en este campo y generar oportunidades para incluir a los municipios como beneficiarios potenciales del Protocolo de Kyoto sobre Mecanismos de Desarrollo Limpio.

tutti finalizzati a garantire lo sviluppo sostenibile locale. ma anche l’attuazione di attività ad ogni livello con la partecipazione dei paesi industrializzati e quelli in via di sviluppo. stabiliscono le politiche e le regolamentazioni in materia ambientale a livello locale e partecipano all’implementazione delle politiche nazionali e sub-nazionali in ambito ambientale. la promozione di tecnologie e processi industriali puliti e l’utilizzo di risorse energetiche rinnovabili. che stabilisce una partnership tra le due istituzioni. Come affermato nel capitolo 28 dell’Agenda 21 “gli enti locali.PRESENTAZIONI Il ruolo degli enti locali per una politica ambientale migliore Il corso di formazione sui sistemi integrati di gestione dei rifiuti solidi urbani nei comuni dell’America Latina e dei Caraibi. di professionisti e di dirigenti di istituzioni pubbliche si sono riuniti per quantificare il processo verso la sostenibilità del settore della gestione dei rifiuti solidi urbani e per valutare la situazione grazie ad uno scambio di informazioni ed ad un esame delle migliori pratiche di ogni settore. con le ONG e con il settore privato. sociali ed ambientali. saranno espressamente volti a stabilire una nuova partnership (nella categoria più ampia delle “iniziative di tipo II” lanciata a Johannesburg) nei settori di interesse fra il settore privato e quello pubblico. Poiché inoltre essi rappresentano il li- 10 . dove un gruppo di esperti. operano e mantengono le infrastrutture economiche. Queste attività di spicco – combinate ad altre attività svoltesi durante l’anno – sono contenute nel memorandum di intenti siglato fra il Ministero dell’Ambiente e della Tutela del Territorio – Italia e l’IDRC. prevede non solo l’impegno di entrambe le istituzioni al raggiungimento degli obiettivi concordati. tenutosi a dicembre 2005. supervisionano i processi di pianificazione. e che ha come scopo l’ottenimento degli obiettivi comuni per la tutela ambientale e la sua compatibilità con lo sviluppo economico e sociale. dimostrando la loro efficacia su scala più ampia. il ruolo che i comuni possono ricoprire verso il processo di sostenibilità è di estrema importanza: la dimensione locale va considerata come la più significativa per sperimentare nuove strategie ambientali e migliori pratiche. o con ciascuno di loro. Tale collaborazione aveva già ottenuto un risultato importante attraverso l’organizzazione di un incontro ad alto livello tenutosi a San Paolo del Brasile. entrato in vigore nel 2005. ha rappresentato un significativo passo in avanti a favore della fruttuosa collaborazione fra il Ministero dell’Ambiente e della Tutela del Territorio – Italia ed il Centro Internazionale di Ricerca per lo Sviluppo Canadese (IDRC) attraverso il proprio Segretariato per la Gestione Ambientale (EMS). costruiscono. la gestione sostenibile dell’acqua e dei servizi igienici. di amministratori. e sostenere gli enti locali nello sviluppare dei processi volontari a livello locale. Il memorandum di intenti. a Rio de Janeiro del Brasile. con le organizzazioni internazionali. I progetti che ne verranno (in particolare in America Latina ed i Caraibi). Tale accordo si concentra su settori specifici collegati alla politica ambientale locale come ad esempio: la gestione dei residui urbani. A questo riguardo.

pertanto. In termini più generali. Lo schema tradizionale delle politiche non è atto a considerare l’interdisciplinarità fra le politiche di settore. Paolo Soprano Ministero dell’Ambiente e della Tutela del Territorio – Italia 11 . includendo l’adozione di piani d’azione specifici. per diffondere l’adozione di risorse energetiche rinnovabili e per migliorare la qualità di vita della gente grazie alla prevenzione dell’inquinamento nelle zone urbane. Le questioni relative alla gestione dei rifiuti sono al centro dell’attenzione ambientale in molte zone urbane in quanto. oltre naturalmente a migliorare le singole politiche. garantendo l’applicazione delle leggi e delle norme e promuovendo delle attività adatte alla condizioni locali. Una gestione dei rifiuti urbani ed industriali (pericolosi) potrebbe essere anche un meccanismo importante per la creazione di nuovi posti di lavoro. La vera sfida è trasformare i residui in risorse riutilizzabili: vanno presi dei provvedimenti per incoraggiare gli investimenti privati in questo settore e per creare le opportunità affinché i comuni vengano inclusi come potenziali destinatari del Meccanismo di Sviluppo Pulito del Protocollo di Kyoto per la riduzione delle emissioni di gas ad effetto serra. Ciò è particolarmente vero per il settore della gestione dei rifiuti. l’aumento della consapevolezza e la conduzione del mercato verso la direzione giusta per l’ottenimento di un ciclo integrato dei rifiuti. i governi locali possono giocare un ruolo importante di regia. si stimola un maggior consumo delle risorse ed una maggiore produzione di rifiuti. al contrario si concentra su ogni politica in modo isolato ed è. lo sviluppo di tecnologie pulite – che sostituiscano l’interramento con degli impianti per lo smaltimento finale dei rifiuti – può essere inserito fra i vantaggi delle politiche responsabili e sostenibili dei governi locali. alla mobilizzazione ed alla responsabilizzazione del pubblico nella promozione dello sviluppo sostenibile. gli enti locali giocano un ruolo vitale rispetto all’educazione. sullo sviluppo urbano. Per queste ragioni.vello di governo più vicino ai cittadini. In queste circostanze è necessario un miglioramento dell’efficienza al fine di scollegare il degrado ambientale dalla crescita della popolazione e dallo sviluppo economico ed al fine di ridurre la pressione ambientale a livelli sostenibili. adesso necessario modificare lo schema di per sé. Le politiche sugli alloggi. Effettivamente gli enti locali possono giocare un ruolo più efficace nello sviluppare la capacità di trasmettere risultati validi per lo sviluppo sostenibile. sulla gestione dei rifiuti e dell’acqua hanno un impatto notevole sulla crescita delle città. sui trasporti. a causa della continua crescita demografica e dell’espansione delle attività economiche.

the withdrawal of children from rubbish dumps. companies. the Manual provides guidelines that serve as a reference for decision-makers in the formulation of public policies and corresponding legislation. Changing this state of affairs involves not only a mobilization of resources and improvements in technical knowledge of the appropriate processes and technologies for each reality. economic. For a long time these issues have been relegated to the background but diverse governmental and civil society sectors are now mobilizing to address the problem due to several areas being affected: disease transmission and therefore public health.PREFACE There is a notably growing demand for solutions to urban cleaning issues both in global bodies and at the level of civil society and local communities. 12 . but principally the creation of instruments that incorporate and structure integrated management models as a fundamental strategy to achieve a healthy city. in particular children living on rubbish dumps. Deep behavioural change is necessary in order to reverse traditional policies and practices and establish strategies that incorporate the following elements: ! ! ! ! ! the reduction of consumption. This Manual on Municipal Solid Waste Integrated Management is aimed at contributing to an improvement in the technical capacities of the public sector. NGOs and civil society to deal with aspects of integrated solid waste management in a sustainable way. Acknowledging that the main responsibility for providing urban cleaning services falls on the municipal level of government. the potential generation of work and incomes related to waste. social and legal aspects. as well as institutional. wastage and waste generation by citizens. social concerns relating to segregators. and pressures deriving from tourist activities. questions relating to the preparation. water course and aquifer contamination in the environmental field. political. Another aspect of urban cleaning that has more recently come to the fore is the issue of the final disposal of solid waste in relation to Clean Development Mechanisms. including clean development mechanisms. storage and final disposal of waste. promoting the social and economic inclusion of segregators. environmentally appropriate treatment and final disposal practices. It deals with subjects that are fundamental to the understanding and improvement of urban cleaning systems and services and covers technical and administrative issues. the universalization of urban cleaning services. agencies. In several situations negative impacts relating to solid waste are fundamentally associated with inappropriate management.

using appropriate technologies and methods and respecting the particular economic social and cultural circumstances of the local population. held in December 2005 with representatives from several Latin American and Caribbean countries. It is essential that municipal teams in charge of the planning and operation of services are properly equipped to prepare and implement programs. It is intended for use as a basic didactic instrument that can orientate future workshops. Tereza Cristina Baratta Director. plans and initiatives geared to improving urban cleaning systems. You are therefore invited to consider and use the solutions offered by this Manual. including institutional adaptations that are necessary for the administration of services and the allocation of available resources in a responsible way. and was subsequently revised and completed. As part of their work methodology a preliminary version was examined by participants in the first IBAM training course. National School of Urban Services – IBAM 13 . Within this perspective the Manual’s objective is to be a useful tool in integrated administration training for all those who work with solid waste and to be sufficiently flexible so that from all the information provided on different forms of “know how” that which is most useful for application to the particular conditions of each city can be chosen.The Manual has been prepared by professionals with long-term experience in this sector who also serve as teachers in the courses offered by IBAM.

1 The general situation of solid waste management in Latin America and the Caribbean 14 .

coordinated the Report on the Regional Evaluation of Municipal Solid Waste Management Services with the direct participation of public institutions and private agencies. which covered the entire region. an interruption in the payment of bills by the municipality can paralyze services. updated in the form of “Report on the Regional Evaluation of Municipal Solid Waste Management Services in Latin America and the Caribbean". an evaluation made during a certain period has only a relative value as the quality of services can change very quickly. a periodical analysis of the state of solid waste management services in several cities of a country can indicate the general trend. The Solid Waste Evaluation constitutes a first regional effort in which 36 LAC countries participated within a common evaluation strategy. The most recent update of the Report on the Regional Evaluation of Municipal Solid Waste Management Services in Latin America and the Caribbean.1 Introduction In the municipal solid waste management sector. 15 . ( and http://www. was carried out by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in 2005. 1. and taking into consideration the significant role performed by urban sanitation services to reduce health risk factors and environmental impacts. as well as NGOs involved in solid waste management in countries in the Region. However.ops-oms.bvsde. a better evaluation can be made of trends both in service quality and the types of approach to the issue employed by municipal. IADB and Based on Diagnosis of Municipal Solid Waste Management in Latin America and the Caribbean. However. The collection of information for 1.paho. through outsourcing or concession contracts. Even if the system is in the hands of a private company. A well administrated landfill can became a rubbish dump in a few days if a tractor stops functioning due to some defect that the municipality is not able to quickly repair because of slow bureaucratic processes involved in buying spare parts or contracting a maintenance service.1. which is significant for answering the question: is waste management improving in Latin American cities? In practically all Latin American countries urban cleaning services are the responsibility of municipalities and often a well functioning system in a particular city does not necessarily reflect the trend in the country as a whole but rather the mayor’s determination to solve the problem. As it is the best document produced up to now on this subject.htm). 2005. its executive summary is transcribed here. provincial and national governments in each country.2 Regional Evaluation of Municipal Solid Waste Management Services in Latin America and the Caribbean 1 The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in support of Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) governments. The general situation of solid waste management in Latin America and the Caribbean 1. if a study includes a wider range of cities. 1997.

as well as service providers and the community in general. among which Agenda 21 stands out – agreed upon in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro during the United Nations International Conference on the Environment and Development – comprehensive solid waste management still represents one of the most important challenges that national and municipal governments face. The information was obtained through a series of forms that collected basic demographic. The life styles. the purpose of the Regional Evaluation is to generate and expand the knowledge of the current situation.the Evaluation took place in the countries between 2002 and 2003 through a national coordinating group of representatives from national and local entities involved in solid waste. education and socioeconomic data from the country and specific indicators related to urban sanitation services referred to the year 2001. health. as can be seen by the alarming environmental deterioration and the sanitary problems related to unsafe solid waste management and the scarce attention given to this area. Even though it is true that moderate progress has been made as a result of national and international initiatives. The information was complemented with an analytical report for the country executed by each country. Within this context. the materials used in industrial production and the introduction of Figure 1 – Disordered settlement and informal market close to a rubbish dump 16 . mainly to the final disposal of waste with the purpose of looking for solutions or alternatives at a national and local level to improve the current situation and be able to accomplish waste management that is truly efficient. The Solid Waste Evaluation proposal emerges from the need to have a frame of reference that makes the solid waste sector visible in LAC to identify their needs and possibilities within the comprehensive management concept guided towards improving the communities’ quality of life. which is critical in many countries. the high levels of consumption.

a common practice in several countries in the Region. In addition. highways and waterways contaminating the environment and endangering the population’s health. in which only 69% of the population has collection service. Adequate sanitary final waste disposal coverage (landfill) for the LAC Region is 23%. takes many families.000 tons collected daily in the Region. which makes it evident that there is a serious environmental and health problem due to the proliferation of open air “dumps.” This means that of the 299. Approximately half of the waste generated in LAC is produced by medium and small centers. in the streets. tend to increase the volumes of solid waste. the economic and social impoverishment present in these settlements. institutions and organizations that are involved in this area. as well as in final disposal sites. treatment and final disposal. As a consequence. which tend to have more difficulty in waste management. The Solid Waste Evaluation shows that average regional generation of residential solid waste per capita reaches 0. although with great differences within the countries. transportation. representing serious problems for its collection. as well as the due training of human resources and the capitalization of financial resources are not proposed. The intensive migration of indigent populations from rural areas to medium and large cities has created outlying poverty belts. to find in garbage.1. with a noticeable fluctuation in countries 17 . The situation worsens with the lack of adequate hospital and hazardous waste management. of which 56% is generated in large urban centers.3%) is urban and generates around 369. is burned or dumped without any control in vacant lots.000 tons of waste are indiscriminately deposited in the environment. mainly women and children. at best in dumps with an uncertain control. The Solid Waste Evaluation confirmed the information gaps that exist in the solid waste area in the countries of the Region. It is presumed that the remainder. necessary strategies or components that will allow for the guidance. These gaps are seen not only at a local level. regulation and institutional development of the municipalities as sanitation service providers. where they are more evident.000 tons of municipal solid waste daily. Practically all of them. 21% in medium size urban centers and 23% in small urban centers. but also in institutions at a national level in charge of defining policies and assigning resources. Just a few of the LAC countries have comprehensive plans or programs to respond to the sector’s demands. streets. their only means for survival. the LAC population reached 518 million of which 406 million (78. manage insufficient information. The general situation of solid waste management in Latin America and the Caribbean persistent materials in daily human activities. more noticeable in medium and small populations. which is not collected. of which the majority lack public service infrastructure and have completely spread out in a disorderly manner without any urban planning. around 230. the impact to the environment being considerable since the disposal of these wastes is usually deficient. mainly when they are dumped together with municipal waste.790 kg/inhab/day. The Solid Waste Evaluation estimates that by the year 2001. Waste collection coverage in the Region varies from 11%-100% with a regional average of 81%.

Likewise. specifically the smaller ones.370 kg/inhab/ day to 2. and therefore. large cities are the largest generators of municipal waste per capita with close to 1. Therefore. municipalities maintain responsibility for services. The LAC countries are in different stages of development in the solid waste sector. transfer. which makes it difficult to implement follow-up mechanisms. they are scattered in several legal bodies. with an average of US$29 per ton for collected. 18 . health and environmental ministries have been evolving to replace the governing of the sector and the regulation of services to a certain point. not only in providing urban cleaning services but also in investment in solid waste sector development. adequately disposed of and treated waste.650 kg/inhab/day with a regional average of 0.250 kg/inhab/day. in countries where tourism is an important economic factor. With regard to the legal aspects applicable to the sector. This produces an overlapping effect and inconsistencies.500 kg/inhab/day. These facts show that economic growth and the level of consumption have a great influence in solid waste generation. even when several countries are developing specific laws and regulations for municipal. as is the case in Bolivia. The costs for urban sanitation services in the Region fluctuate between US$15 and US$105 per ton. the per capita generation varies between 0.100 kg/inhab/day while the small and poor settlements in Latin America generate an average of less than 0. as well as hazardous waste. great gaps can be observed in the judicial development and in different instruments for their compliance. control and sanctions. mainly regarding sanitary final disposal. Mexico and Peru. At a local level. yet. Even though there is an abundance of environmental laws. There are cases in which the per capita generation does not exceed 0. and consequently. which does not allow for the demands of an adequate solid waste management. the effectiveness of current legal tools are minimized. With regards to municipal waste. among others.910 kg/inhab/day. The breakdown of these costs corresponds to sweeping. in its planning and programming at medium and long term. The private sector has been becoming ever more prominent.400 kg/inhab/day. demand a more efficient management of urban sanitation services. Ecuador. Municipalities. lack management and financial capability. Several deficiencies are observed in guiding the sector. the per capita generation reaches 2.with a low Human Development Index (HDI). treatment and final disposal. outsourcing and the granting of concessions. At national levels. but with differing operational modalities: direct public sector administration. collection and urban sanitation in main streets.

19 . who work under unsanitary and subhuman conditions. handling and inadequate disposal of waste to the community are growing and are significant. On average. Informal segregation has increased in countries that have gone through a rapid and deep economic crisis as a result of the increase in poverty and unemployment.3% to organic waste recycling. several diseases are related to wastes when the conditions conducive to the development of several disease agents are present. In the English speaking Caribbean countries. but it is part of other services such as public lighting. and concentrate in acquiring equipment and. representing between 60% and 70% of the total cost. Informal recycling is widely promoted in Latin America and its magnitude is difficult to identify due to the fact that the activities are subtle. The situation is more critical for individuals working and living from the recovery of materials from waste. The direct and indirect environmental and social costs that represent the production. The monthly average rates for residential waste in LAC reaches US$2. of which 1. mainly those who are in contact with wastes.5 per user. which reflects a deficit of close to half the real cost of those services. financial support for this service is received through the collection of a municipal rate.9% is for inorganic recycling and 0. among which there is a significant number of women and children. in infrastructure works for final disposal. The general situation of solid waste management in Latin America and the Caribbean The cost breakdown indicates that the highest cost corresponds to sweeping and waste collection and transportation. The formal segregation and recovery of recyclable materials is not carried out on a large scale in LAC. through a consolidated fund formed by different environmental taxes. potable water and basic wastewater. urban sanitation services are strongly subsidized by the central government. This general rate is not exclusively assigned to the urban sanitation service. The inadequate management of solid waste has serious consequences in the environment and the health of the population. This is the case of the personnel who work in this sector. mainly made up of food and garden waste. real estate taxes and others. lastly. Investments in the sector are minimal compared to other public services such as electricity. Although the direct casualty has not been determined. a value that does not cover the cost for urban sanitation services.2% of the materials are recovered from garbage. The majority do not have the minimum prevention and occupational safety measures. the Evaluation showed that only 2. The environmental impacts are mainly revealed in the contamination of surface and underground waters for public supply and the obstruction of drainage canals due to the uncontrolled dumping of solid wastes in bodies of water. In the majority of Latin American countries.1. coupled by the lack of initiatives to integrate this form of subemployment into the solid waste sector.

by food. Technological and research development in relation to solid waste is reduced in the majority of LAC countries.Environmental degradation caused by a refuse dump In several countries in LAC. workshops and seminars focused on solid waste management. Community participation occurs mainly when there is support from NGOs and a strong educational component. the use of very low cost technologies that use animal.Other important impacts that affect human health are the emission of air contaminants due to open air burning. The training of human resources in the solid waste area is usually carried out in some universities in the Region as part of the courses related to sanitation engineering and environmental sciences. reuse and recycling. the breeding of bovine and porcine livestock with contaminated organic waste. The contribution in research and technological development from institutes and universities for the solid waste area is scarce. as well as vectors that transmit diseases. Such participation is key to put into practice activities that take into consideration the principle of the three “R’s. The community has a limited participation in solid waste management in LAC. Figure 2 . 20 . mainly because this means a more economic alternative for the municipalities and/or sanitation municipal companies. the participation of small companies and private micro companies in solid waste collection has been increasing more and more.” reduction. This is complemented with a great variety of courses. the transmission of pathogen microorganisms through water. These are in addition to aesthetic and nuisance impacts due to noise and bad odours. human or mechanic (tricycles) traction and the promotion of greater community participation to facilitate the material collection and separation operation at the generation source. the incineration of waste without adequate control equipment. The advantages of these companies resides in the intensive use of labour force. and at the same time is supported by a strong national political base that guides the solid waste sector.

national and provincial governments should provide more support to municipalities. create healthy environments.Correct landfill operation resulting from public administration commitment The solid waste sectoral analysis will continue being a key instrument in this aspect by providing a comprehensive vision of the sector.1. Figure 3 . regulations and operation of solid waste management services. financial self-sustainability and the participation of the private sector and the community. therefore. The general situation of solid waste management in Latin America and the Caribbean Initiatives such as primary environmental care. within the real possibilities of the countries. local government. Taking into consideration that solid waste management is a local activity. 21 . allowing more efficient approaches and alternatives for their development. especially in school and Ecoclub environments on solid waste management topics. to achieve the proposed national and municipal goals. should be carefully evaluated in each of the countries to determine the appropriate steps. personal capacity building through education and empowerment. especially those which have scarce managerial capability and limited resources. These initiatives offer great potential for establishing long lasting activities and allowing the use of shared experiences through community networks and alliances with different institutions that share a common interest. The management aspects of the sector. health-promoting schools and other health promotion strategies are basic to coordinate initiatives with the capacity to maximize participative management that includes the community. promoting healthy life styles. institutional and functional organization. healthy municipalities and communities. NGOs and the private sector with the purpose of establishing healthy policies. in which the lack of information is more significant.

Municipalities with a population of over 200. For more information consult http://www. The commitment and will of the governments and financial organizations.un.000 have more financial resources and capabilities to deal with the difficulties involved in maintaining sustainable solid waste management. 1. ! the increasing cost of services. based on Solid Waste Evaluation together with other studies and experiences in this field. The issues dealt with below can present variations between one country and another and between one city and another depending on the greater or lesser degree of both commitment by mayors and community participation. 22 . especially in institutional capacity building and in the identification and support of sectoral especially where universal coverage is sought in the urban zones of a municipality. Public awareness of the importance of urban cleaning services and municipal solid waste management In almost all LAC countries there has been an increase in community awareness of the need for improved solid waste management.3 Solid waste sector trends The above summary of solid waste management in Latin America and the Caribbean. not only in collection services but more so in final disposal.Likewise. ! the widespread exposure in the media of problems in developed countries caused by defective handling of hazardous industrial waste or its inappropriate final disposal and the resultant damaging effects on the health of the population. makes it possible to identify general sector trends. ! the perceived relationship between solid waste management and the wellbeing and health of citizens. international cooperation has a broad field of action. which demands a more professional management by the municipal administration. 2. Circumstantial differences in service provision between small municipalities and large or medium-sized cities A gradual improvement in solid waste management can be found in large cities. The principal causes of this increase are: ! the growing occurrence of environmental problems that affect people’s daily life and the dissemination of information about them through the media. and technical cooperation to guide their efforts towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals 2 open new opportunities to promote and coordinate national and international activities to improve solid waste management in the Region.

23 . If the mayor does not consider it to be a priority sector. urban cleaning services are limited to collection. Although the legal framework is important. Carbon credits and the clean development mechanism The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) allows developing countries. NGOs. budget resources will not be allocated to it. thus improving coverage and service quality. The importance of political will Sound solid waste management in Latin American cities depends to a large extent on the mayor’s commitment to this issue. Only when pressured by society and environmental control bodies do municipal administrations eventually become more aware of the problem and begin to allocate more resources to the sector. those responsible for municipal services have to pay more attention to the waste issue and are less able to ignore the problem. for the most part regular. for example. cooperatives. in zones where inhabitants can influence public policy (commercial and high income residential zones) and final disposal takes place in one or more open air dumps without any sanitary or environmental control. Larger municipalities generally have a department of urban cleaning. etc. but these initiatives are sometimes hindered by political and economic interests that delay their implementation. service coverage will not be universal and service quality will not be satisfactory. but smaller ones often only have one person running these services and for essential material resources depend on departments with other functions. 80% of municipalities have less than 30. The training of municipal personnel in the preparation of tender specifications and contracts is a critical element for an efficient initiation and operation of contractual relationships with private counterparts. to obtain resources through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from their industrial or urban activities. The legal framework Some large municipalities are establishing norms for solid waste management through municipal regulations or mayoral decrees and some countries are endeavouring to develop a national solid waste policy. In order for legislation and norms to translate into an improved solid waste management service a formal commitment by the mayor to their application is necessary.000 inhabitants). The general situation of solid waste management in Latin America and the Caribbean In small urban centres. It is evident that with easier access to information and its dissemination through the internet. a classification into which all Latin American countries fall. the category into which most Latin American population centres fall (in Brazil. it is not the only requirement for the achievement of good quality solid waste management.1.

municipal administrations will know how to maximize its economic advantages to fulfil municipal needs. As mayors become increasingly aware of the seriousness of this problem. and is now reappearing in developing countries. Composting Composting is a procedure that is increasingly applied in developed countries due to the prohibition of organic matter dumping in landfills. The latter option has presented such serious problems that the construction of several new landfills has had to be suspended in response to the reaction of the local community. The resources obtained from the sale of Emission Reduction Certificates (ERC) will not guarantee the operation of urban cleaning services. or to begin one from scratch in another place. where people are already accustomed to refuse disposal. tested by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Municipal administrations or contracted companies offer compensation to local residents but this is not always accepted. A complementary advantage of a composting system is that it can contribute to the viability of establishing and operating a medium or large size plant by generating income through the sale of Emission Reduction Certificates. This is so because there is an already existing methodology.Many mayors regard the timing of the arrival of carbon credits as opportune for providing financial support for municipal endeavours to improve solid waste management services. Difficulties involved in the establishment of new landfills PAHO’s diagnosis confirms that one of the weak points of solid waste management systems in Latin American cities is final waste disposal. offers the great advantage of reducing the generation of leachate instead of producing biogas in landfills. In many cases these problems result in municipalities continuing to operate rubbish dumps and abandoning the establishment of new installations for the final disposal of waste collected in the city. that has determined that composting does not merely reduce but avoids the emission of greenhouse gases as organic matter in aerobic decomposition only gives off carbonic gas and water and not methane. 24 . but with the dissemination of information on how this mechanism functions. refuse dumps are beginning to be closed or converted. and in addition prolongs the latter’s useful life. which can be operated manually in small towns or be mechanized where large amounts of waste have to be processed. not to mention the difficulties involved in obtaining environmental licenses for new sites. which is the harmful gas that would be generated in a landfill if the organic matter was deposited there. Nevertheless it must be remembered that such benefits from the Kyoto Protocol Clean Development Mechanism are in effect only up to 2012. In such cases the municipality must decide whether to establish a landfill in the same place. This system.

The last hope is recyclable waste that can be found amongst the refuse. Even where the recycling system is institutionalized with the participation of segregator organizations. more and more people resort to the streets in search of some means of survival. other independent segregators compete in the streets with the formal system. It is necessary to convince local residents that a well managed landfill can exist relatively close to houses. as well as extending the useful life of landfills. Informal segregators and formal selective collection systems Due to the growing unemployment that is found in almost all Latin American cities. In addition municipalities that are implementing formal selective collection systems are facing difficulties in that before the truck passes to collect the recyclable waste. This situation will continue while unemployment remains one of the principal scourges of Latin American countries. while the public authority is not able to create hundreds of jobs overnight or provide programs that generate income to replace that gained from segregation activity in landfills and the streets. 25 . This resistance on the part of segregators is due to the danger of them losing their only source of income. which produces serious problems and much more work for the sweeping services. the street segregators have already taken it. especially the larger ones. This is a long process and satisfactory results will depend on the provision of numerous examples until residents become convinced that it is possible. In many South American cities segregators working in rubbish dumps or landfills react forcefully when the municipality attempts to implement the closure of the site and begins a new landfill where their activity will not be allowed. with bags of domestic waste being opened. This phenomenon is happening in almost all large and medium-sized cities in Latin America and the prognosis is that it will increase. materials that can be commercialized separated and the waste that the segregator is not interested in is left scattered on the street. On the one hand this activity has positive aspects: waste can be a source of income for these people who do not have any other way of surviving and their work removes a significant amount of material from the urban cleaning circuit.1. and therefore reduces the costs of collection. transfer and final disposal. The general situation of solid waste management in Latin America and the Caribbean Communities have also reacted negatively to the establishment of new transfer stations on the grounds that in general landfills and other urban cleaning installations are poorly managed. On the other hand. the segregation of materials is often done in a disorderly way.

This constitutes one of the main impediments to good quality service management as municipal administrations have to allocate monies from their budgets for urban cleaning services without a corresponding income from rate or tariff collection. most large and medium-sized cities outsource collection. a state of affairs that is detrimental to other municipal services. The municipality for its part takes on the monthly payment of bills for services rendered and the coordination and supervision of such services. but success is dependent on the mayor’s level of commitment and political will to prioritize the issue. provided that the specifications are reasonable and the tender process respects the limits required by law and administrative probity. usually does not solve this problem. especially for the establishment and operation of large sanitary landfills that require significant investment and therefore a longer period to see a return on it. a municipality’s income from rates or specific tariffs is nowhere near enough to cover the costs of urban cleaning services.Contract types Municipal administrations face two big challenges in relation to solid waste management in Latin American cities: to provide a universal service and to improve its quality. transfer and final disposal operations thus transferring to the private sector the burden of investment and operational costs. Money raised together with national governmental or multilateral bodies for investment in equipment such as collection trucks or in the construction of installations such as landfills. The trends of change Many municipalities are training their technical personnel and seeking resources from provincial or national bodies with a view to improving service quality. In recent times some large cities have contracted services with long term concessions. mayors are beginning to look for more effective and less expensive service provision models and are increasingly contracting work. This is due not 26 . The resources needed for the maintenance of sound and sustainable urban cleaning operations have to be allocated from the municipal budget and this represents the biggest challenge faced by administrators. The incidence of payment arrears is high and there is not much that can be done to reduce it as an interruption of collection services would only reduce the cleanliness of the city as households that do not receive this service would find another. Economic sustainability of the sector In general. As municipal budgets are finite. no doubt inappropriate. In general this has proved to be a satisfactory solution. As a result. way of disposing of their rubbish.

of provincial and national governments. 27 . but also to the improved performance of environmental control bodies and national ministries that oversee municipalities’ compliance with their legal obligations.1. municipal administrations are signing agreements that establish periods within which service provision has to reach specified levels of quality and coverage. The general situation of solid waste management in Latin America and the Caribbean only to the increased awareness of both mayors and the general public about the significance of this issue. with the help. even if sporadic. There is now an unprecedented level of attention and debate on municipal solid waste management and a seemingly inexorable search by municipalities for models that are sustainable from both a socioeconomic and environmental perspective. As a result.

2 Integrated solid waste management 28 .

This is the approach recommended by Agenda 21: the transformation of the production and consumption matrix on the basis of the 3R’s – reduce. discarding and final disposal. Traditional practices. The optimization of these circuits reduces to a minimum the amount of waste for final disposal. consumption. to the maximization of its reuse through the implementation of more appropriate collection systems for each situation and the employment of treatment. recyclers and managers. the sustainability of systems and the role of citizens as generators. It is of fundamental importance to also take into consideration the generation of waste. Waste therefore has a commercial value that can be added to the production chain thus creating new work opportunities and generating income for various sectors of society.2. dealing only with the management of the system. frameworks and practices in regard to solid waste management. ! consumption pockets having a pattern associated with high levels of refuse production equivalent to that of developed countries together with large sectors of the population who do not have access to consumer goods. consumers. address the problems of solid waste in a partial way. The reduction of waste to be collected. treatment plants and final disposal. recycling or recovery. In practice this concept ranges from the minimization of waste generation in the production process. In this way only waste with no utility is left for final disposal. reuse and recycle – to which has now been added a new R for recover. generally insulated. which call for the establishment of new concepts. recovery and recycling processes and technologies. Typical situations are: ! high technology industrial processes aimed at competitive insertion in global markets side by side with obsolete industrial processes that produce significant environmental damage. in order to establish a shared concept in which all win and positive socio-environmental outcomes are produced. It is important to emphasize the significant differences between traditional and integrated approaches to this subject: in the latter waste is always regarded as a raw material for the production of new products through reuse. The concept of integrated solid waste management considers the entire cycle including production. ! the availability of waste processing technologies together with a lack of the financial and human resources necessary to maintain them and the presence of large groups of segregators in streets and rubbish dumps. Integrated solid waste management Latin American and Caribbean cities present great regional and local imbalances. transported and disposed of in landfills – which as a consequence will occupy smaller areas or will have a longer useful life – contributes to the economic and environmental sustainability of systems. including packaging. as a result of which they are now called the 29 .

! the articulation of proposed solid waste systems with overall urban planning and other urban systems. environmental. provincial. This model has been used as a tool to solve problems arising from the increasing amounts of solid waste generated by the industrial society. private and community stakeholders in the conception and planning of processes and solutions. However it is possible for a group of municipalities to develop them and share some solutions especially for the final disposal of waste. ! ! the integration of all elements of the solid waste cycle in the 4R’s processes. social. and in the implementation of an urban cleaning system. ISWMPs must be complemented by national and regional policies on this issue. juridical. rainwater drainage and vector control. including water provision. the integration of technical. amongst which are: ! citizens themselves. Plans can also be formulated at a regional. particularly environmental sanitation. Usually it is recommended that these plans are developed at a municipal or local level. This implies the application of the integrated life cycle management concept. chapter 21) Putting these criteria and the concept of integrated solid waste management into practice in Latin American and Caribbean cities requires the development of local participation processes. Some elements are essential for the development of integrated solid waste management (ISWM) processes: ! the participation of all public. sewerage systems. Participation processes allow the different stakeholders to identify opportunities that can lead to solutions for the problems presented by solid waste. even national level. responsible for the separation and differentiated pre-collection storage of recyclable materials and other domestic waste.” (Agenda 21. which presents a unique opportunity to reconcile development with environmental protection. machines. On whatever scale they are made. 30 . institutional and political aspects in order to guarantee system sustainability.4R’s. or in the case of smaller countries. “Environmentally sound waste management must go beyond the mere safe disposal or recovery of generated waste and seek to address the root cause of the problem by attempting to change unsustainable patterns of production and consumption. not only provided by the municipality but also by other agents participating in the management. labour and technology. through the development of an Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan (ISWMP). Integrated management depends on the functioning of specific sub-systems that involve installations.

Economic-financial – an analysis of system costs and the possibility of minimizing them in order to make systems economically viable. segregators organized in cooperatives. a rational use of natural resources taking into account waste minimization.2. specific approaches must be promoted in each related field: Social – community participation and quality control. institutions and contracted companies. the implementation of juridical instruments and ISWMPs. 31 . agreements and cooperation accords. reusable material recovery. and the social inclusion of segregators who have to be organized. Political-institutional – the integration of public authorities and other stakeholders and institutions with a clear delimitation of responsibilities. and appropriate treatment and final disposal. the recovery of operational costs through differentiated charge mechanisms according to generator profile and payment capacity. valued and associated in the solid waste production chain. environmental information dissemination and education as instruments for the transformation of personal and collective production and consumption patterns. integrated solid waste management prioritizes the social. responsible for separating recyclable materials discarded by citizens and selling them to the relevant companies. the formulation of specific policies for solid waste management. irrespective of the socioeconomic level and ethnic origin of the population. Technical-operational – the establishment of a specific department and the appointment of responsible personnel. plays the principal role in the integrated management of the entire system. the definition of training programs. the determination of the appropriate technology for each situation. environmental and political-institutional dimensions and system sustainability. responsible for their own waste. and by means of contracts. Environmental – the development of clean technology for application to solid waste. thus generating income and jobs. that through its agents. In order to guarantee sustainability from a multi-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary perspective. the provision of sufficient capacity in machines and labour to provide universal coverage in public urban cleaning services. including the possibility of consortium solutions. ! the municipality. Integrated solid waste management ! ! large generators. ! health institutions with an internal management of infectious waste that either sterilizes it or appropriately separates it by type for differentiated collection. In addition to the technical and financial aspects of conventional urban cleaning systems and final disposal systems.

3 Institutional models and payment for services 32 .

In summary. and public institutions active in the city and having significant environmental responsibilities. contribute to the solution of socioeconomic problems related with the issue. Policy instrumentation will be structured through the approval of urban cleaning regulations whereby the city legitimizes the adopted management model and social obligations. This priority must be considered in the definition of municipal fiscal policy. community participation is a key element in the sustainability of the system while the municipality is responsible for establishing an integrated management that necessarily includes awareness raising programs for citizens who will then perceive that the political will to prioritize municipal solid waste management exists. and induce an acknowledgment by citizens of their role as consumers and therefore as generators of solid waste. Such regulations must clearly reflect the objectives of the public authority and raise public awareness in regard to appropriate urban solid waste management and environmental problems. and in the subsequent budget allocation to the system that should include provision for environmental education and the development of programs that generate income opportunities and employment. Institutional models and payment for services 3. protect the environment. It is important that citizens know that they are the ones who are paying for the system through taxes.3. Policy making is based on the participation of social leaders. private companies.1 Concept A city’s urban cleaning system should be institutionalized on the basis of an integrated management model that. ! ! ! The municipal solid waste management model not only has to allow for the participation of the community but also specifically facilitate it in order to generate public awareness of the different activities involved in the system and its implementation costs. which has to be technically and socially just. protect inhabitants’ quality of life. cleaner streets. rates or tariffs. to the maximum degree possible. has the capacity to: ! foster the economical sustentability of operations. the appropriate preparation and storage of waste for collection and consequently a cheaper operation. and defines infractions and their respective fines. Such participation would directly result in a reduction of solid waste generation. 33 .

directly or through delegates with the objective of effectively satisfying collective needs. Urban cleaning systems can be administered in different ways: Direct municipal management In this case the provision of urban cleaning services is the responsibility of a municipal department or body. Except where they have been resolved in particular cases. It also facilitates greater management autonomy. 34 . the creation of a specialized labour force and better conditions for budgetary planning. A public service is an activity undertaken by a public body with a view to satisfying a public interest need. low degree of training.3. What characterizes a public service. sanitary and environmental problems. This model is generally used in smaller cities that do not have a volume of service provision that is attractive to the private sector. political interference and frequent crises in the service. the chronic problems inherent to this model are: insufficient budget. and indeterminate service costs. responsible for organizing and providing essential local services and is therefore responsible for urban cleaning services. inevitable bureaucracy.2 Forms of administration In general the municipality is. This model is more flexible than direct municipal administration and is more compatible with the dynamic of daily urban cleaning tasks. Public services are all material activities assigned by law to the State for it to exercise. and distinguishes it from other economic activities. is that it is essential for the community and therefore its provision represents an obligation for the public authority and its management is subject to the legal principles specifically related with the efficient provision of service to the community. The negative results of this group of difficulties are: a dissatisfied public. directly or indirectly. under a partially or totally public regime. Autonomous authority This modality involves the creation of a public company specifically for the administration of urban cleaning.

Outsourcing is based on the concept of public administration undertaking the functions of planning. In addition. It should be emphasized that service outsourcing can be employed on different scales. implements and coordinates the service. they have the necessary flexibility to adopt appropriate alternatives for the provision of some components of the service. workers cooperatives or small companies through contracts established by municipalities. 3. Outsourcing In this model a private sector company is contracted to undertake an activity. organizes. In many LAC cities outsourcing is employed for urban cleaning services with sweeping and/or collection often undertaken by small civil society organizations. from contracting well structured companies. coordination and overseeing while the private company is responsible for operations. including sweeping. All these cases of delegating state functions to civil society authenticate outsourcing as an efficient practice. 35 . In these cases the companies have several responsibilities including planning. This model is only appropriate for large cities as it requires the creation. for example. with a predefined mechanism of payment based on the specific services to be provided and technical-administrative convenience. organization and equipping of a new specialized structure in the municipality. supervision and the charging of tariffs for services provided. treatment.000. Concessions In this modality the concession holder plans. Institutional models and payment for services Positive examples of urban cleaning administration by municipal public companies can be found in some cities in Ecuador. Some functions are undertaken by NGOs. Brazil. to contracting micro-companies or independent workers who undertake waste collection with carts pulled by animals or the manual operation of small-sized landfills. final disposal and the recovery of energy from waste by generating biogas and in some cases selling carbon credits 3. especially in regard to the speed of response to operational requirements (for example the purchase of spare parts for collector vehicles). and can even outsource operations and collect payments directly from users/beneficiaries of the service. Colombia and Costa Rica with populations of no more than 500. if well planned at every stage – from specifications in the bidding phase to the overseeing of operations – can make a large contribution to the municipal administration’s ability to improve the quality of services provided to the public. 2005. specialized in certain types of operation such as landfill management. Integrated Solid Waste Management Workshop organized by IDRC in Sao Paulo. Outsourcing.3.

Free market This model can be applied for example to large-scale solid waste generators when municipal regulations have defined the maximum quantities permitted for collection by the common domestic collection system and have established that large-scale generators have an obligation to contract. definition of reference framework. and the overseeing and control of service provision. has to be selected on the basis of both low cost and environmentally sound technique and with a view to establishing a self-sustainable system that is resistant to changes of administration. but has been widely employed with relative successs in landfill management. All of each municipality’s human and financial resources available for a certain initiative. concession contracts are long term to allow for a return on investments in the system through tariffs charged to users. at their own expense.This management model is adopted in special situations where the public authority does not have the necessary technological or budgetary resources to implement interventions or finance the significant investments that are indispensable in dealing with problems related to municipal solid waste management in general or a particular aspect of it. It can also be applied to the collection of construction rubble and other civil construction waste in order to alleviate the burden on the public system. significant difficulties lie in the limited guarantees that concession holders receive in regard to the collection of payment for their services and the problems that municipalities have in preparing tender specifications. formulation of tender specifications and contracts. although it functions less well when applied in small cities. calculating costs and overseeing services. the issuing authority keeps the ownership of the service and the right to oversee it. including technical decisions. Any of these alternatives. 36 . In the case of public services that are delegated to third-parties through concessions. or any combination of them. which implies a need for technical and administrative training in order to undertake the activities pertaining to the process. This type of modality has proved ineffective for collection services. Consortium A consortium results from an agreement between municipalities with the objective of achieving established common goals. However. authorized companies for the collection of excess waste. program or project are combined in a consortium to facilitate its implementation. In general.

while at the same time taking into account the following factors: ! ! ! ! ! cost of service administration. An association of municipalities for common measures and projects. investment capacity for technological development. Applied in the cases of large-scale generators where regulations define maximum limits for municipal collection. autonomy and flexibility in planning and decision-making. management and supervision. 37 . As has already been said. In such cases management is usually undertaken by a municipal body or department that shares resources with other sectors of public administration. demographic and economic characteristics as well as the socio-cultural particularities of its inhabitants must be considered in defining the form of administration. ! ! ! ! responsiveness to social and political demands. Institutional models and payment for services Table 1 Forms of urban cleaning service administration Administration Direct municipal management Description Urban cleaning activities run by a municipal department or body. responsiveness to operational emergencies. The contracting of a private company to undertake certain activities. autonomy in the application and reallocation of budgetary resources. leaving the generator responsible for contracting a collection company at their own expense. especially in solid waste final disposal. responsiveness to growth in demand for services. Autonomous authority Outsourcing Concession Free market Consortium A city’s urban. direct administration of the entire urban cleaning system is common in small cities. Employed when the public authority lacks sufficient resources to finance the necessary investment in the system. IT systems and quality control. investment capacity for human resources and the generation of income and employment. responsiveness to changing economic circumstances.3. Urban cleaning administration by a public company specifically created for that purpose.

Ecuador. management and administrative services. changing economic circumstances and operational emergencies. as the predetermined form of remuneration established in the contract may not cover them. such as ones relating to social and political demands. All of them are autonomous urban cleaning companies and are therefore able to define their own budget allocations. However. For their part. The existence of such agencies exclusively devoted to urban cleaning demonstrates the commitment of the municipality to keeping the city clean and caring for the urban environment. and by the Public Cleaning Companies of Cuenca. in the context of medium-sized cities in the Andean region. the municipality only undertakes the administration of contracts and the monitoring of service quality and therefore the municipal administrative nucleus can be small. in the context of large Brazilian cities. activities should always be regulated by the public authority. establish human resource policy and most importantly. determine plans. These companies can develop or subsidize research and technologies related to urban cleaning in general as well as specific areas of it. A model that is worth highlighting is the one employed by the Rio de Janeiro City Urban Cleaning Company (COMLURB). the other factors listed above are difficult to achieve and the service tends to have a lower priority than other services sharing the same resources and having a greater potential for political visibility.This type of administration that shares resources with other bodies of the municipality usually has a relatively low cost in comparison with a body or institution exclusively devoted to urban cleaning management. In cases where refuse collection and street cleaning services are outsourced by contracting specialized companies. In such a model there can be problems when unforeseen eventualities arise. strategies and the logistics of their operations. and Pereira. and define the technical terms of contracts. liberating the municipality of the need to invest resources in the purchase of machines and equipment. Whatever model is adopted. 38 . They can also outsource operational. the companies charge the municipality enough to cover both operational costs and capital expenditure. It is therefore advisable that the municipality establishes contract devices or alternative plans to deal with such eventualities. In determining the form of urban cleaning services administration in tourist cities seasonal fluctuations in demand for services has to be particularly taken into consideration. Colombia.

the company responsible for providing such services may also be responsible for collecting payments for them. Institutional models and payment for services In all cases. 3. that is to say that the tariff is proportional to the amount and quality of the service used. It is therefore necessary that municipal policy ensures a sufficiently large budget allocation to cover the cost of the system and essential investment in it. an urban cleaning system can simply be divided into three components: domestic waste collection. and whatever the administration modality. 3 Payment for services The singularities of tax legislation in each Latin American and Caribbean country makes it difficult to compile a complete generalized summary of the issue of payment for urban cleaning services. In the case of domestic waste collection. usually called “Waste Collection Rate (WCR)”. In regard to the collection of payments for service provision. 39 . This chapter therefore concentrates on a basic outline of the subject. refers to a tax on the availability of a public service provided by the public authority. Certain specific services where usage can be measured and users are clearly identifiable can be priced and therefore be charged for exclusively through a tariff. Urban cleaning systems are financed by almost all of the population but not in a direct way. which must be well defined and specifically calculated.3. whether the taxpayer uses it or not. In cases of concession. The value of the rate must reflect divisibility amongst tax-payers in accordance with potential usage by each one. direct or autonomous. The term “tariff” refers to the price charged for a public service provided in an optional form. which in some cases may need to be adapted to the particularities of each country’s legislation. a municipality cannot charge residents of a street for the sweeping and cleaning services of that street in particular as it is an indivisible service. the Municipality can charge residents a specific rate. for example. The term “rate” on the other hand. Financial resources raised by the waste collection rate cannot be allocated exclusively to the system due to municipal tax regulations. street cleaning and final disposal. the municipality has to harmoniously combine two elements: ! ! just and sufficient payment for services. ensured collection of charges for urban cleaning. Similarly.

it has to be taken into account that financial resources raised by cleaning and solid waste management rates become part of the Municipal Treasury. the quality of services deteriorates and a vicious circle is established. which in general is not inclined to increase the tax burden imposed on citizens. until the situation balances itself with an improvement in the quality of services provided. There are no guarantees that they will be used in the urban cleaning sector. of rates or tariffs. Once these issues are resolved. if this is necessary. If it is not possible to adequately finance the system. In some countries only a reform of the tax system would provide municipalities with the necessary instruments to reimburse them in a socially just way for the urban cleaning services that they provide to citizens. There are few legal remedies for the problem of non payment. this being dependent on the political will of the administration or public budget control mechanisms. and even though it is a legally dubious measure. This is being applied to particular geographical areas and follows the “pay as you throw” principle. where payment levels are related to the volume of waste generated.In some Latin American cities there is an incipient trend towards payment through tariffs. There is no consensus about the most appropriate basis on which a municipal rate for financing urban cleaning services should be calculated. or delayed payment. The municipality then has to choose one of the following options: ! to face for a certain period the political cost involved in increasing taxes. In the absence of other available strategies. i.e. in some cases an authority may resort to inscribing the property of the nonpayer in the municipal register of public debt. The municipal solid waste management will be defective due to insufficient resources and the population may not accept the payment of rates because it is not receiving good quality service. There have been attempts to relate the determination of this rate to the consumption of drinking water or electricity. because rubbish put in the street by the non-payer has to be collected anyway for public health reasons. 40 . However this measure does not have much punitive value as it represents only a long term threat to the non-payer in the form of the eventual confiscation of his or her property. as electricity or drinking water provision can be. especially so in view of the socioeconomic conditions of most Latin American and Caribbean populations. Waste collection is not a service that can be suspended when bills are not paid. It is therefore necessary to reverse the tendency to attribute a low priority to urban cleaning services that results in them receiving fewer resources than are necessary. or to the frontage width of the plot. etc. It should also be noted that the updating or correction of the rate depends on authorization by the municipal council.

In such cases a concession can also be an appropriate alternative especially when the necessary investment is higher and requires a more prolonged period to allow for a return on it. It is worth digressing to mention industrial waste management. capital expenditure. undertake collection. a sustainable balance must be established between generators and the private operators of centres for treatment and final disposal. A feasible solution for municipalities that do not have resources for investment is.3. The investment needed for these units is very high and the acquisition of licenses from environmental control bodies involves a long and complicated process. both for the purchase of equipment and the installation of treatment and final disposal units. backup. In regard to investment. when an industry is producing a certain product the cost of an appropriate final disposal of waste generated in the production process should be reflected in the sale price of that product. maintenance. as has already been mentioned. street cleaning. replacement of vehicles and other equipment. In this case. outsourcing through contracts with private companies that. 41 . However. at which point the subsidy can be gradually reduced as its value is gradually incorporated in the rate specifically charged to finance the service. supervision and support services. research. treatment and final disposal services. Institutional models and payment for services ! to subsidize the cost of the service during an initial period until service quality reaches an adequate level. with their own resources (labour and machinery). Payment for urban cleaning systems is calculated by applying the following basic equation: Payments = Expenses Expenses = Municipal Treasury resources + amount collected from WCR + amount collected from tariffs and various other incomes Payments should cover the costs of the system which include expenditure on labour. transport. technological development and administration. municipalities almost invariably need to resort to sources of finance that do not always offer appropriate terms and involve prerequisites that are not easy to adapt to. Here a tariff is determined as the means by which the concession company makes a return on its investment.

or create waste recycling subsidies. taking into consideration factors such as social stratum (with a view to socially just pricing) and operational characteristics. that can be measured) such as special collections. in which case the budget must allow for a specific allocation to the urban cleaning sector. 3. It should be emphasized that all operations not financed by adequate tariffs and an efficient tax collection system. Municipal Treasury resources plus the money from tariffs should be equivalent to the budget for expenditure and capital costs for all the operations involved in the cleaning of a city. The basic WCR value can be adapted to the particularities of individual neighbourhoods in the city. supermarkets. The charging of a realistic and socially just rate that citizens can afford and that effectively covers the cost of services and applies the “he who can pays more” principle implies political measures that are dependant on the will and determination of the mayor.) as well as for other services to which a tariff can be applied (i.1 Guidelines for the calculation of a waste collection rate For the system to be economically sustainable. The establishment of reliable administration and supervision mechanisms for all services relating to urban cleaning is essential in order to correctly ascertain the real costs involved in service provision and therefore the appropriate base for calculating the amount of finance needed to operate the system in an efficient and sustainable way.e. It should be noted that an efficient way of reducing urban cleaning costs is to motivate the population to decrease the amount of waste generated and implement specific programs for the segregation of recyclable waste at source and its selective collection. The payment for waste collection services to large generators (restaurants. otherwise the Municipality would have to reallocate resources designated for other areas.Irrespective of the management model adopted. 42 . will have to be sustained by resources from the Municipal Treasury. hotels.3. etc. medical waste collection and the removal of construction rubble or discarded items. can be charged by collecting companies authorized by the municipality. the basic unit of the waste collection rate (WCR) should be the quotient of the total budget for domestic solid waste collection services and the number of households in the city.

demographic density. Operational characteristics reflect the amount of labour and materials used in the collection process depending on property usage (commercial. as well as costs relating to administration. location. so that higher income sectors subsidize services provided to the less well off. Institutional models and payment for services Social stratum is determined on the basis of the average purchasing power of the inhabitants of different zones of the city.). This approach involves a greater community commitment to segregating waste at source (home. capital expenditure. handling and particularly recycling. In general a distributive criterion is applied. The budget also has to cover the costs of transfer. The establishment of a charging mechanism based on the amount of rubbish generated. monitoring systems. etc. topographic conditions. produces an economic benefit for the population as a whole.3. transport. etc. type of road surface. residential. market. The promotion of this model is important but depends on a wide motivational and educational campaign in the community. etc. shop. so that those who generate more rubbish pay more. management. education and technological development that are linked to collection.) in order to facilitate collection. In recent years a more conservationist vision is increasingly influential in the determination of pricing polices for urban cleaning. treatment and final disposal. 43 .

4 Legislation and environmental licenses 44 .

regulates and determines procedures and the obligations of tax-payers and urban cleaning agents. A combination of citizen cooperation and measures to increase the reliability of urban cleaning services constitutes a powerful pairing that can solve the principal problems relating to urban cleaning systems. Community cooperation should be considered as the principal agent for transforming the efficiency of services and consequently generating beneficial operational and budgetary results. and by not throwing rubbish in the streets. of a political and economic order. ! the second. classifying and recycling materials. establishes the legal forms for institutionalizing the administration of a system and the methods of payment and charging for services. orientates.4. and defines administrative processes and punitive measures. The community participates in this management in two ways: ! ! contributing to the financing of services and monitoring them.1 Introduction Integrated municipal urban cleaning system management is based on the fundamental conceptual premise of community participation and a systematic political exercise involving all institutions linked to the pertinent spheres of government. Citizens can be encouraged to reduce the amount of waste that they produce in order to diminish the costs of the operation.2 Legislation The legislation required to set up an urban cleaning system falls into three general categories: ! the first. 4. cooperating with cleaning by reducing the amount of waste. Measures geared to guaranteeing good quality operations and a well structured program of environmental education need legal instruments that support them. ! the third is the legal structure that regulates general environmental issues on a national basis and in particular deals with licenses for the implementation of activities that represent a risk to public health or the environment. appropriately preparing and storing waste for collection. rulings and regulations that manifest an increasing concern 45 . decrees. This approach could be called the principle of service reliability and citizen cooperation for integrated solid waste management. In Latin American and Caribbean countries there is wide ranging legislation in the form of laws. ordinances. establishes operational codes. segregating. Legislation and environmental licenses 4. reusing.

establish and collect municipal taxes and choose their mayors and councillors. sub-sections VI and VII. Taking into account the urban scale (determined by the number of inhabitants) and the city’s socioeconomic and cultural circumstances. the implementation of environmental impact assessment processes. 46 . which establish that the Brazilian Federation comprises the Union. the form of management. fauna and flora. a municipality can. irrespective of their institutional status in the country. and introduce other public authority instruments aimed at protecting the environment. provide services. regulate the granting of licenses by the relevant municipal body for the exploitation of water and mineral resources. and the requiring where necessary of environmental impact studies or environmental recuperation guarantees prior to the granting of a license. In most Latin American and Caribbean countries. and sub-section VIII grants them exclusive authority to legislate on land planning and land usage in their territory. Article 30 sub-section I allows them to legislate for local matters in the public interest and therefore to implement municipal environmental policy. municipalities are also responsible for the protection of the environment. the Brazilian Federal Constitution determines that a municipality constitutes a political entity. as prescribed by the 1st and 18th articles. In regard to urban cleaning initiatives mostly emanate from municipal councils under their organic law and through local legal instruments. works or activities that actually or potentially produce environmental degradation. Article 225 of the Federal Constitution imposes on public authorities (Union. State and Municipal) and the community a duty to defend and preserve the environment for present and future generations thus establishing that a municipality has an obligation of environmental protection. For example. under their organic law municipalities must decide on the best alternative for the institutionalization of the urban cleaning system. combating contamination and preserving forests. including the making of agreements to improve environmental management. the states and the municipalities. Environment Conservation Fund and Municipal Environment Department). in the section on environmental policy an environmental management system can be established through which environmental policy is implemented (Municipal Council for the Environment. when the governing plan for a city is formulated. either directly or through agreements. municipal urban cleaning regulations should serve as the spine of the city’s urban cleaning system by establishing the essential principles that govern the conduct of both municipal authority and citizens. As established by article 23. the analysis of projects. Specifically.for environmental protection. Furthermore. The municipality can therefore pass environmental protection legislation and enforce it. authorizes them to supplement federal and state legislation where appropriate. the charging of rates and tariffs and associations with other bodies that can contribute or cooperate. The environmental management system will include amongst its functions. the design of environmental protection projects. under its organic law. Municipalities can legislate. Sub-section II of the same article.

establishes criteria for environmental impact assessments and identifies activities that require a prior environmental impact study. Under the legislation of many Latin American countries it is the Environment Ministry that is responsible for issuing licenses. a federal law establishes National Environmental Policy mechanisms. In many cases the renewal of a license is necessary to authorize the recommencement of an operation. Legislation and environmental licenses In recent times an innovative vision. 47 . are dependent on the prior granting of a license by the competent provincial body integrated in the National Environmental System. as for example in Colombia. enlargement and operation of establishments or the undertaking of activities that use environmental resources and are considered as actually or potentially contaminating or degrading to the environment.3 Environmental licenses It is necessary to establish a system for the granting of environmental licenses that defines responsibilities. instalment. The same law requires that the construction. known as ecosystem management. Paraguay. This concept is particularly significant in the case of defective management of solid waste dumps located near the higher courses of rivers that form part of a water basin used for water supplies to cities downstream. specific legislation can be passed that simplifies the processes involved in obtaining environmental licenses and adapts them to the economic capacity of the Municipal Treasury. establishes that the public authority. has come to the fore in environmental assessment: the incorporation of the river basin concept in the definition of the area of influence or impact of a project. especially in the event of natural disasters and particularly so in the case of flooding. Peru and Brazil. must grant the respective licenses before the establishment of an installation and its operation can begin. without prejudice to other required licenses. SISNAMA. echoing the text of the National Environmental Policy law. which requires legal instruments to cover the extrapolation of municipal responsibilities.4. Another legal instrument. 4. Chile. including the granting of licenses and the revision of “actually” or “potentially” contaminating activities. With a view to facilitating the granting of licences for new sanitary landfills and refuse dump recuperation in small and medium-sized municipalities. in exercise of its regulatory function. In Brazil. Waste disposal in water courses represents an environmental risk that renders populations vulnerable. such as the installation of a sanitary landfill.

railway stations and bus terminals and the minimum procedures for its management. ! create security zones around airports that restrict the establishment within them of operations that attract birds. treatment and final disposal. such as: ! the classification of solid waste by its potential risk to the environment and public health. used oils. establishment and operation of non-hazardous waste landfills in order to appropriately protect 48 . airports. should be subject to. ! regulate the final disposal of discarded car. etc. contaminated. ! define appropriate treatment and final disposal for medical waste. uncategorized or abandoned material that is deemed to be a potential source of environmental risk. ! establish criteria for the granting of licences for industrial activities and for the specific controls that existent waste. ! define the responsibilities of and criteria for environmental impact assessments and identify activities that require an environmental impact study.4. truck and bus batteries. ! establish the definition and classification of solid waste from healthcare institutions. ports. recycling. until the relevant environmental body takes responsibility for it. Finally. so that each type of waste can be appropriately handled and disposed of.4 Regulations applicable to solid waste In other Latin American and Caribbean countries there are legal instruments applicable to solid waste management that: ! prohibit the entrance into the country of waste material for final disposal or incineration. there are aspects of solid waste management that can be subject to technical regulations. ! determine a colour code system for different types of waste that must be used for container identification and in educational campaigns on waste segregation. or the generation of waste. ! determine appropriate procedures for the handling of damaged. regulate all related aspects and establish criteria for determining which jurisdictions issue them. ! regulate environmentally sound initial disposal and management of used batteries. reuse. tyres. ! the definition of the minimum conditions required in the planning. including their collection. ! establish criteria for the definition of requirements to obtain licences for works involving sanitary issues. ! establish a system for the granting of environmental licenses.

! the definition of criteria for the presentation of projects to establish municipal solid waste sanitary landfills. ! the definition of criteria for the presentation of projects to establish municipal solid waste controlled landfills. ! the definition of criteria for the planning. Legislation and environmental licenses superficial and underground water resources. establishment and operation of hazardous waste landfills.4. 49 . its operators and neighbouring residents.

definition and characteristics 50 .5 Solid waste: origin.

can be transformed into raw material for a new product or process. biodegradable or soluble waste that can represent health or environmental risks but does not fall within Class I. or Class III. The authors of studies on solid waste tend to use the terms “refuse” and “solid waste” without distinction. toxic or pathogenic and therefore represents a risk to public health in the form of increased mortality or morbidity. undesirable or disposable by the generators and that may be solid or semi-solid” (substances or products with a humidity content of less than 85%).5.1 Potential environmental contamination risks Solid waste can be classified as: CLASS I HAZARDOUS SOLID WASTE Solid waste that is intrinsically inflammable. 5. In this manual solid waste and refuse comprises all solid or semisolid unwanted material that must be collected because the person that discards it considers it to be of no use and gets rid of it by putting it in any receptacle intended for that purpose.2 Solid waste classification Solid waste can be classified in different ways. some regulatory entities define rubbish as: “the leftovers from human activity that are considered useless.1 Definition of rubbish and solid waste The general public tends to think that “rubbish is everything that is not wanted any more and is discarded. The concept of the reuse of waste therefore prompts a reconsideration of the traditional concept of solid waste. reactive. Only material that is not reusable by anybody can be truly considered to be rubbish. The more usual classifications take into account the waste’s potential risk for environmental contamination or its nature and origin. 5. 51 . that in regard to rubbish the term “of no use” is relative. It should be emphasized however.” Technically. CLASS II NON-INERT SOLID WASTE Combustible. inert waste. worn out and without any value. corrosive. Solid waste: origin. things that are useless. hazardous waste. as what is of no use for the person who discards it. or produces adverse environmental impacts when inappropriately handled or disposed of. definition and characteristics 5.2.

does not have any of its dissolved components in concentrations higher than those in drinking water patterns. the characteristics of which depend on the particular activities pursued by such establishments.2 Nature and origin Origin is the principal element in categorizing solid waste. except in regard to aspect. 52 . railway station and bus terminal waste agricultural waste medical waste RESIDENTIAL OR DOMESTIC WASTE Waste generated by daily activities in houses.2. solid waste can be grouped in five categories: ! ! ! ! Residential or domestic waste Commercial waste Street waste Special domestic waste: ! ! ! ! rubble batteries fluorescent tubes tyres ! Special origin waste: ! ! ! ! ! industrial waste radioactive waste port. 5. According to this criterion. apartments. turbidity and taste. colour.CLASS III INERT SOLID WASTE Waste with intrinsic characteristics that do not represent a risk to health or the environment and that when sampled in a representative way in accordance with the relevant norms and subjected to static or dynamic contact with distillate or deionized water at room temperature (dissolution tests). condominiums and other types of residential building. airport. COMMERCIAL WASTE Waste generated by commercial establishments.

soil and sand. such as rubble. together with waste from street cleaning. Large commercial waste generators are establishments that generate more than 120 litres of waste per day. paper. Clearly these sub-categories cannot be adopted without also establishing a minimum interval between any two collections of rubble from the same generator and/or cumulative limits (by volume or weight) for that generator over a certain period. thus producing an additional source of income that contributes to the economic viability of the system.000 kg or 50 bags of 30 litres per day. In general. packaging and food remains. definition and characteristics In urban cleaning terms. Municipal urban cleaning regulations can precisely define these two sub-groups. Alternatively it is important to identify large generators so that the waste generated by them can be collected and transported by a private company authorized by the municipality. This practice reduces by between 10% and 20% the cost of domestic waste collection by the municipality. 53 . Solid waste: origin. and waste discarded by people in a disorganized and improper way. and large rubble generators are those that generate a greater volume each day. branches. Commercial waste and construction rubble can both be divided into two sub-categories: “small generator” and “large generator”. The parameters could be: Small commercial waste generators are establishments that generate up to 120 litres of waste per day. STREET WASTE Waste that is found in the streets produced by nature. Similarly. dust. small generators of construction rubble are individuals or companies that generate up to 1. articles considered to be of no more use. “domestic waste” is made up of “residential waste” and “smallscale commercial waste” which. the quantity of waste that defines the limit between small and large solid waste generators should correspond to the average amount of solid waste generated daily by a household with five residents. such as leaves. In an urban cleaning system the definition of the sub-groups “small” and “large” generators is important because a tariff can be applied to the collection of waste produced by large generators.5. represents the majority of solid waste produced in cities.

It is important to emphasize that construction rubble. plastic. cardboard. SPECIAL DOMESTIC WASTE This category consists of construction rubble. Such material represents 50% of the total weight of municipal solid waste that is collected in cities of the region with more than 500. metal. only comes under this category due to the large amounts in which it is generated and the importance that its recovery and recycling is acquiring globally. for example. batteries. the corresponding figure is approximately 300kg per m². In many countries commonly used construction techniques for new buildings involve a waste of materials. also known as civil construction waste.0 7. 63.000 inhabitants. Rubble The civil construction industry uses more natural resources and generates more waste than any other. glass.0 1.0 29.0 54 . Table 2 Average composition of construction rubble in Brazil Components Percentage (%) Mortar Concrete and concrete blocks Others Organic waste Total Source: USP – University of Sao Paulo. fluorescent tubes and tyres.0 100. While in developed countries the average waste produced in the construction of new buildings is less than 100kg per m². mortar.Street waste is directly related with the aesthetic appearance of a city and special attention should therefore be paid to planning street cleaning services in tourist cities. Civil construction waste is a mixture of inert materials such as concrete. in Brazil. ceramics and soil. wood.

metallic taste in the mouth) congestion. spasm and rigidity) kidney malfunction anaemia. pharynx and oesophagus ulceration. manganese (Mn) and their compounds. rectangular. see table 3. Solid waste: origin. diarrhoea) kidney malfunction pulmonary problems poisoning (when ingested) pneumonitis (when inhaled) cancer Cd (cadmium)* ! ! ! ! * Even in small amounts 55 . nickel (Ni). vomiting. lithium (Li). The substances in batteries that contain these metals are corrosive. kidney and digestive tract lesions insomnia. cadmium (Cd). zinc (Zn). silver and nickel have a negative impact on the environment and particularly on human health. lack of appetite.Hazardous Waste”. vomiting. They can have different shapes (cylindrical. reactive and toxic. convulsions and coma) ! ! Pb (lead)* ! ! ! ! ! gingivitis. silver (Ag). manganese and lithium can also cause environmental problems. definition and characteristics Batteries The basic principle of a battery is the conversion of chemical energy into electrical energy using metals. button cell) and sizes and contain one or more of the following metals: lead (Pb). indigestion dermatitis and arterial hypertension stomatitis (inflammation of the mouth mucosa). pulmonary problems peripheral neuritis (paralysis) encephalopathy (somnolence. headaches. manias. mercury (Hg). Substances that contain cadmium. mercury. Other metals found in batteries such as zinc. and are classified as “Class I . delirium. delirium.5. convulsions brain and neurological lesions that produce psychological problems ! Hg (mercury) ! ! ! ! ! ! digestive problems (nausea. diarrhoea (with blood in the faeces) abdominal pains (especially epigastria. lead. collapse. salivation. Table 3 Contaminant potential of chemical elements used in batteries Element Effects on human health abdominal pains (colic.

Consequently they are classified as Class I hazardous waste because mercury is a toxic substance that attacks the human nervous system and when inhaled or ingested can provoke an enormous variety of physiological problems.) Element Effects on human health digestive disturbances and mouth impregnation argyria (chronic intoxication producing bluish skin colour) death ! Ag (silver) ! ! ! inhalation – causes damage even with immediate attention ingestion – minimal residual damage without treatment Li (lithium) ! ! neurological system malfunctions neurological disturbances stammering and insomnia Mn (manganese) ! ! ! ! pulmonary disturbances can produce residual damage without immediate treatment contact with eyes – causes serious lesion even with immediate attention Zn (zinc) ! ! cancer dermatitis general intoxication Ni (nickel) ! ! Batteries made with non-toxic substances are now available on the market and these can be disposed of without significant problems together with domestic refuse. When mercury is released into the environment and enters bodies of water “bioaccumulation” takes place. 56 . contain mercury steam and release mercury when they are broken. which then become less healthy or even dangerous to consume. both the common cylindrical tubes and the compact fluorescent bulbs.Table 3 (cont. An accumulation of mercury can also occur in the tissues of other wild species such as aquatic birds and animals. Fluorescent tubes Fluorescent tubes. burned or buried in sanitary landfills. When pregnant women eat such fish mercury is transferred to the foetus. a progressive increase in mercury concentrations in the tissue of for example fish. which is particularly sensitive to its toxicity.

57 . For all the above reasons. such as animals. Radioactive waste Waste that emits radiation in excess of limits stipulated by environmental law. Solid waste: origin. Consequently it is necessary to examine each case individually in order to categorize it as Class I (hazardous). airports and terminals results from consumption by passengers in transit and its hazardous nature lies in the risk of transmission of diseases already eradicated from a country when the incoming transports come from an area where such diseases are endemic. storage and final disposal of radioactive waste is undertaken by the National Nuclear Energy Commission (CNEN. the rubber generates huge amounts of particles and toxic gases requiring a very efficient and expensive gas treatment system. for example. Port. airport. preparation. the handling. Transmission can also take place through potentially contaminated loads. Waste from ports. Its composition varies greatly according to the type of product that is being made. If they are disposed of in conventional landfills. definition and characteristics Tyres The inappropriate disposal of tyres generates many environmental problems. The main types of special origin waste are: Industrial waste Waste generated by industrial activity. If left in the open air. airplanes. Class II (non-inert) or Class III (inert). SPECIAL ORIGIN WASTE Waste that due to its particular characteristics requires special handling. the disposal of tyres has become a serious environmental problem that still does not have a truly effective solution. railway station and bus terminal waste This category comprises waste generated in terminals as well as in boats. meat and plants. In Brazil. If incinerated. storage. trains and buses. they will cause hollows in the mass of waste and increase landfill instability. Due to its specific nature and dangerous characteristics its handling.5. in Portuguese). storage and final disposal are the responsibility of national public bodies and are subject to very rigorous controls. tyres accumulate rainwater and serve as a breeding place for mosquitoes thus fostering their proliferation. transport and final disposal.

ampoules. Skeletons or parts of animals that have been inoculated. and waste contaminated by the above materials. it is often mixed with common waste and disposed of in municipal dumps or even worse.2 Blood and blood derivatives A. exposed to pathogenic micro-organisms or are carriers of infectious diseases. Sharp and puncturing Contaminated animals Needles. vaccine that is unusable or past its use-by date. as well as waste contaminated by them.positive blood. scalpel blades and glass. foetuses. anatomical. The handling of this type of waste should therefore follow the same practices and use the same containers and process as those used for the handling of Class I industrial waste. blood and pathological and other organic liquids resulting from surgery and autopexudates sies. blood used for analysis. inoculae.808 of the Brazilian Association of Technical Standards. ABNT) is presented as an example in table 4.3 Surgical. thrown into bodies of water or is burnt in remote rural establishments thus generating toxic gases. anatomical parts. Due to a lack of controls and low fines for inappropriate handling of this type of waste. filters used to prevent inhalation of gases in areas contaminated by infectious agents and any refuse contaminated by the above materials. HIV. Secretions and other organic liquids from patients. serum. A. Blood and blood derivatives past their use-by date.1 Biological A.6 Patient care 58 .4 A. including remains of food. Medical waste This category consists of all the waste generated by healthcare institutions. plasma and other derivatives.Agricultural waste This category mostly comprises the remains of containers and packaging impregnated with dangerous pesticides and chemical fertilizers used in agriculture.Tissue. A. as well as waste that has been in contact with them. The classification of medical waste according to Brazilian standards (NBR 12. organs. pipettes.5 A. Table 4 Classification of medical waste Type Name Characteristics Class A – Infectious waste Cultures. a mix of micro organisms and an inoculated culture medium coming from clinical or research laboratories.

3 Characteristics of solid waste Solid waste characteristics can vary according to the social. reactive genotoxic or mutagenic waste. Table 5 shows the variation in waste composition in some particular countries from which it can be deduced that the percentage of organic matter tends to diminish in more developed or industrialized countries.20 10. Table 5 Gravimetric composition of waste in some countries (%) Component Organic matter Glass Metal Plastic Paper Brazil 65. Solid waste: origin.5. gravimetric composition.50 41. definition and characteristics Table 4 (cont. corrosive. explosive.20 8.80 5. cultural.50 USA 35. nuclear medicine services and radiotherapy.80 The Netherlands 50. inflammable.30 14.00 Waste can be analyzed according to its physical.70 6. Toxic.60 8. 5. interdicted or of no further use. due to its similarity with domestic waste.40 3.1 Physical characteristics Solid waste can be categorized according to the following physical characteristics: per capita generation.00 22. contaminated. B.2 B.80 18. apparent specific weight.3 Class C – Common waste C Common waste Waste that does not fall into classes A or B and that. geographical and climatic factors that distinguish one community from another and even one city from another. humidity content and compressibility. economic. probably due to the large amount of semiprepared food available in the market.1 Radioactive waste Pharmaceutical waste Hazardous chemical waste Radioactive material or material contaminated with radionuclide. does not present any additional risk to public health.00 Germany 61. 59 . chemical and biological characteristics.00 25.50 6. originating in clinical analysis laboratories.00 3.70 6. Medicine that is past its use-by date.00 4.00 3.3.) Type Name Characteristics Class B – Special waste B. 5.

000 a 500.00 Like table 6. Although representative of averages determined by several studies.Variation in per capita solid waste generation in relation to population size 60 . In the absence of precise data. these parameters should be considered with certain reservations as particular local conditions may produce distortions in individual cases.000 from 30.50 a 0. Tabla 6 Frequently used categories for determining per capita solid waste generation Size of the city Small Medium-sized Large Megalopolis Urban population (inhabitants) Up to 30.50 from 0.000.00 over 1.80 a 1.80 from 0.000 Generation per capita (kg/inhab/day) 0. Figure 4 .000.000 a 5. based on statistical data.PER CAPITA GENERATION The relation between the amount of solid waste produced in a given region per day and the number of inhabitants in that region. per capita generation can be estimated through table 6.000 from 500. figure 4 shows the correlation between the per capita generation of solid waste and the population of cities.000 over 5. determine the daily waste generation per inhabitant in relation to the population’s socioeconomic profile. However. the ideal is to carry out field research and.

This type of simplified category list. The most commonly used categories in the determination of the gravimetric composition of municipal solid waste can be found in table 7. for example considering only paper/cardboard. many technicians tend to simplify the categories. glass. Table 7 Most common components in gravimetric composition Organic matter Paper Cardboard Rigid plastic Malleable plastic PET Ferrous metals Non-ferrous metals Aluminium Transparent glass Coloured glass Wood Rubber Leather Cloths Bones Ceramics Fine aggregate The decision about which components to include in a gravimetric composition study is made on the basis of the type of study to be carried out and must involve great care to avoid distortions. 61 . metal. as are the markets for ferrous and non-ferrous metals. although useful for determining the dimensions of a composting plant or other urban cleaning system installations. Solid waste: origin. It is fundamental for determining the dimensions of necessary equipment and installations. However. for example. 180 kg/m³ for medical waste and 1300 kg/m³ for construction rubble. However. the following general specific weight values can be used: 230 kg/m³ for domestic waste. organic matter and “other”.5. it is necessary to carefully evaluate the specific situation before adopting these values as variations exist in peoples customs and practices across the different regions and countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. is not ideal in a precise economic study for recycling or selective collection as. definition and characteristics GRAVIMETRIC COMPOSITION Gravimetric composition indicates the percentage of the total weight of an analyzed waste sample that each component represents. If precise data is not available. the market for rigid plastics is very different from the market for malleable plastic. APPARENT SPECIFIC WEIGHT The apparent specific weight is the weight of loose waste in relation to the volume that it freely occupies without any form of compacting and is expressed in kg/m³. plastic.

organic matter. measured as a percentage of its weight. must be heeded when operating a landfill. total mineral residue. called expansion.3. COMPRESSIBILITY Compressibility is the degree of compacting that is possible. on average the volume of waste can be reduced to between a third (1/3) and a quarter (1/4) of its original volume. The average calorific value of domestic solid waste is approximately 3. CHEMICAL COMPOSITION The chemical composition indicates the amount of ashes.000 kcal/kg. This phenomenon.2 Chemical characteristics CALORIFIC VALUE This chemical characteristic indicates the potential heat generating capacity of a material when incinerated. This parameter can vary by between 40% and 60 % depending on the season and amounts of rainfall. soluble mineral residue and fats contained in solid waste. nitrogen. POTENTIAL OF HYDROGEN (pH) The potential of hydrogen indicates the acidity or alkalinity of waste which is generally found to be between 5 and 7. the reduction of volume that can be achieved in a mass of solid waste when it is compacted. When the compacting pressure is withdrawn the mass of solid waste tends to expand but it does not return to its original volume. calcium. phosphorus. 62 . that is. 5.HUMIDITY CONTENT The humidity content is the amount of water contained by solid waste. Subjected to a pressure of 4kg/cm². potassium. carbon.

It is important for determining vehicle and machine capacity requirements. together with the chemical characteristics. final disposal and degraded site recuperation processes are being developed based on the biological characteristics of waste.3. Table 8 Influence of waste characteristics on urban cleaning Characteristics Importance This data is fundamental for estimating the amount of Per capita generation waste to be collected and disposed of. 5.3 Biological characteristics Solid waste biological characteristics are determined by the microbial and pathogenic agent populations and. 63 .5. In general for domestic waste that ratio is around 35/1. Knowledge of the biological characteristics of solid waste has been extensively utilized to develop odour inhibitors and substances used to delay or accelerate the decomposition of organic matter. which are generally applied inside collection vehicles to avoid or minimize problems caused to people along the routes of the vehicles. tariffs charged for collection and the necessary capacity of all the units that comprise the urban cleaning system. Solid waste: origin.4 Influence of solid waste characteristics on urban cleaning system planning Table 8 illustrates the influence of solid waste characteristics on urban cleaning system planning and on the design of certain units that form part of the system. definition and characteristics CARBON/NITROGEN RATIO (C/N) The Carbon/Nitrogen ratio indicates the degree of decomposition of solid waste organic matter in treatment and final disposal processes. inform the selection of appropriate treatment and final disposal methods. Similarly. 5.

64 . Contributes to the determination of the most appropriate form of treatment for collected waste. An important indicator in the solid waste decomposition process in treatment and final disposal units. Important for determining the potential risk posed by solid pH Chemical composition waste to human health and the environment. thereby indi- Apparent specific weight Humidity content rectly influencing the determination of required incinerator and composting plant capacity.). Important in determining the sanitary risk posed by solid C/N ratio Biological characteristics waste. Fundamental to the evaluation of composting process evolution and determining the quality of the compost produced. pyrolysis. Fundamental for the identification of odour inhibitors and substances to accelerate or delay the decomposition of organic matter in solid waste. Directly influences the decomposition rate of matter in the composting process. Directly influences the calorific value and apparent specific weight of solid waste. Indicates the degree of corrosiveness of collected waste and is used to establish the type of protection against corrosion that it is necessary to apply to vehicles. transfer stations with waste compaction facilities and fixed compaction containers. etc. mobile and fixed containers and other collecting equipment. Very important for determining the required capacity of Compressibility collection vehicles. the use of organic matter to produce compost and the application of other processes to the solid waste.Table 8 (cont. Fundamental to correctly quantifying the required capacity of the collection fleet. Influences the determination of the required capacity of Calorific value installations for all thermo treatment processes (incineration.) Characteristics Importance Indicates the potential for the commercialization of recy- Gravimetric composition clable components. Directly influences the calculation of percolate production and the required capacity of the percolate collection system. machines and metal containers and boxes.

definition and characteristics 5. malleable plastic and metal) increase in organic matter content School holidays ! ! population decrease in non-tourist areas population increase in tourist areas Other festivals ! increase in drinks container content (cans.5 Factors that influence solid waste characteristics Clearly during rainy periods the humidity content in solid waste increases and during the celebrations around the end of the year. and throughout the summer.5. the percentage of aluminium (beer and cold drinks cans) in the waste increases. glass and rigid plastic bottles) Special periods Christmas / New Year ! ! increase in packaging content (paper/ cardboard. Consequently it is necessary to take into account seasonal factors that can influence particularly the physical characteristics of solid waste in order to avoid wrong conclusions in determining the overall characteristics of waste. glass and rigid plastic bottles) Demographic Urban population size ! the larger the urban population the greater the per capita solid waste generation 65 . Solid waste: origin. Table 9 shows the principal factors that have a strong influence on solid waste characteristics. Table 9 Principal factors that influence solid waste characteristics Factor Climatic/seasonal Rain Autumn Summer ! ! ! Effect increase in humidity content increase in leaf content increase in drinks container content (cans. Bank holidays and school holidays have an influence on the quantity of solid waste generated in tourist cities.

Not all municipalities can afford to set up laboratories to determine the chemical or biological characteristics of solid waste. humidity content and per capita generation.) Factor Socioeconomic Purchasing power ! Effect the higher the purchasing power of the population. SAMPLE PREPARATION collect initial samples with a volume of 2 to 3m³ from un-compacted solid waste (loose refuse). gravimetric composition. an oven and tools and implements commonly used in urban cleaning. ! 66 .Table 9 (cont. the higher the proportion of recyclable material and the lower the proportion of organic matter Purchasing power (monthly) ! greater consumption of luxury goods immediately after payday (end and beginning of month) Purchasing power (weekly) Technological development ! greater consumption of luxury goods at weekends ! reduction in apparent specific weight of waste due to the introduction of increasingly lighter products Commercial promotions ! increase in the amount of packaging 5. The practical procedures presented below are employed to determine municipal solid waste specific weight. The physical characteristics however can be easily determined through processes undertaken in the field and only require: 200 litre metal containers. the samples must be taken from different collection sectors to obtain results that are as realistic as possible. a 150 kg capacity weighing machine.6 Processes for determining principal physical characteristics Amongst the various types of solid waste characteristics the physical ones are the most important to identify for proficient urban cleaning services management. or have the financial resources to contract private laboratories.

e. Solid waste: origin. using shovels and hoes to rip plastic bags and break cardboard boxes. APPARENT SPECIFIC WEIGHT DETERMINATION ! weigh each of the filled 200 litre containers and determine the net weight of the waste subtracting the weight of the container. 67 . 1m³. ! after filling the containers. break up the rest of the selected quarter with machetes in a place that is protected from the elements (sun. crates and other materials used to package the waste. ! ! weigh each component separately.5. GRAVIMETRIC COMPOSITION DETERMINATION ! ! define the list of components to identify depending on the objectives. ! ! separate the waste according to the defined list of components. rain. ! repeat the previous procedure until the volume of each of the quarters is just over 1m³: ! separate one quarter at random and use it to completely fill five previously weighed 200 litre metal containers. not adjacent ones). determine the apparent specific weight (expressed in kg/m³) by dividing the total net weight of the waste in the five containers (in kg) by the total volume of the 5 containers. definition and characteristics ! deposit the initial samples on a sheet of canvas extended on flat land and mix them until obtaining one homogeneous pile. ! divide the pile of homogenized waste into four equal parts and select two of them (always opposite quarters. Mix these two parts homogenizing the content (the remaining two quarters should be sent for final disposal in the landfill). classify as “other” all material found that does not fall into any of the categories on the predefined list of components. wind or high temperature). fill a two litre container with the broken up material and close the container as hermetically as possible. divide the total weight of the sample by the weight of each component and calculate the percentage of each component in relation to the whole in order to determine the gravimetric composition. ! ! add up the net weights. i. spread the contents of one of the containers on a canvas sheet extended on flat land.

these are atypical days for the purposes of determining waste generation. put the sample in an oven at 105ºC for 24 hours or at 75º C for 48 hours. convert the total volume (in m³) of waste that has arrived at the landfill into total weight (in kg). ! measure the volume of waste taken to the landfill during one working week. using the specific weight value determined by applying the technique described in a previous section. ! ! ! CALCULATION OF PER CAPITA GENERATION The per capita generation of solid waste can be determined by means of field studies on households pre-selected on the basis of appropriate statistical data so that they are representative of the overall socioeconomic profile of the population. or by means of procedures undertaken at the final disposal site that produce relevant data. based on the above percentage and the total number of inhabitants in the city calculate the number of inhabitants served by the collection service. The following is a simplified calculation methodology for use in cities without a weighbridge to weigh solid waste on arrival at the final disposal site.HUMIDITY CONTENT DETERMINATION ! weigh the two litre sample. weigh the dry material repeatedly until the weight remains constant. due to collection patterns. 68 . ! ! calculate the per capita generation rate by dividing the total weight of waste (in kg) by the number of inhabitants served and then dividing this result by seven to obtain the daily rate. subtract the dry material weight from the humid sample weight thus determining the percentage of humidity. ! ! estimate the percentage of the population served by the collection service. The following observations are significant: ! sample collection and the measurement of waste being taken to a landfill must never be undertaken on a Sunday or Monday as.

5. Solid waste: origin. ! 69 . definition and characteristics ! in tourist cities samples should never be taken during school holidays or bank holidays. ! never measure humidity content on a rainy day. unless a determination of seasonal influence on the city’s waste generation is required. where possible measurements should always be taken between the 10th and the 20th of a month to avoid distortions nearer the end of a month.

6 Solid waste quantity projections 70 .

it is necessary to have demographic data on the resident and seasonal populations.000 that is growing at an annual rate of 3% and where the per capita waste generation has been measured as 530g/ inhab/day.000 51.287 73.426 75.629 77.642 85.338 65. With a projection horizon of 20 years population values would be as in table 10: Table 10 Demographic projection Year Current 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Urban population (inhabitants) 50.675 90.493 63. the larger the per capita solid waste generation.963 59. A careful analysis should be made of up to date demographic data in order to make reliable population projections (see table 10) and calculate solid waste production over time. Let us suppose that a projection is required for an urban cleaning system in a nontourist city with a current urban population of 50.275 57.6.211 71. especially in tourist cities where tourists can sometimes generate more solid waste than permanent residents.045 54.238 67.636 56.195 Year 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Urban population (inhabitants) 69. in 71 .235 82. Therefore. Solid waste quantity projections For an accurate solid waste generation projection.898 80.702 61.121 87. It is important to have data on seasonal fluctuations in population numbers and to take this into account when making projections for solid waste generation in tourist cities. The following example shows procedures to be followed.500 53.305 It is known that the greater the economic development of a city (in general related to population size).

54 0.500 53.5 39.493 63.8 44.629 77.195 69.55 0.338 65.675 90.54 0.6 33.3 37.55 Amount of waste (t) 26.53 0.2 35.54 0./day) 0.53 0.8 48.53 0.275 57.3 28.53 0.54 0.53 0.287 73.55 0.426 75.7 41.55 0.54 0.963 59.4 38.8 30.1 45.55 0.54 0.235 82.636 56.7 31.045 54.238 67.305 Per capita (g/inhab.55 0.5 46.642 85.6 42.53 0.2 34.5 27.0 29.2 49.7 72 .898 80.such a case the evolution of the per capita production would be estimated as in table 11: Table 11 Evolution of per capita solid waste generation Period Year 1 to 7 Year 8 to 14 Year 15 to 21 Per capita (g/inhab/day) 530 540 550 Thus the projected amount of solid waste produced daily over 20 years is as in table 12: Table 12 Projected amount of solid waste generation Year Current 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Demographic projection (inhabitants) 50.1 29.54 0.2 36.53 0.121 87.702 61.55 0.211 71.000 51.

At the end of the five years an assessment of the situation is made and if necessary planning is updated. it is common to consider a five year projection horizon for planning waste collection and the cleaning of streets and other public spaces. 73 . Solid waste quantity projections When an Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan is formulated. For projections relating to solid waste treatment and final disposal a 15 year term is more common. especially in mediumsized and large cities in Latin America and the Caribbean.6. A five year horizon is used because changes in a city’s urbanization are significant over a period of time greater than that.

7 Solid waste preparation and storage 74 .

cockroaches and other disease vectors that feed and breed in the refuse. minimizing visual and odour impacts. reducing waste heterogeneity (in the case of selective collection). 75 . Appropriate preparation and storage is important for: ! ! ! ! ! avoiding accidents. mice.7.1 Concept Pre-collection solid waste preparation and storage should be done in an appropriately sanitary way taking into account the type and quantity of waste 7. avoiding vector proliferation. such as dogs. In addition such domestic waste attracts rats. which results in waste being scattered over a large area. In many cities open air domestic waste accumulation points appear spontaneously causing scattered refuse in the streets. that roam freely in the streets and frequently tear rubbish bags and knock down containers to access the remains of food. horses and pigs. damage to the environment and a risk to public health. In urban zones of low quality dwellings and low demographic density there are generally more animals. Citizens participation in this operation is therefore of great importance. flies.2 The importance of appropriate preparation and storage The quality of solid waste collection and transportation operations depends on an appropriate preparation and storage of waste and its presence in the place. facilitating collection. Solid waste preparation and storage 7. on the day and at the time established by the urban cleaning body responsible for collection. Figure 5 – Open air solid waste accumulation point Incorrectly prepared and stored solid waste attracts animals.

supermarket type or specifically for refuse.3 Characteristics of pre-collection storage containers The choice of container type should be based on: ! ! ! ! ! refuse characteristics. ! the relevant public body takes action to contain the proliferation of rats and mice. quantity of refuse generated. stationary or on wheels. 76 . An example can be found in cities in the north and northeast of Brazil. 7. plastic bags. This is a way of using discarded tyres but the containers are heavy and not very practical. type of building. ! a more appropriate type of container is provided for the solid waste. sometimes cut in half.To limit damage caused by the activities of such animals it is recommended that: ! the municipality implements regular operations to remove animals that are free in the streets. price of container. wood or cardboard boxes. There are also creative initiatives for storing this type of waste. ! ! refuse collection is more frequent and regular in such zones. used oil and fuel drums. large metal or plastic containers. where alternative containers are skilfully made with old tyres. Receptacles for domestic waste pre-collection storage should have the following characteristics: ! a maximum loaded weight of 30 kg if the collection is manual. Larger containers should be standardized so that they can be handled by mechanical devices incorporated in the collector vehicles in order to reduce manual labour. In Latin American and Caribbean cities diverse containers are used for putting out and storing domestic waste for collection: ! ! ! ! ! metal or plastic bins. with special anchoring devices that enhance their stability. however they are acceptable in the context of the socioeconomic conditions that prevail for most inhabitants there. inhabitants of such zones are instructed to put refuse out in the street at a time as close as possible to the collection time. frequency of collection.

they are light. including when separately packaged. ! economical and affordable for the general public. ! ! From a planning perspective another characteristic has to be taken into account: whether the receptacles are returnable or non-returnable. Another issue is that most plastic bags are non-biodegradable. containers) should have lids and be stable enough that they are not easily knocked over. there are not many objections to their use. polythene bags do not contaminate the atmosphere when appropriately incinerated. but as the use of sanitary landfills is a practically definitive waste disposal method. easy to empty without leaving waste at the bottom. 77 . From an environmental perspective there are usually reservations about the use of plastic bags for domestic waste storage. In the latter case collection will be more efficient. However. Rigid and semi-rigid receptacles (plastic and metal bins. it can be concluded that plastic bags are the most convenient receptacles for storing domestic waste prior to manual collection because: ! they are easy to close by tying. Flexible packaging (plastic bags) should be closable. after collection there will be no receptacles left on the street and residents will not need to clean receptacles. ! safe in that injury is not caused to users or collectors by sharp edged or pointed waste. the use of supermarket plastic bags (used for transporting purchased products to the home) can be acceptable for the pre-collection storage of domestic waste as they do not involve any extra cost. In Latin American and Caribbean cities where the income level of most inhabitants is low. ! closable in order to avoid waste spillage or exposure. non-returnable (so collection is more efficient) and allow for silent collection.7. For these reasons. ! ! their price is affordable and they can be standardized. Solid waste preparation and storage ! devices that facilitate its movement between its place in the building and the place of collection. not producing excessive noise when handled. an important factor particularly for nocturnal collections. especially in connection with waste incineration processes.

are light. it being fundamental for example. 78 . appropriate procedures to reduce the risk of injury to collectors must always be observed. Plastic bags with a capacity of more than 100 litres are not safe as collectors tend to hold them against their bodies while carrying them to the truck and pieces of glass and other sharp objects in the waste can injure them. and economical due to their durability (especially if not exposed permanently to sunlight) and have a pleasing appearance. relatively silent. that they wear appropriate protection gloves. Figure 6 – Standardized wheelie bins 7. wheelie bins and metal containers. There are wheelie bins of 120.In regard to the safe handling of plastic bags containing waste. For multi-family housings (apartment blocks) and office blocks standardized wheelie bins with lids are more appropriate as they allow for semi-automatic collection. which is more efficient and safer. These containers are easy to handle as they have wheels.4 Domestic waste pre-collection preparation and storage The most appropriate containers for pre-collection domestic waste storage are plastic bags. 240 and 360 litre capacity on the market.

but can also be used for certain public waste (for example when they are used to store the waste from street sweeping). 30. Figure 7 – Plastic wheelie bin Metal containers These receptacles.7. different only in their colour from those for residential waste. They are made of partly recycled material plus additives to protect them from the action of ultraviolet rays. They are used for the storage and transport of domestic waste. Solid waste preparation and storage Plastic bags Waste can be stored in non-returnable plastic bags to be collected by collection vehicles.100 litres (four wheeled containers). Domestic waste produced by large generators – the collection and transport of which should be undertaken if possible by private companies authorized by the municipality – can be stored in containers similar to the one in figure 7. a lid and wheels. 240 or 360 litres (two wheeled bins) and 760 or 1. a capacity of 20. a colour standardized by the relevant body In general these characteristics are regulated by technical standards. Figure 8 – Metal container 79 . a tape to close the top. 50 or 100 litres. generally have four small wheels and can be emptied by means of tipping devices installed in compaction trucks.500 litres. Such plastic bags should have the following characteristics: ! ! ! ! resistance so that they do not break when handled. comprising a body. with a capacity that ranges between 750 and 1. Plastic wheelie bins These are containers made of high density polyethylene (HDPE) with a capacity of 120.

80 . The high costs of the production. a standardized colour and a special hole in the front part of the lid represents a good option for storing discarded batteries. due to an ever intensifying use of portable electrical and electronic gadgets. squares. avenues and other public spaces that people pass through. Currently plastic rubbish bins are increasingly used as they are lighter.Figure 9 – Mechanized metal container tipping 7. in order to maintain the city in a hygienic and clean condition.5 Pre-collection storage of street waste Rubbish bins There are several types of container that can be installed in the street for passers-by to deposit rubbish. public gardens. streets. Such rubbish bins have a capacity of 50 litres and consist of a body in which rubbish is deposited. a growing environmental awareness in society is resulting in the separation of used batteries that. For many years this type of container was metallic and was of a shape and colour determined by municipal administrations. They are made of partly recycled material plus additives to protect them from the action of ultraviolet rays. easier to install and cheaper. are becoming increasingly numerous. For example. This type of bin can be used for other purposes. maintenance and replacement of these metal bins were an obstacle to them being more widely used. In this context the use of plastic rubbish bins with a 50 litre capacity. a lid and a metal tray to stub out cigarettes before throwing them into the bin. more durable. These containers should be installed in parks.

can be bigger. Solid waste preparation and storage Figure 10 – Rubbish bin Figure 11 – Battery bin Plastic bags Plastic bags similar to those used for residential waste can be used for the pre-collection storage of public waste. Construction rubble requires the use of thicker plastic bags with less volumetric capacity due to the higher specific weight of the material to be stored. The difference is that bags for public waste. Metal containers used for public waste pre-collection storage are stationary receptacles generally with a volumetric capacity of 5 or 7 m³ that can be emptied by compactor trucks (depending on the nature of the waste) or by dumpster carrier trucks equipped with a multifunctional crane to load and unload the containers. However metal containers are different. Wheelie bins /stationary containers As with plastic bags. This system is also known as “brooks” or “dumpster”.– Dumpster carrier truck with multifunction crane transporting stationary container 81 . This type of container is interchangeable and the vehicle that collects a full container brings an empty one to replace it. particularly that collected by sweeping. Figure 12 . plastic containers for public waste are exactly like those used for storing residential waste.7.

users tend to ignore it. and are handled by special vehicles. Consequently as waste is produced it is taken out of the houses and put on the street.7. They are stationary closed metal containers with an incorporated waste compaction device. operational and economic capacities of the municipality. Such problems result from a series of factors. and when they do have one. If it is not possible to provide plastic containers. Their use depends on the amount of waste generated by a community and the technical. 82 .6 Pre-collection storage of waste in low demographic density and low-income areas In informal settlement dwellings and low-income housing estate households there is usually little space for storing waste. one of which is the design of the containers that in general do not have a lid. there can be fires due to acts of vandalism and a bad odour is produced. animals forage in it. which results in the above mentioned environmental and sanitary problems. amongst other problems. In such circumstances standardized plastic containers (with wheels and lid) can be located at previously determined points with as frequent collections as possible. one alternative is to provide brooks type dumpsters. awareness raising campaigns should be instigated in the community and an efficient supervision system should be set up. For all the above reasons. Figure 13 – Brooks dumpster outside a low income community settlement Compaction containers represent a more appropriate solution than brooks dumpsters for pre-collection storage of domestic solid waste in such special areas. waste becomes scattered around it. when this type of storage is adopted containers must be changed at appropriately frequent and rigorously observed intervals in order to maintain the cleanliness of the area. However experience demonstrates that this type of container does not produce satisfactory results as.

The associations hire their own employees and are responsible for the management of the work. Solid waste preparation and storage Figure 14 – Compaction container system It is advisable to establish a team of workers to operate a system for maintaining clean and hygienic conditions in the most problematic poor communities. For collections from large generators and public establishments. in general two main types of large container with a capacity of more than 360 litres are used: 83 . 7. provides technical support and supervises the quality of the operation. Satisfactory results from this type of program have led to its implementation in almost all of Rio de Janeiro’s informal settlements. The limit of 120 litres was established to correspond with the capacity of the smallest plastic container with lid and wheels that is available on the market. It is practical for containers used by large generators to be different in colour and size from those used for normal collections in order to facilitate supervision (for example.7. blue containers for large generators and orange containers for normal collections). contracts are established with residents associations in low income communities whereby they undertake the operation of domestic waste collection and cleaning services for internal streets.7 Pre-collection storage of waste produced by large generators Where a specific regulation specifies that commercial and industrial establishments generating more than 120 litres of solid waste per day are categorized as “large generators”. One of the conditions of this type of contract is that local labour is employed so that local jobs are generated and the community’s awareness of these issues increases as it becomes directly responsible for the cleaning of the settlement. containers for the pre-collection storage of such waste should be standardized. Rio de Janeiro for example. In some cities. The body responsible for urban cleaning pays for the services undertaken.

Figure 15 – Double dumpster carrier truck with interchangeable containers Figure 16 Roll-on /roll-off truck 7. a significant problem is caused for the circulation of passers-by and vehicles as well as for parking vehicles. Interchangeable containers are moved by dumpster carrier trucks with multifunctional cranes or by roll-on /roll-off type trucks. Due to the large volumes of rubble. The very large containers (20 to 30 m³) are moved by roll-on/roll-off truck equipment either with steel cables pulled by a winch or by hydraulic cylinders. construction rubble is normally stored in stationary metal containers of 4 or 5m³. that are interchangeable or are emptied into collection trucks. Containers of up to 5m³ are emptied into collection trucks by means of steel cables powered by hydraulic devices. generally metal.500 litres. similar to those used for storing public waste. 1. and can be equipped with electric devices for compaction. In addition construction rubble uses a lot of space in sanitary landfills. and therefore the size of containers needed to store it. in which cases they are informally referred to as “compactainers”. space that could be used to deposit non-recyclable types of waste. ! stationary containers without wheels. the reduction of waste and the reuse of it and its by-products are fundamental to the new approaches that society must adopt. In general these containers have a capacity of 760. These metal containers have a capacity of 3 to 30 m³. Within the concept of sustainable development established by Agenda 21.8 Special domestic waste pre-collection storage Construction rubble Due to its high apparent specific weight. The biggest challenges presented by construction rubble are: 84 .! metal or plastic (high density polyethylene) containers on wheels that are taken to collection vehicles and mechanically emptied into them.150 or 1.

commercial outlets and technical assistance networks. have resulted in them often ending up together with the general domestic waste in sanitary landfills where they contaminate the environment. responsibility for the storage. 85 . transport and final disposal of batteries should be taken on by producers. Partially discharged nickel-cadmium batteries must be individually pre-wrapped in plastic bags. Batteries Partially discharged batteries must be stored in such a way that their electrodes do not come into contact with the electrodes of other batteries or with metal objects such as the internal sides of a metal drum. transport and storage of discarded batteries. ! to reuse generated rubble in the productive cycle thus reducing the consumption of energy and natural resources. Containers with stored batteries must be sealed to avoid the release of hydrogen. which is explosive in contact with the air. stored and handled. Such legislation should reflect the “polluter pays” principle. Fluorescent tubes Fluorescent tubes also require specific legislation to regulate the way in which they are discarded.7. recycling. collection. Solid waste preparation and storage ! to reduce the amount of rubble generated thus reducing the use of limited space available for disposal. Due to their toxicity and the difficulties involved in stopping them being discarded in domestic refuse. importers. Storage containers should be located in places with good ventilation and protection from the elements. Any legal measures implemented for the regulation of such a system must set a specific timeframe for these stakeholders to establish operational mechanisms for the collection. Legislation should also establish a timeframe within which producers and importers of batteries must implement reuse. and must be kept on platforms or pallets in order to keep them dry. treatment and final disposal systems. The large numbers and variety of devices that use batteries. and their treatment and final disposal. together with their small size and the general public’s lack of knowledge about the dangers that they pose.

if possible plastic ones. ! all boxes should be labelled. ! broken tubes should be stored in sealed containers and labelled in the following way: “Broken fluorescent tubes containing mercury”. ! ! ! ! if a tube breaks. producers and importers of tyres should be obliged to collect and dispose of discarded tyres in an environmentally sound way. ! if it is necessary to keep them. tubes should not be broken or physically modified. Tyre storage should respect the following guidelines: ! tyres should not be accumulated but should be sent for disposal at the time that they are discarded. accompanied by the following information: ! ! ! source (name and address of company or institution). a record of these invoices must be kept for at least three years. and following the example of the system for dealing with batteries. Discarded tyres have been used as fuel in furnaces for the production of cement and also to produce asphalt.Procedures for handling fluorescent tubes that contain mercury must respect the following requirements: ! intact tubes should be stored in boxes. One of the principal problems with the storage of tyres for collection or recycling is that they accumulate water when left out in the open and thus facilitate the proliferation of disease vectors. once a sufficient number of tubes has been accumulated they should be sent for recycling. date dispatched. this should be done in covered areas protected from the elements. number of tubes sent. Tyres Due to problems associated with the inappropriate disposal of tyres. details of the transport company and the recycling company. the pieces of glass must be removed and the area must be washed. 86 . in a reserved area to avoid them being broken. ! they should never be burned.

Solid waste preparation and storage 7. or other situations of risk identified by the body responsible for sanitary vigilance.7. concrete. etc. i. usually of woven polypropylene. storage and management. ! ! ! standardized plastic containers of 120. ! containers must be radiation proof (lead. special methods must be applied to the handling of personal waste and goods coming from countries with epidemics. flexible containers.9 Special origin waste pre-collection storage Industrial waste Industrial waste is usually stored in: ! 200 litre metal drums for non-corrosive solid waste. In normal conditions. bags. Medical waste The handling of medical waste (see table 4) must follow specific regulations that stipulate procedures for waste segregation at source. It is therefore necessary to establish permanent sanitary vigilance and handle waste in a particularly hygienic manner. However in cases of quarantine alert. 240. Radioactive waste The handling and storing of radioactive waste must comply with the stipulations of the national body responsible for the control and supervision of this type of waste. 1.600 litres for waste that allows for the use of returnable containers. which include the following requirements: ! personnel handling this type of waste must use the obligatory minimum individual protection equipment. 360.).100 and 1.e. handling and storage of waste follows the same procedures and uses the same receptacles as those for domestic waste. 750. with a large storage capacity almost always of more than 1m³. 87 . 200 or 300 litre plastic drums for corrosive solid waste or semi-solid waste in general. ! medium-sized cardboard boxes of up to 50 litre capacity for waste to be incinerated. Port and airport waste From a sanitary perspective ports and airports are places where not only people and goods disembark but also diseases.

recyclable opaque colours – common waste. Special waste should be stored in receptacles that guarantee its physical integrity.The principal procedure is the segregation at source of infectious and common waste. Puncturing and sharp waste (needles. after the introduction of clear infectious waste segregation procedures.) must be separately discarded at source in rigid containers with hermetic lids and a clear identification of the type of waste that they contain. A lack of care when handling infectious waste is the principal cause of infections in hospitals. They should be strong. the rate of hospitalization due to such infections diminished by 80%. Plastic bags should comply with established colour code specifications. In Brazil the criteria are the following: ! transparent – common waste. etc. non-recyclable cream – infectious or special waste (except radioactive waste) ! ! Figure 17 – Plastic bags for medical waste 88 . Infectious waste must in general be put in well identified strong impermeable plastic bags at the moment of its generation. rigid plastic containers with hermetic lids and a clear identification of the type of waste that they contain. Infectious waste represents between 10 and 15 % of all waste but carries a high contamination risk while common waste does not require any special treatment. An example that illustrates this is the case of municipal hospitals in Rio de Janeiro where. glass. Pre-collection storage of common waste follows the same procedures as for domestic waste.

7. Solid waste preparation and storage

Subsequently the plastic bags must be placed in containers that can be easily moved to a temporary storage facility. These containers must be white for infectious waste and any other colour for common waste.

Figure 18 – Infectious waste containers

Temporary storage facilities must have tiled floors and walls and rounded corners to facilitate the washing of floors and walls.

Figure 19 – Temporary storage facility for infectious waste containers

Personnel handling infectious waste (except radioactive and hazardous chemical waste, which are not the responsibility of urban cleaning systems) should use the following individual protection equipment (IPE):
! ! ! ! !

plastic apron; plastic gloves; PVC boots (for floor and wall washing) or closed shoes; goggles; mask.



Solid waste collection and transport


8. Solid waste collection and transport

8.1 8.1.1

Domestic waste collection and transport Concept
Collection is the removal of waste stored by the generator for dispatch by appropriate transport to a transfer station, treatment unit or final disposal site. The collection and transportation of domestic waste generated in households and small-sized public, commercial or service establishments is generally undertaken by the municipal body responsible for urban cleaning. Municipalities may provide these services through their own resources, concessions to companies, outsourcing to companies, or mixed systems such as rented vehicles and municipal labour. It is recommended that solid waste from large generators (establishments that produce more than 120 litres of waste a day) is collected by private companies, registered and authorized by the municipality, without any cost to the public system.

Hotels and restaurants are examples of large solid waste generators in tourist cities.

Common domestic waste collection can be defined as the collection of refuse produced in residential, public and commercial buildings, provided that the latter do not represent large generators.


Collection regularity
Domestic waste collection services to each building should be regular, always on the same days of the week and at the same times. When services are regular, citizens will become accustomed to taking waste containers or bags out to the pavement in front of their building a short time before the collection vehicle passes. Consequently domestic waste is not left exposed in the street for more time than is necessary, thus avoiding the presence of unsightly waste in the street and its scattering by animals or people.

In tourist cities special attention should be paid to the amount of time that waste remains in the street, due to the importance of aesthetics, unpleasant odour emissions and the danger of attracting disease vectors and animals.

Regular collection is therefore one of the principal requirements for a good quality service.


In cities that have the means to weigh collected waste, the regularity of collections can be mathematically verified by comparing the weight of waste over two or three consecutive weeks. The weight of waste collected on the same day of each week (for example the weight of the waste collected on a Monday compared with that of the waste collected the following Monday) should not vary by more than 10%. Similarly, the distance travelled by collection vehicles should be more or less constant on the same day of different weeks as the itinerary of each particular day of the week is always the same (with the same number of journeys to the waste destination point). Collection irregularities are clearly indicated by accumulations of waste in the streets and by the amounts of complaints received. The ideal for a domestic solid waste collection system is therefore to establish fixed collection times and inform the entire community of them through individual communications to the responsible person in each building and even the posting of notices in the streets. The community will come to trust the reliability of the collection service and will then cooperate by not discarding waste in inappropriate places, by storing waste for collection in appropriate receptacles and by putting it out in the appropriate place on the day and at the time stipulated, all of which will contribute to increased environmental hygiene and public health, and the cleanliness and improved appearance of the street.


Collection frequency
For climatic reasons, in most Latin American and Caribbean cities the interval between domestic waste generation and its final disposal should be of no more than one week in order to avoid bad odours and the proliferation of flies, rodents and other animals attracted by the waste.

This situation is exacerbated in cities that use transfer stations (see chapter 9) as waste is stored there for one or two days before being transported to the landfill where it is finally covered with earth at the end of the day it arrives. If domestic waste collection frequency is three times a week, the waste produced for example on a Saturday may not be collected until the following Tuesday (three days later). If it is then stored in the transfer station for two days and one more day is required for its burial in the landfill, the total number of days between generation and final disposal can be as many as six. Consequently, the minimum collection frequency recommended for warm weather countries is three times a week.

Twice weekly collections, which are very common in suburban areas of Latin American and Caribbean cities, should therefore be avoided. Budgetary restrictions represent one of the main obstacles that municipal administrations face in their attempts to provide sufficiently frequent services. The capacity of households to store solid waste also has to be taken into consideration. In informal settlements and other low income communities, houses do not have the


8. Solid waste collection and transport

capacity (due to limited space) to store waste for more than one day. The same problem is faced in city centres where commercial and service provision establishments not only have insufficient storage space but also produce a considerable amount of waste. In all such cases daily waste collection is preferable.


Collection times
To significantly reduce costs and optimize the use of collection vehicle fleets, if possible, collection should always be done in two shifts. To obtain maximum performance the ideal usage of the collection fleet would be:

Collection days
Monday, Wednesday and Friday Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

First shift
¼ of the routes ¼ of the routes

Second shift
¼ of the routes ¼ of the routes

If for example, 24 collection routes are established, with a collection frequency of three times a week, the number of collection vehicles required would be 24÷4= 6 (with an additional reserve representing at least 10% of the operational fleet, in this example one extra vehicle).

It is recommended that the day is divided into two 12 hours periods with one eight hour working shift in each period. The first shift for example, could begin at 07.00 hrs and the second at 19.00 hrs, so that there would be an interval for maintenance and repair services between the two shifts. In many Latin American and Caribbean cities the ideal of two waste collection shifts per day is not possible due to the type of urbanization that exists in some neighbourhoods where, for example, access streets are precarious and street lighting is scarce, which can make a nocturnal collection shift impossible. The issue of urban violence should also be considered here.

In streets and public areas where sweeping services are not frequent the cleanliness of the collection operation is very important, that is, it is necessary to collect the refuse put out for collection without leaving any refuse scattered in the street.

Whenever possible, sweeping should be done after a collection to remove any refuse that may have been left scattered in the area.


The determination of collection times should also take into account the parking of private vehicles in streets. During night time collections all necessary measures should be taken to reduce noise. so that the physical effort required of the different teams is equivalent. A team is the group of workers assigned to a collection vehicle to perform solid waste collection activities. such as: Collection teams In Latin American and Caribbean cities teams have from two to five members per truck. 8. Municipal teams tend to have more members than those of private companies that provide collection services. The team leader’s stop/start commands should be given through a switch at the back of the truck connected to a light in the drivers cab. The truck’s engine should always be well tuned and its silencer in good condition. In purely residential neighbourhoods it is preferable that collection takes place during the day but avoiding the times when there is more traffic on the principal roads. In the future more modern and silent vehicles may be needed. reflecting the tendency for higher productivity with private labour. to respond to an ever more demanding general public. particularly in large urban centres. changes in the characteristics of neighbourhoods and an irregular collection service. In tourist cities collections should avoid the hours of peak tourist activity in relevant locations. Several elements should be taken into account.In central and commercial zones collection should take place at night when the circulation of people and vehicles has diminished. 94 . Equilibrium between routes The tasks assigned to each collection team have to represent the same amount of work. The collection team should be instructed not to raise their voices. electric ones perhaps. In the case of a collection truck with compaction facility the motor should not be revved up to accelerate the cycle of compaction but should at all times have its automatic acceleration device functioning.5 Restructuring domestic collection routes Some of the factors that indicate a need for the restructuring of collection routes are: increases or decreases in the population.1.

Data collection must include statistical data from high. In most small and medium-sized Latin American and Caribbean cities the average per capita generation is between 0. In both cases. The physical notion involved is that of “work”: work = force x distance The restructuring method described here is one of the more simple ones and consists of the division of the area to be restructured into “sub-areas” with a similar demographic density and waste concentration (measured in kg/m). Collection route starting points Routes should be laid out in such a way that teams begin at the point farthest from the destination of the waste so that as they work they are diminishing the remaining distance to be covered.00kg per person per day in different areas of the city. medium and low income neighbourhoods. Although it is possible to calculate the per capita domestic waste generation rate through the simplified method explained in chapter 5. given the great variations between the different zones of a city. ideally a more precise technical evaluation of this parameter should be made. It should also be taken into account that different workers have different physical constitutions and teams should be balanced in this respect. public establishments and commercial premises. a certain technical rigour should be applied to the determination of this rate as it can vary between 0. whereas in zones with low concentrations of waste they carry less weight but walk further.35kg and 1. table 6 – Frequently used categories for determining per capita solid waste generation). As has already been mentioned.50 and 0. depending on the socioeconomic stratum of the inhabitants. Verification of the amount of domestic waste generated It is important to verify the amount of solid waste that is generated in households. Each of these sub-areas can then represent the same amount of work and working time. 95 . the amount of calories consumed can be approximately the same. Such variations could distort the dimensions of collection routes which would then require considerable adjustment during the implementation phase of a new collection program. as this data is essential for an effective restructuring of regular waste collection routes. Solid waste collection and transport In zones with high concentrations of waste collectors carry a lot of weight but walk relatively short distances.8. The location of the fleet garage is another factor to be heeded in planning. Using data projection based on the latest available census. daily per capita waste generation can be calculated.80 kg/inhab/day (see chapter 5.

The calculation of per capita waste generation can be done at the same time as studies to determine solid waste characteristics.Where for example the daily per capita solid waste generation is 0. ! writing down on a map the number of receptacles per street block.000 inhabitants x 0. can be used to restructure collection routes on the basis of the volume of collected waste. so that necessary adjustments can be made.000. ! test the new routes in practice. 96 . In practice. the weight of waste generated daily for collection will be: 200. To calculate the amount of waste by cubing a standard receptacle of known capacity.70kg/inhab/day = 140. The number of times that the receptacle is emptied into the collection truck is counted to determine how many times it is filled during a collection from one street block. following the itinerary of the route. a simplified approximate method. repeating this process for each trip in each shift. Should this prove impossible.000kg/day This data is essential for calculating the required number of vehicles in the domestic waste collection fleet. per vehicle can be determined. ! progressively adding up the number of receptacles per street block. called cubing. Lack of a weighbridge to weigh waste If there is no weighbridge to weigh truck loads of solid waste at its destination. the restructuring of collection routes can be more complex and involve other variables that the planner has to take into account. In this way the total number of receptacles per trip and the number of trips per shift. This method consists of: ! doing the cubing per block on the days of the week with more waste production. in general Mondays and Tuesdays. an alternative should be sought such as gaining access to the weighbridge of a company or public body. When the restructuring plans are ready the new routes can be used for two weeks. ! on pronounced slopes collections should be made beginning at the top and working downwards to save the energy of the team and the fuel of the truck. for example 100 litres. until the truck is full. recording times. see example in figure 20. is used. and is repeatedly filled and emptied until all collected waste has passed through it.70kg and the population is 200. after which problematic details can be adjusted.

Example A street block is each one of the sides of a block in the city. pronounced slopes and ease of access and manoeuvre for the vehicles. taking into account the direction of traffic. the avoidance of left turns in two-way streets and duplicated or unproductive stretches. Solid waste collection and transport Figure 20 . that is those along which there is no waste to collect. Collection route layouts Collection routes should be laid out in such a way that unproductive stretches are minimized. Routes should be designed through successive experimentation with a view to finding the optimum one that at the same time responds to conditions such as the direction of one-way streets. See figure 21 for an example of a rational collection route (heuristic method) Figure 21 .8. Collection route layouts tend to be arrived at through the “heuristic” method.Heuristic method collection route layout 97 .

600 18.400 15.08 1.200 17. covered in two shifts three times a week by two compaction vehicles.000 1.15 1.525 4.13 Kg/Worker (2)/(4) 4. for example.65 9.36 10.100 153.18 1.250 13. restructuring routes based on: ! ! ! the elimination (or minimization) of overtime.851 2.120 18. surveying and systematizing the characteristics of each route.100 3. II and III.20 0.Collection route restructuring method This method consists of: ! ! ! ! dividing the city in sub-areas.169 1.900 Average time of work hrs* (3) 8. A city where the collection routes need to be restructured has to be divided into subareas of similar demographic density.410 15.660 15. analyzing the collected data.325 4.96 1.875 4. the concentration of waste in each area.141 - Weight of waste Kg (2) 16.93 - Workers per team (4) 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 - Rates Kg/hr (2)/(3) 2. sub-areas I.839 1.400 14.20 7.550 4.300 19.180 14.012 1.275 - 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 Averages Totals * hours calculated in decimals ** kg/m = waste concentration 98 . Let us suppose that in sub-area II there are currently eight collection routes.12 1.01 8.915 Kg/m** (2)/(1) 1.78 8.870 15.500 18.575 4.100 17. The data for the current program can be seen in table 13.900 4. the new weight of waste for collection per shift.977 2.17 1. Sub-area II I – Commercial sub-area Sub-area I II – Predominantly residential sub-area III – Hills sub-area Sub-area III Figure 22 Table 13 Current routes – Mondays and Tuesdays Routes Length of route m (1) 14.72 8.828 1.600 16.19 1.300 17.350 3.040 13.667 1.99 9.75 8.

808kg W06 = 2. it can be seen that the time used to complete the routes is too much and therefore requires overtime (based on the supposition that the collection is done regularly).096kg W07 = 1.343kg/ route. in practice two routes more.839 x 8 = 14.624kg Total weight 112. uncollected waste would amount to: 153.977 x 8 = 15.352kg W05 = 1.156kg As the average collection weight for new routes would be approximately 15.156kg ÷ 15.169 x 8 = 17.667 x 8 = 13.343kg = 2.012 x 8 = 16. W = kg/h x Ts Where Ts is the duration of the work shift (8hours in this case).343kg As the weight that can be collected in an eight hour work shift is 15. the average weight per route will be: 153.744kg Average weight 15.828 x 8 = 14.712kg W03 = 1. Thursdays and Saturdays.000kg W02 = 1. To achieve this. Therefore: W01 = 2. As in future the area will be covered by 10 routes.343kg.900kg ÷ 10 routes = 15.390kg/route. the length of each route is multiplied by the waste concentration until obtaining an approximate weight of 15. the weight to be collected per working shift can be calculated assuming no change in the productivity of collectors.390kg/future route Future routes should be marked on the map taking into account the concentration of waste in each area (expressed in kg/m). Solid waste collection and transport With a normal work shift of 8 hours.000 x 8 = 16. If the objective is to finish the collection in eight hours and thus avoid overtime.744kg = 31.816kg W04 = 2. applying the formula: LxC=W Where: L = length of route (m) C = waste concentration (kg/m) W = average weight of future routes (kg) 99 .03 new routes That is. it will be necessary to initiate: 31. Wednesdays and Fridays and the other on Tuesdays.8.851 x 8 = 14.900kg – 112.336kg W08 = 1. one on Mondays.

fast unloading of waste at its destination. The number of vehicles will be: number of routes ÷ 4 = 2. the possibility of emptying at least two receptacles at the same time.390kg ÷ 2 = 7.390kg. rear loading (preferably). When it is raining the weight of waste increases by 20%. Fluctuations in the number of tourists also have to be taken into account as they cause increases or decreases in waste production. Particularly in smaller cities with limited budgetary resources conventional open dump trucks are frequently used as well as other equipment described later. even load distribution on the truck’s chassis. the average weight of the future routes will be approximately 15.In the example. a waist high loading height of no more than 1. lifting devices to empty different types of containers. 100 . that is 3m³ are reduced by compaction to 1m³.5m³. A good domestic waste collection vehicle should have the following characteristics: ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! that it does not spill waste or leachate on the street. three vehicles can be used during the first shift and two during the second.695kg. For example. adequate space for transporting the team. a compaction rate of at least 3:1.6 Collection vehicles There are two types of specialized vehicle in general use for domestic waste collection and transport: ! ! compactors – rear loader or side loader. 8. good manoeuvrability and potency for steep inclines. if on Mondays and Tuesdays two journeys are necessary. without compaction – with the box closed by sliding doors.5 So. adequate carrying capacity to minimize the number of journeys to the waste destination while at the same time being appropriate for the characteristics of the operational area.20m from the floor. The type and capacity of the vehicles depend on the number of journeys that are necessary to the final disposal site. a loading compartment capacity of at least 1. the average load per journey would be 15.1.

8. Some vehicles and equipment in general use for domestic waste collection are described below. The risk of being run over is high and efficient preventative measures must always be taken. topography. etc. sometimes this is not an option for operational or economic reasons.Containers being emptied into a compaction truck Solid waste collection operations involve dangers for the collection personnel. due to the characteristics of a particular urban area. However. In addition adequate space should always be available on the truck for the collection team. the most recommendable technical solution is to use compactor collection vehicles wherever possible. In compactor vehicles it is essential to always take precautions with the compaction mechanism. Solid waste collection and transport Figure 23 . Every time the vehicle stops the team is exposed to the risk of injury through other vehicles colliding with the rear of the collection truck. manoeuvring conditions.). Therefore. In such cases the most cost efficient type of vehicle and equipment should be selected. The vehicle that is chosen should be the one with more of the above listed characteristics while taking into account the particular conditions of the service provision area (the condition of the streets. 101 .

which are usually rear loaders but can be side loaders. This truck represents a low cost option in terms of both purchase and maintenance but has quite a low productivity. 16 and 23 tons respectively. 102 . much higher than the compactor collector loading compartment height of approximately one metre. It requires great physical effort from the collection team who have to lift the waste up to the edge of the box. The box volume can vary from 4 to 12m³ corresponding to a truck total gross weight (TGW) of from 7 to 12 tons. or roads unsuitable for heavy vehicles. 10. This type of vehicle is used for domestic.Closed box collection trucks A solid waste collection vehicle without compaction. especially in zones where there are high concentrations of solid waste from large generators or a high demographic density. public and commercial waste collection.Closed box truck Compactor collection trucks Solid waste compactor collection trucks. It can also be used in areas with pronounced inclines. unpaved and potholed surfaces. 12. Total gross weight (TGW) = chassis weight + box weight + load weight. are made of steel and have a capacity of 6. 12. Its use can be limited by unfavourable road conditions such as irregular layouts. which is more than two metres high. Unloading is by hydraulic box tipping. 15 or 19m³ corresponding to a truck TGWs of 9. appropriate for working in small communities with a low demographic density. Figure 24 . 14. They may have hydraulic devices for the automatic and independent unloading of standardized containers.

Side loader compactor collection truck – 6m³ Figure 26 .Rear loader compactor collection truck – 10 to 15m³ Figure 27 . Solid waste collection and transport Figure 25 .Rear loader compactor collection truck – 19m³ Dumpster carrier trucks for 5m³ stationary containers Domestic waste collection systems that employ 5m³ stationary containers replaced by dumpster carrier trucks with multifunctional crane are appropriate for zones with low quality houses or difficult access. Containers are located at strategic points close to 103 .8.

in general have capacity for 7 to 20m³ of loose waste and are transported on special vehicles. compaction containers offer aesthetic. As with closed box collection trucks. being more hermetic and having a greater waste storage capacity. the volume of which can vary from 4 to 12 m³ in trucks that correspondingly vary from 7 to 12 tons TGW. Figure 28 . unloading is by tipping the box. Stationary compactor (compaction container) collection trucks For the collection of large volumes of domestic waste special stationary metal containers incorporating a compaction device can be used.that can transport two 5m³ stationary containers at the same time. In big cities this system is slowly replacing the system of open stationary containers transported by dumpster carrier trucks with multifunctional crane because. sanitary and economic advantages. The 7m³ capacity stationary compactors can be transported by dumpster carrier trucks with multifunctional crane.the communities they serve but with easy access for the dumpster carrier trucks that replace loaded containers with empty ones.that transport only one 5m³ stationary container at a time. There are two types of dumpster carrier truck with differing operational capacity: ! ! single . 104 . These containers are called stationary compactors. while those with greater capacity are transported by roll-on / roll-off trucks. double .Compactor container Traditional dump truck type collection vehicles These open box vehicles without a compaction device and not specifically designed for domestic solid waste collection are frequently used in small communities with a low demographic density and in areas of rough topography where it is difficult to manoeuvre bigger compactor trucks.

a specialized vehicle would be unused for significant periods of time.Dump truck with crane moving a special “Molok” container 8. canvas or plastic sheeting can be used but in practice the efficiency of this is questionable as it significantly reduces the productivity of the collection team.7 Tools and implements used by collectors It is important that collection teams collect domestic waste without leaving any of it scattered around. including in informal settlements. etc. Figure 29 . due to the low level of waste production. and is therefore appropriate for small cities where. not only waste collection. In order to minimize this problem. due to its operational. Solid waste collection and transport This type of vehicle is attractive for small municipalities due to its operational flexibility. Amongst them is the “Molok” system that can be considered as an option in special situations. It can be used for various different activities. However it is necessary to carry out a viability study before implementing this system as it requires significant initial investment for purchasing the containers. plastic bags. Special solid waste storage systems serviced by dump trucks equipped with a hydraulic crane are now available on the market.8. 105 . The main disadvantage for domestic waste collection is that the box is open and it is therefore difficult to keep the load inside it (particularly lighter waste) and avoid it being scattered by the wind along the route. aesthetic and sanitary advantages when compared with other more conventional systems.1. Productivity is also negatively affected by the loading height of the box and this too should be considered. Another advantage is its low purchase and maintenance costs. For this purpose medium-sized sweeper brooms and shovels should be used. Figure 29 shows this system in operation.

A medium sized sweeper broom has a wooden base with 22 holes into which natural fibres or recycled plastic bristles are fixed. for which purpose hand carts made of steel tubing with a metal container (sweeper cart).Sweeper cart. on pronounced inclines. 8. the type of waste generated and the form of storage. Differences in specific weight and other physical characteristics of waste demand different solutions for loading (manual or mechanical) and transport to a transfer station or final disposal unit. The method. wheelbarrow and wheelie bin 106 . such as sweeping.1 Concept Public solid waste collection includes the collection and transport of waste gathered as a result of routine and emergency street cleaning activities. pruning and special waste collection (for example waste and mud deposited in the street by flooding). waste stored in wheelie bins or dumpsters. Figure 30 . wheelbarrows may be used. vehicles and equipment to be used in collection depend on the specific nature of each individual cleaning operation. waste packed in plastic bags.2 Collection of waste gathered by sweeping Waste collected by street sweeping can be transported by the sweepers while performing the service.2.2 Public solid waste collection and transport 8. These days the latter are increasingly being used. wheelie bins or. 8. weeding.2. There are three basic categories that determine the collection method for public waste: ! ! ! loose waste accumulated on the ground.

8. Solid waste collection and transport

In all cases it is recommendable that waste, which mostly comprises light material that can be easily scattered by the wind, is stored in plastic bags for collection. They can then be collected by compactor trucks (rear loaders or side loaders), which are especially appropriate in large cities due to the high productivity of this type of vehicle and the large volume of waste to be collected. The collection of this type of waste at the same time as domestic solid waste represents an important device for rationalizing collection and transport costs. Vehicles without compaction devices can also be used: closed box trucks, traditional dump trucks or dumpster carrier trucks that can handle stationary containers. Because sweeping is undertaken in the more urbanized zones of the city it is important to carefully plan the collection of this type of waste so that it remains on the street for the minimum possible time, bearing in mind that a slower collection process could adversely affect the municipal administration’s image of efficiency. As sweeping has to be done in each zone as a programmed routine on pre-established days and at specified times, it is completely feasible to integrate it with collection. To determine the quantity of waste collected by street sweeping, it is necessary to do a field survey in order to identify the average generation per sweeping route and, on that basis, calculate the production of each sector. The generation of waste collected by sweeping is influenced by various factors such as the predominant usage of the street or public space, the level of environmental education of passers by, the type and state of the surfacing on the street and pavement, as well as the characteristics of any trees. Depending on the type of trees, the generation of street waste can increase considerably due to seasonal factors, that is, the falling of leaves and fruit onto pavements and streets.


Collection of waste from weeding and vegetation cutting
Weeding and vegetation cutting activities generate vegetation waste that usually accumulates in piles along the section of a street where the work has taken place. From there it is carried by hand to the box of the collection truck (generally a conventional dump truck). An operational alternative that is sometimes adopted is to locate an open stationary container near to the area where the work is taking place so that waste can be deposited in it as the work advances. Such containers are subsequently removed by dumpster carrier trucks with multifunctional crane.

When the dimensions of collection and transport services are being determined the low specific weight of this type of waste should be taken into account as it results in the load capacity of the collection truck being under used. The integration of this waste’s collection with the collection of soil and sands that have accumulated on the streets is an option for utilizing the truck’s full load capacity.


The identification of nearby locations appropriate for the disposal of this waste, eroded areas for example, can also reduce the cost of transport, but appropriate sanitary and environmental care should always be taken in disposing of it. The necessary dimensions of the collection fleet are assessed by experienced operators during a pre-operational visit to the site on which weeding and land clearing services will be undertaken.


Tree pruning waste collection
Tree pruning is often linked with the municipal urban cleaning sector. Due to the nature of this activity it usually requires the support of a truck to transport tools, implements and labour. It is therefore often natural that the same truck is used to collect the waste generated as work progresses. This type of waste includes loose leaves, small branches and thick trunks, and its physical characteristics mean that when it is loaded into the box of the truck many spaces are left unoccupied. Due to this low specific weight, the collection and transport operation is relatively expensive and involves low productivity. As with the disposal of weeding and land clearing waste, disposal sites that are near to the generation site can be sought for pruning waste. The load can be prepared for collection at the generation site using standard pruning tools (machetes, saws and chain saws) to make the material more homogeneous and to prepare part of the waste for reuse (the thicker trunks, for example). Recently new technological alternatives have been incorporated in pruning operations to address the low productivity and high cost of collection and transport in cities that produce large amounts of such waste. A branch grinder can be an important component of an economical and environmentally sound operational solution to this problem. This is a robust and compact machine, available in towable models, that can reduce by up to ten times the volume of a pruning waste load. Another advantage of this system is that the ground waste is easy to dispose of in appropriate nearby locations as the final product has a low granulometry and can be used as coverage for natural soil, minimizing erosion risks and incorporating organic matter. Pruning operations tend to use a fixed box truck with a special elevation platform to raise the worker for the cutting of higher tree branches.


8. Solid waste collection and transport


Collection of rubble and other construction waste
This type of service can be provided directly by the public administration or by authorized private companies. In the latter case previous authorization is needed so that the identity of service providers is known and their activities can be overseen on an ongoing basis in order to prevent the clandestine disposal of waste in inappropriate places. Basically there are two types of situation that require rubble collection services:

where rubble has been clandestinely disposed of in the street, on wastelands or on the banks of bodies of water;


where generators of this type of waste request or contract services.

In the first case it is clearly the responsibility of the public administration to collect construction rubble that has been indiscriminately disposed of in the city, a responsibility that requires the urban cleaning body to maintain the necessary infrastructure for this purpose. Where requests for collection are made by generators it is recommended that this service is provided by the municipal urban cleaning system only to small volume generators (there should be a specific municipal regulation on this subject). Where construction works produce larger amounts of rubble the “polluter pays” principle should be applied. Whoever provides the service it should be scheduled, with the cooperation of the generator, for the day and time most appropriate for waste collection taking into account factors such as the traffic flow and parking conditions in the street closest to the place of generation. Service provision should be organized not only to coordinate requests that have been granted and to incorporate field survey data, but also to ensure a rational route that minimizes unproductive journeys and maximizes operational productivity. Construction rubble collection is in general undertaken by conventional dump trucks or 5m³ stationary containers transported by dumpster carrier trucks with multifunctional crane.


Special collections
This type of service is necessary in certain situations, which regrettably are common in Latin American and Caribbean cities, where inappropriate waste accumulation sites or clandestine rubbish dumps arise, generally located on wasteland or unoccupied plots. The expression “rubbish attracts more rubbish” summarizes the underlying causes of this type of accumulation: small volumes of pruning waste for example are left in a particular place, this may then be added to by other people disposing of construction rubble there. Subsequently local residents add plastic bags of residential waste and in a short time there is a large accumulation of waste that causes serious sanitary and environmental impacts.


In general the existence of waste accumulation sites and clandestine refuse dumps results from operational defects in the regular domestic waste collection and street cleaning system together with deficiencies in the supervision of municipal activities. The lack of attention to these issues by those responsible for urban cleaning means that the causes of this serious problem are not addressed but only its consequences, and thus new cases repeatedly arise necessitating more and more special collection services.

Due to the large amount of waste that accumulates on such sites, collection operations may require mechanical loading equipment (mechanical loader), rather than a manual operation, and large vehicles for collection and transport to the final disposal site.


Vehicles and equipment used for collection
Dumpster carrier trucks with multifunctional crane for handling 7 ton containers
A truck (minimum total gross weight 13.5 tons) with a mounted minimum 7 ton capacity hydraulic crane for lifting and transporting open metal containers loaded with solid waste. These trucks can be single carriers to transport one container at a time or double carriers to transport two containers at a time. To be productive they have to operate over short distances between container locations and the unloading site.

Figure 31 - Dumpster carrier truck with multifunctional crane


8. Solid waste collection and transport

Short dump truck
A two axle vehicle for the collection of public waste, construction rubble and earth with a box of 5 to 8m³ capacity with a respective truck TGW of from 12 to 16 tons.

Figure 32 - Short dump truck

Long dump truck
A three axle vehicle for the collection of public waste, construction rubble and earth. The box generally has a 12m³ capacity and the truck a TGW of 23 tons. This truck is usually loaded by a mechanical loader to reduce human effort and increase productivity.

Figure 33 - Long dump truck

Roll-on / roll-off container carrier truck
A collection truck with devices for lifting 10 to 30m³ stationary containers without a compaction device (figure 16). Each vehicle should handle six containers for its productivity to justify its use. These three axle trucks should have a TGW of 23 tons.


while for loading semi-trailers it is advisable to use machines with a 3m³ scoop to increase productivity and because of the higher loading level. mud and waste. and to load dump trucks. Figure 34 .Semi-trailer Mechanical loader A wheeled tractor loader used to pile up earth.Semi-trailer A semi-trailer dumper with capacity of 25m³ pulled by a 4x2 truck with a 45 ton pulling capacity. A canvas or plastic sheet should cover the top of the box to avoid waste being scattered in the road by the wind while the vehicle is moving.5m³ are normally used. dumper boxes and semi-trailers in street cleaning operations and at waste accumulation sites. For street operations machines with a scoop capacity of 1. It can be used to transport rubble or in support of large earth or mud collection operations.Mechanical loader 112 . rubble. Figure 35 . A semi-trailer is a trailer the front part of which has to be supported on a towing vehicle called a semi-trailer truck. It is loaded by mechanical loader and is unloaded at the final destination by box tipping.

3 Waste collection in tourist cities The amount of waste to be collected varies according to tourist season related population fluctuations as well as the usual all year round fluctuations. not only in regard to the increased amount of waste but also the frequency and times of collection.8. the utilization of the reserve fleet in operations. ! ! ! an increase in the number of collection shifts. Solid waste collection and transport 8. even though it may be attractive for economic reasons. As the usual fluctuations (weekly and monthly) have little effect on the size of the fleet that is needed. Whenever possible the contracting of extra vehicles should be planned in advance to avoid overpricing. The basic measures to take are: ! the introduction of overtime for collection workers. Other important factors to take into account are: Traffic In tourist cities the traffic is usually congested during holiday periods. collection routes that cover streets bordering the sea should be revised and restructured in order to adapt them to seasonal requirements. 113 . It is important to note that these measures should be taken in sequence in order to limit the increase in collection costs to a minimum. which impedes the movement of collection vehicles and increases the time taken to cover collection routes. this section will deal with the necessary procedures for maintaining the quality of domestic waste collection in tourist cities during the season of population influx. Beaches In coastal cities where tourists tend to concentrate around the beaches. as the longer the interval between collections the greater the danger of waste accumulation sites appearing in the streets. A reduction in the frequency of collections should never be considered. which are detrimental to the city’s sanitary and environmental condition and discourage tourists. the contracting of extra vehicles from private companies or individuals. within the limits imposed by employment legislation. Waste collection schedules should therefore be set for times when traffic is less heavy.

is the use of special vehicles that are narrow.8. Mini-tractors or agricultural tractors with 4x2 or 4x4 drive towing 2. the tendency of inhabitants to discard waste immediately after generation as there is minimal space inside the houses. One solution to the problem of access through narrow internal streets. often with a pronounced incline. inadequate or nonexistent preparation and pre-collection storage of waste. These factors have to be taken into account in planning alternative waste collection systems in these communities with a view to improving a situation that presents serious risks to public health and the environment. A lack of basic urban infrastructure in these communities causes significant obstacles for the provision of domestic waste collection services: ! ! ! difficult access for conventional collection trucks.5m³ capacity trailers with metal or wooden boxes are feasible alternatives.Micro tractor and dump trailer 114 .Micro tractor Figure 37 . (4x2) – two axle vehicle with rear wheel drive.4 Solid waste collection in informal settlements There are informal settlements in many Latin American and Caribbean cities due to the poor socioeconomic conditions experienced by a significant sector of the population in the region. (4x4) – two axle vehicle with four wheel drive. Figure 36 . have good manoeuvrability and the capacity to deal with steep slopes.

The problem of pre-collection waste storage in these areas can be dealt with by siting containers along the micro tractor collection route.).8. walls. 115 . roofs and furniture free of dust. When installing open containers in informal settlements it is necessary to take the precautions already mentioned in chapter 7 in order to avoid a prejudicial proliferation of insects and animals. body fluids and any waste from medical activities. daily collection being the best option. for example. the municipality contracts the community centre. In such cases collection should be manual. It is normally recommended that stationary containers are used for this temporary storage and they are then either transported by special collection vehicles (dumpster carrier trucks) or emptied into large compactor trucks. which then selects the people who will work in the collection team (as well as carrying out weeding and channel cleaning tasks. clinics.5 Collection of medical waste 8.) are fundamental for the prevention of infections. It is worth noting that contracting community collectors involves the principle of community participation as it encourages other residents to participate in the maintenance of the place where they are living as they may feel an obligation to keep public areas clean when it is one of their neighbours who is doing this work. 8.5. preferably plastic containers with lid and wheels. Solid waste collection and transport As these vehicles are not appropriate for long journeys. Appropriate internal transport and storage together with subsequent collection and external transport of waste complete the measures aimed at reducing infections. etc. It has to be pointed out that in many of these communities it is not even possible to use the mini-tractors for collection due to a lack of passable access. Regular cleaning with germicide solutions keeps floors. veterinary clinics.1 Acknowledgement of the problem Hygienic conditions in health service establishments (hospitals. The frequency of collections should be carefully considered and ideally there should be only short intervals between them. with the waste being carried to some point that is accessible for some type of vehicle. In these cases. In several cities the contracting of community collectors has produced good results. the collected waste is transported to a temporary storage place where it is kept for subsequent transport to a final disposal site. etc. If appropriately clean conditions and supervision are not maintained there is a risk of people setting fire to the waste. medical centres.

etc.) should be stored in special receptacles specifically for this purpose.5. nurses’ rooms.2 Segregation There are regulations that must be followed for the segregation of infectious and common waste in health service establishments: ! at the time of its generation all infectious waste should be put in a receptacle close to the place where it is produced. storerooms. ! infectious waste must be stored in accordance with stipulated technical standards.97 – 1. ! semi-critical areas: where the risk of contamination is less. laundries. infectious or special (see table 4). Hospital areas are classified in three categories: ! critical areas: where there is a greater risk of infection such as operating theatres. such as administration rooms.80 2. Table 14 shows waste generation per bed in some countries and in Rio de Janeiro city. Table 14 Medical solid waste generation rates Place Chile Venezuela Argentina Peru Paraguay Brazil Rio de Janeiro Average generation kg/bed/day 0. ! puncturing and sharp waste (needles.21 3. 8. 116 . refectories and kitchen areas etc.93 3. glass. such as the rooms occupied by patients with non-infectious diseases.98 Medical waste is classified as common. etc. delivery rooms.65 2. infectious disease isolation rooms. in well closed plastic bags (generally coloured cream). laboratories. etc. ! non-critical areas: where in theory there is no risk of infection.10 1.85 – 3.In hospitals medical waste generation rates are related to the number of beds.63 3.

Van A light van with the driver and passenger cab independent from the load compartment and a load capacity of 500 kilos. as an additional precautionary measure. Common waste generated in these establishments should be collected by the normal collection service.4 Vehicles for collection and transport As plastic bags with infectious or non-separated waste can break and release contaminated liquids or air. organs and tissues should be separately put in cream plastic bags that are then appropriately closed. blood transfusion therapy and microbiological research should be sterilized in the place of generation. In some cases it 117 .5. are suitable for the collection of puncturing and sharp objects from chemists. Light vans with hermetic load compartments and a capacity for approximately 2m³ of waste. even on Sundays. collected and disposed of as though it is infectious or special waste. If there is no separation of infectious and special waste all of the waste should be packaged. stored. infectious and special waste Infectious and special waste should be separated from common waste before collection. The load compartment should be lined with fibre glass in order to avoid the accumulation of infectious waste at the edges and in cracks and to facilitate washing and cleaning. Radioactive waste should be dealt with in accordance with each country’s specific regulations issued by the respective governing body.5. 8. dental clinics and other similar establishments. The types of vehicle usually recommended for medical waste collection are presented below. Infectious waste and the rest of the special waste should be stored in cream plastic bags which are put into standardized containers that are mechanically emptied into special vehicles for medical waste collection. Current norms recommend that in most cases medical waste is collected daily. collection vehicles should not have compaction systems and. Solid waste collection and transport ! waste from clinical analysis.8. ! infectious waste consisting of human body parts. analysis laboratories. This waste represents at the most 30% of the total medical waste generated. must be hermetic and have liquid capturing devices. 8. Depending on their size they should have mechanical devices for both empting the containers and unloading the vehicle.3 Separate collection of common.

Truck for infectious waste collection 118 . Figure 38 . The box is made of steel with continuous welded seams to avoid liquid leakage and has a compartment for capturing liquid originating from the load with a device for unloading it in an appropriate place. MB 914 and Ford Cargo 81. The hydraulic powered system is coupled with the gearbox and is pneumatically operated from inside the cab. which will then transport it to the final disposal site. The unloading of waste is done through the tipping of the load box after the rear door has been fully opened.Van for medical waste collection Truck for infectious waste collection A two axle collection truck with a capacity of 6 to 8m³.may be economical for these vans to unload waste that they have collected in the loading areas of bigger medical waste collection vehicles. Amongst the chassis recommended are: VW 8150. A tipping system may be incorporated for the emptying of plastic or metal containers with a capacity of up to 700 litres. Figure 39 . without a compaction device. The rear door of the load box must close with an efficient seal.

To achieve good quality medical waste management it is important to instigate educational processes that prepare people for change. The steps to follow include: ! locate on a map all health establishments: hospitals. determine the necessary type. prevent contamination. ! based on collected data. acknowledge employees’ work. medical centres. The basic guidelines for rationalizing costs and establishing an appropriate service management policy are the following: ! ! ! ! ! ! ! facilitate treatment. ! train the service operation teams. avoid work accidents. maintain an organized and pleasant work environment. Solid waste collection and transport 8. size and number of collection vehicles. ! select van type collection vehicles with leak-proof load compartments and liquid retention trays. including in measures for their own protection and work safety practices. chemists.8. intensify safety measures.5. together with the generators and the responsible health authority. of the amount of waste generated in each establishment and the possibilities for treating it at source. reduce absenteeism.5 Aspects of collection planning When planning the collection of this type of waste a determination should be made. out-patient departments. while at the same time establishing appropriate methods for its pre-collection preparation and internal storage. 119 . the frequency of collections and collection routes. emergency services and clinics.

9 Solid waste transfer 120 .

transfer stations are sometimes used even when the distance to the sanitary landfill is shorter.9. which are specialized and therefore expensive vehicles. The establishment of a transfer station should be preceded by a feasibility study that evaluates the economic and operational advantages that it could provide to the collection system. ! ! increased transport costs. Vehicles used for transporting waste from transfer stations to final disposal sites usually have three times more load capacity than collection trucks. In addition urban land is too expensive to be used for sanitary landfills. Solid waste transfer 9. In general transfer stations begin to be considered when the distance between the location of large-scale collection activities and the sanitary landfill is greater than 25km. Consequently final disposal sites are being established further and further away from centres of large-scale waste generation. Waste unloaded in transfer stations is transported to the sanitary landfill by a larger vehicle that involves lower transport cost per unit. reduced productivity of collection trucks. Transfer stations are units sited close to areas of large-scale waste generation so that collection trucks can unload there and return rapidly to continue their collection route. for which large areas are required.1 Concept At the same time as large and medium-sized cities have experienced intense urban expansion there has been an increase in both environmental pressures and the resistance of residents to accepting the installation close to their homes of facilities related with solid waste final disposal. In large cities where traffic conditions make travel very slow. ! increased unproductive time that collection teams spend waiting for the return of the truck from unloading at the landfill. To solve these problems some municipalities are establishing transfer stations. This increased distance between collection areas and sanitary landfills creates the following problems: ! delays in completing collection routes thus prolonging the time that waste is exposed on the street. 121 .

The simultaneous arrival of vehicles makes it indispensable that the station has an appropriate place for the storage of waste to deal with unloading “peaks”.2. It has a drop between the unloading platform and the loading area. As there is no space for waste storage in these stations. Amongst the more commonly used models for transfer stations with storage facilities are: 122 .2. Ideally waste should be transported in closed containers to avoid scattering. Boat – suitable for long distances and an excellent option in cities that have navigable rivers or bays.2 Station with storage facilities In most cities all collection trucks begin their routes at the same time and so it is probable that the vehicles become full and arrive at the transfer station within the same timeframe. recommended for transporting over medium distances and in places where the traffic on roads to the final disposal site is not too congested. a larger fleet of transfer vehicles is required to avoid collection trucks having to wait too long to unload. Waste storage also facilitates the operation of the system with fewer vehicles. 9. Truck – the most used system. A complementary system of trucks is required to transport waste from the unloading site to the sanitary landfill. Figure 40 – Direct transfer station 9. This requires a complementary system of trucks to transport waste from the unloading site to the sanitary landfill.1 Types of transfer station Direct transfer station This is a commonly used type of transfer station.Modes of transport from transfer stations can be: Train – suitable for long distances or for cities where traffic on roads to the final disposal site is too congested. so that a collection truck on the higher level unloads directly into the transfer truck below.2 9.

A hydraulic system installed in the silo compacts waste inside the transfer vehicles. The loading of transfer vehicles is done by hydraulic diggers or mechanical loaders.Transfer station with storage and compaction Station with silo storage without compaction Some units have storage silos to receive waste brought by collection trucks. When this equipment is used weight specifications for the transfer trucks must be observed so that loads do not surpass the legal limits.000 tons per day as in larger units it would imply excessive construction costs. Figure 42 – Station with storage without compaction 123 .9. Hydraulic digger type machines load waste from the silos into transfer vehicles. Solid waste transfer Station with silo storage and compaction The main objective of these stations is to increase the specific mass of waste in order to reduce transport costs. This model is more appropriate for stations that receive a maximum of 1. The traditional model has a storage silo and a drop between loading and unloading platforms. This model facilitates the fast unloading of collection trucks and loading of transfer vehicles. These stations have covered paved floors with closed sides to avoid the exposure of waste to the elements and improve the aesthetics of the establishment. Figure 41 . Station with floor storage without compaction Another model commonly used is that of floor storage stations. and can be used in small or large stations.

3 Vehicles and machines for transfer stations To transport waste unloaded in transfer stations large interchangeable tipper containers can be used. The model most commonly used has a capacity of 45m³.3 Alternative transfer systems The transfer station concept.2. Figure 43 – A 45m³ semi-trailer tipper 124 . an alternative collection system using carts pulled by animals to cover streets that are not accessible to collection trucks. or semi-trailers with or without compaction. The models most used in transfer stations are: semi-trailer tippers and semi-trailers with movable floor. 9. may involve the unloading of collected solid waste in a stationary container (or equivalent receptacle) at a site where larger vehicles do have access and can collect the waste and transport it to its final destination. and unloaded by tipping.9. Semi-trailer tippers A semi-trailer tipper towed by a 4x2 semi-trailer truck with a 45 ton pulling capacity. although originally developed to respond to the needs of large cities. manoeuvred by vehicles equipped with cranes to lift them onto and off platforms. can be incorporated on a smaller scale in special situations in small communities where access is not possible for conventional collection vehicles. It is loaded from a transfer ramp or by a mechanical loader or hydraulic digger. For example.

It is loaded from a transfer ramp or by a mechanical loader or hydraulic digger. towed by a 4x2 semi-trailer truck with a 45 ton pulling capacity. Figure 44 . Solid waste transfer Semi-trailer with movable floor A semi-trailer with a capacity of 70m³.A 70m³ semi-trailer with movable floor In all open semi-trailers the load should be covered with plastic sheeting or a net to avoid waste falling in the roads. 125 .9. and unloaded by the alternating movement of the movable floor’s strips.

10 Street cleaning 126 .

! to avoid damage to health caused by dust coming into contact with eyes. Most animal excrement (except for dog excrement) was eliminated from the streets with the advent of motorized transport that replaced animal driven carts. However. in several cities of the world for many centuries there have been laws and municipal regulations prohibiting the discarding of waste and objects in the streets.1 The importance of street cleanliness Up to the mid-19th century there was not only refuse in city streets but also the remains of food and large amounts of animal and human excrement. It was then that effective measures began to be taken for the collection of domestic waste rather than allowing it to be thrown onto streets or wasteland. Keeping streets clean is important for the community and the collective interest must be given priority over individual interests in order to respect the wishes of most citizens. it was recognized for the first time that human waste not collected. as are the plagues and epidemics that they produced. to promote road safety by eliminating dust and earth that can cause skidding and dry leaves and grass that can cause fires. 127 . nose and throat. As a result of developments in medicine and sanitary engineering during the 19th century. Flies and rats that proliferate in rubbish can transmit many diseases. Safety ! ! to avoid damage to vehicles from branches and sharp objects. The filthy conditions in Europe during the Middle Ages are well documented. Street cleaning 10. flies and cockroaches attracted by it and the transmission of diseases through those vectors was also discovered.10. treated and appropriately disposed of is a significant source of disease and can provoke fast spreading epidemics. The principal motives for keeping streets clean are: Sanitary ! to prevent diseases caused by vector proliferation in waste accumulations on the street or on wasteland. The relationship between waste dumped in the street. The surfacing of streets and the dissemination of hygiene and public health principles in schools also contributed to the reduction of waste in the streets. the rats. They are called disease “vectors”. ears. ! to avoid rain water drainage systems becoming clogged up.

packaging. particularly so in tourist cities. 128 . particles from atmospheric contamination. paper. Consequently his consideration for the place is less intense than that of residents. In view of these attitudes. weeds and other vegetation. plastic. in the context of tourism it is hard for a visitor to leave with a positive impression when a place is aesthetically ugly due to a lack of cleanliness. increases the value of property and stimulates business. helps to attract new residents and tourists. he is a mere visitor. While it is true that a tourist demands cleanliness of a city. domestic waste (in general in small amounts. landscape beauty or cultural richness of a city. a consumer of space. rubber from tyres and residues from brake pads and linings. In general the tourist does not establish an attachment with the place he is visiting. 10. sand and earth carried by vehicles or coming from wasteland and slopes. it is important that tourist city municipalities implement urban cleaning education campaigns specifically addressed to visitors. tree branches and leaves. with a view to maintaining urban aesthetics and therefore contributing to an improvement in the city’s sanitary conditions. newspapers. improves the appearance of a place. In general people take more care of their own houses than of spaces that do not belong to them. Whatever the historical significance.2 Waste found in the street Waste commonly found in the streets: ! ! ! ! ! ! material from road surface break-up. ! ! dog and other animal excrement (also in small amounts). The aesthetic aspect of street cleanliness forms a significant part of arguments for the implementation of policies and measures to improve the image of cities. principally on wasteland and areas close to informal settlements). it should also be noted that he himself is in many cases contributing to its dirtiness.Aesthetic ! a clean city inspires pride in its inhabitants.

packaging and the remains of food discarded in the street.A street considered as “dirty”.A street considered as “clean”.10. They can also cover other activities such as beach cleaning. grass and vegetation cutting. pest control. disinfection. More developed cities are giving increasing importance to a combination of cleaning services and street conservation measures (maintaining street surfaces and pavements in good condition. kerb painting and street washing. with pieces of paper and plastic in the gutters Figure 46 . weeding and scraping.3 Street cleaning services Street cleaning services in general include activities such as sweeping. Street cleaning Figure 45 . with no visible refuse The types of refuse that most offend citizens’ sense of hygiene and cleanliness are papers.e. 10. types of waste that produce bad odours. 129 . etc. A gutter with some earth and material from road surface break-up is not perceived as “dirty” by the general public while paper and plastic items are associated with “rubbish” (i. drain cleaning. have an ugly appearance and attract undesirable animals). tree pruning.) when defining quality standards for urban cleaning services that are compatible with client-citizens’ ever more demanding criteria. street market cleaning and waste removal. bits of plastic. the unblocking of drains.

Service quality As there is no process for determining precisely the degree.3. Figure 47 . in the direction of the drains.1 Sweeping services Characteristics of city streets In surfaced streets most debris is found in the gutters (at the most 60 cm from the kerb) due to the air displacement produced by passing vehicles that “pushes” dirt towards the kerb. The review of the plan should register the street sections that are swept on each route.10. They will determine the methodology and frequency of cleaning and 130 . The gutters are in reality “channels” designed to conduct rainwater. those responsible for urban cleaning have to use their own criteria. It is essential to take these characteristics into account when determining street cleaning methodology. due to the transverse curvature of the street.Cross section of a street In non-surfaced streets dirt and litter behave in a different way and it is necessary to clean the entire width of the street. quality and standard of cleanliness that each street requires. In the streets themselves there is practically no dirt unless there is almost no traffic. Rainwater also carries debris towards the kerb. Restructuring manual sweeping routes Review of the existing sweeping plan The organization of existing sweeping routes should be examined. the length of each one (expressed in metres of pavement and gutter) and the teams assigned to it (sweepers).

Reference sites should therefore be established where comparative studies can be made of resource mobilization and the quality of services provide by the responsible body. Tourist areas. To carry out the tests. 131 . Productivity tests As each city has its own characteristics. certain streets that. how many metres of gutter and pavement can be swept per worker per shift. Determination of sweeping frequency The minimum sweeping frequency necessary to maintain the required level of cleanliness in streets has to be determined. for example. the new plan can be laid out on a map to a scale appropriate for the relevant area. Street cleaning will evaluate the approval or disapproval of the public according to the number and content of complaints and suggestions received. One of the first measures to take in order to improve services is the identification of sites that influence public opinion. which then encourages the public to cooperate in maintaining clean and hygienic conditions in the streets. It is possible to gauge public opinion about cleaning services by carrying out opinion surveys. New sweeping plan layout Once the existing plan has been examined and productivity indexes (metres of gutters and pavements swept per worker per shift in each type of street). if they are kept clean. principal streets and avenues. This information is significant as.10. and principal thoroughfares. These sites should be photographed periodically to facilitate a comparative checking. it is advisable to evaluate workers’ productivity in the field. that is. if a street needs to be swept every day double the number of workers will be needed than if it is swept every other day. Identification of sites that influence public opinion Citizen participation is indispensable for public cleaning services to maintain an appropriate level of cleanliness. sites that influence public opinion and minimum sweeping frequency for the different areas have been determined. habits and culture. investigating previous complaints and consulting press files. that is. This index is of fundamental importance for the restructuring of sweeping routes and is usually measured in samples of typical residential. form and consolidate a favourable public opinion on the part of both residents and tourists in regard to the cleanliness of the city. workers of medium performance are chosen and for a period of approximately fifteen days the distance that each one sweeps in each type of street is measured thus determining the average distance covered per shift. commercial and tourist streets. commercial centres and access roads to the city are sites that influence public opinion.

hoe for cleaning drains (6). (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) Figure 48 . small broom (4).Modern broom (1). on the basis of which necessary adjustments can be made. tools and clothing The principal tools and implements for manual sweeping are: ! ! ! ! sweeper broom (vegetable fibre or plastic). the level of cleanliness achieved should be checked through photos. small broom and shovel. shovel (7) and special waste collection pan (8) Figure 49 .Once the new plan is operational. Implements. brush (3).Manual sweeping 132 . used to collect waste and finish sweeping. sweeper broom (2). and the reaction of the public should be evaluated through opinion surveys and the registration of complaints. key for opening drains. Up to three workers can be assigned to each route but it is recommended that only one is assigned to each route in order to clarify responsibilities and facilitate supervision. key for drains (5). hoe for cleaning drains and extracting waste from them.

t-shirt. clean rainwater drains on the route. weed the gutters and areas around trees and posts (once every 15 days). mechanical sweepers without vacuum system. A large mechanical sweeper can sweep an average of 30 km of gutter per shift. 133 . In such cases it is advisable to consider the possibility of mechanical sweeping. For safety reasons the use of reflecting strips on the uniform is recommended. Types of sweeping In spite of the cost. Nevertheless there are exceptions. where roads with high volumes of fast moving traffic. tunnels and bridges represent dangerous situations for manual sweeping. Street cleaning Clothing can be the same as for most urban cleaning service workers: trousers. However the monthly cost of renting a large mechanical sweeper in Latin American and Caribbean countries can be equivalent to the wages of at least 18 sweepers and taking into account the importance of job creation for citizens who have received little education. manual sweeping is in general more appropriate. The main mechanical sweepers used are mini-sweepers. Sweeper tasks In general each sweeper should: ! ! ! ! ! collect domestic waste discarded in the street (not packaged for collection). mechanical sweepers with vacuum system. As the average productivity of the manual system is 2km of gutter per worker per shift. particularly for nocturnal work. In tourist areas and city centres small mechanical sweepers can be used as they have a positive impact on public opinion by demonstrating the efforts made and the resources invested by the municipality in the urban cleaning sector. a mechanical sweeper can replace 15 human sweepers. high closing shoes and cap. large mechanical sweepers and mini-vacuums. sweep the pavement and gutter along the assigned route. mechanical sweeping is recommended for some situations. empty rubbish bins.10.

Figure 50 . etc.MINI-SWEEPER A self-propelled sweeper and vacuum machine with two front brushes and water sprinkler nozzles to avoid raising dust.Mechanical sweeper without vacuum 134 . These machines are used for the mechanical sweeping of pavements. pedestrian ways. Figure 51 . with a 2.Mini-sweeper MECHANICAL SWEEPER WITHOUT VACUUM SYSTEM A medium-sized self-propelled sweeper machine. squares. These machines are used for the mechanical sweeping of roads with fast moving traffic and represent a good option wherever human sweepers would be in danger of being run over. one central brush and water sprinkler nozzles to avoid raising dust. without vacuum.3m³ receptacle. two frontal brushes. In general they provoke curiosity and create public awareness of the municipality’s efforts to improve and modernize the urban cleaning system.

When its waste receptacle is full it can be emptied directly into a dump truck that operates together with it.Large mechanical sweeper MINI-VACUUM Small vacuum machine that sucks debris through a flexible tube manoeuvred by the operator.10. This machine is used for cleaning cycle ways. Street cleaning MECHANICAL SWEEPER WITH VACUUM SYSTEM A 14ton TGW sweeper machine with a capacity of 6m³ and a vacuum system driven by an auxiliary engine. and water sprinkler nozzles to avoid raising dust. LARGE MECHANICAL SWEEPER A self-propelled sweeper and vacuum machine with two lateral brushes. It has lateral and central brushes. pavements and parks. thus avoiding having to move the sweeper itself to empty its load in a transfer station. This machine is used for sweeping tunnels. bridges and large streets with high traffic volumes. 135 . one central brush and water sprinkler nozzles to avoid raising dust. Figure 52 . both driven by hydraulic motors.

Mini-vacuum 10. earth can accumulate in gutters and weeds begin to grow.2 Weeding and scraping services Where sweeping is not regularly undertaken or rain carries debris onto surfaced streets.Figure 53 .3.Weeding 136 . In such cases weeding and scraping services are necessary to remove earth from the gutters and re-establish good drainage conditions and the appropriate appearance of the street. Figure 54 .

A scraper is used to deal with mud. When there is a large amount of earth. Figure 55 . small or big mechanical loaders are used for scraping. as they tend to become clogged when gutters are covered with earth and weeds. The main advantages and disadvantages of each method are listed below: Manual ! ! ! uses unqualified labour. Wheelbarrows. involves fewer environmental risks.Rake Types of weeding Weeding operations can be manual or chemical. It is important that drains are cleaned at the same time as weeding and scraping operations are undertaken. pick and scraper Figure 56 . wheelie bins or stationary containers can be used for waste collection operations. plastic bags. Rakes can be used to complete weeding and brushes to finish the cleaning. usually after intense rain in streets close to slopes. is a simple and well known method.Hoe. depending on the amount of material and on the type of access and space for manoeuvring. 137 . When the earth is very compact hoes or picks are used to scrap it. requires large numbers of workers. the main one being erosion processes due to the inappropriate removal of vegetation. the operation uses more time. Street cleaning In general these services are carried out using very sharp 3½ pound hoes and the waste is collected using shovels or four pronged pitchforks.10. ! ! ! machines and tools are easy to obtain and operate.

facilitates the removal of vegetation. which quickly dies. ! ! ! requires qualified labour. ! the use of machines and tools involves diverse operating. 10. Chemical weeding uses herbicides and should always be undertaken in compliance with the producer’s specifications and the relevant legal and environmental restrictions. For the manual cutting of grass a broad scythe is used. This decision depends on the characteristics of each particular area and the more common method employed is manual weeding. it involves few environmental risks.Scythe. slicer and broad scythe 138 . cleaning and maintenance techniques. and exclusively under the guidance of a specialized professional. Manual cutting uses tools such as scythes and slicers that can also be used for cutting tree branches. represents a risk to the environment when used without fulfilling technical requirements.3.Chemical ! ! ! the operation uses less time and requires fewer workers. with appropriate techniques and products. when done well. its use is restricted to specific situations and is always an auxiliary to manual weeding. Planning of weeding operations The first planning task is to determine the type of weeding: manual or chemical. It should only be used as an auxiliary and complementary method side by side with manual weeding.3 Cutting services Cutting services are necessary when grass or vegetation is too long and can be carried out manually or mechanically. Figure 57 . and when it is adopted regulatory restrictions and requirements should be rigorously observed as should the instructions on the product labels.

tractor mounted side-arm cutters and cutters towed by an agricultural tractor. One of these machines can cut approximately 800m² per day. Street cleaning Rakes can be used to complete the operation. tractor cutters.000m² per day. Figure 58 . Portable cutters are suitable for rough land and places that are difficult for larger cutters to access. lateral cutters. The cutters attached to tractors are appropriate for relatively flat land and can cut between 2.Portable cutter (backpack type) 139 . For cutting operations on the borders of roads cutters with articulated arms laterally mounted on agricultural tractors can be used. The manual cutting of grass and other vegetation with sickles or scythes does not produce good quality results or represent good productivity (only 100m² per worker per day).10. medium and large tractors are currently available and produce a good quality result with good productivity. Portable mechanical cutters that operators carry on their backs and cutters mounted on small.000 and 3.Manual cutting Mechanical cutting employs machines such as portable cutters. Figure 59 .

tractor mounted side-arm cutter. while the toothed disc and the blade are appropriate for thicker vegetation and 140 . a disc or a nylon string depending on the type of vegetation. Portable cutter An approximately 11 kg cutting machine powered by a petrol engine with the rotation transmitted to the cutting head through a flexible cable. Figure 61 . Waste can be put in bags and cut vegetation organized into piles to await collection. Four to ten pronged pitchforks and long rakes should be used for gathering and removal operations. towed grass cutter and stationary or towed branch-grinder.Figure 60 . The cutting can be done by a blade. chainsaw.Cutter attached to a tractor Cut vegetation and the refuse that inevitably appears should ideally be gathered on the day of the cutting operation using standard or long rakes. The nylon string is appropriate for light vegetation and grass and where the machine is used as an edge cutter. mini-tractor grass cutter.Long rake and four pronged pitchfork Mechanical equipment for cutting vegetation Commonly used mechanical equipment: portable cutter. which should not be delayed for more than two days to avoid them catching fire or becoming scattered.

The machine’s useful life is short. approximately 2. can throw out objects such as small stones from under the vegetation with the risk of causing injury to people or animals. Tractor mounted side-arm cutter A hydraulic arm with wheeled head that is mounted on the rear part of a mediumsized agricultural tractor. principally after storms and gales.000 hours. It is used to prune and cut trees or large branches. At the extreme of the arm there is a hydraulically operated rotating axis blade cutter. Precautions should be taken to isolate the area surrounding the work site because the blades. after which maintenance costs are excessively high. Figure 62 .Backpack cutter Figure 63 .Chainsaw Chainsaw A tool powered by a two stroke petrol engine. It is used to cut large lineal extensions such as roadside strips and slopes.10. Figure 64 . where for example they are likely to fall and cause accidents. Street cleaning bushes such as guinea grass (Panicum maximum).Tractor mounted side-arm cutter 141 . which rotate at high speed.

Mini-tractor grass cutter
A compact machine on wheels with a central blade. It is appropriate for cutting large flat and even extensions of grass. This machine does not cut edges but has the advantage of not throwing out stones or other objects while in use.

Figure 65 - Mini-tractor grass cutter

Towed grass cutter
An implement towed by an agricultural tractor. Its cutting width is up to 1.20m and is appropriate for relatively flat land. As with the micro-tractor grass cutter, this implement does not throw out stones or other objects while in use.

Figure 66 - Towed grass cutter

Stationary or towed branch grinder
This machine is powered by a diesel motor. Branches and foliage are fed into the grinder and the ground material passes through a tube to be deposited in a dump truck or container. It is used in areas with many trees and bushes where frequent pruning takes place.


10. Street cleaning

Figure 67 - Branch grinder

An important rule for mechanical vegetation cutting: Work should only be undertaken in a screened off area using protective netting to stop the circulation of people near the area of operations in order to avoid people, vehicles or objects being hit by stones thrown out by machines. Workers should use all the recommended IPE (individual protection equipment).

10.3.4 Drain cleaning services
A well functioning street sweeping system significantly reduces the volume of waste that falls into storm drain inlets or is carried there by rainwater. Consequently the cleaning of drain inlet boxes is usually assigned to the body responsible for urban cleaning. As some sweepers may otherwise sweep debris into the drain inlet boxes, thus slowly clogging them, in general sweepers themselves are responsible for cleaning them. The first step of this operation is to remove the covering grill using a drain key. If the grill is stuck it can be levered out. Where asphalt type material used for repairing the road surface is partially covering the grill it can be removed with a hammer and chisel taking care not to break the grill. The same procedures should be followed when working with any type of rainwater drain. Waste that has accumulated in drain inlet boxes can be removed using worn hoes, which are narrower than new ones, grub hoes or special shell shaped tools. Waste with a low specific weight (leaves and branches) can be put into bags and collected together with sweeping waste. Earth extracted from drains should be collected by dump trucks.


(1) (2)

(4) (3)

Figure 68 - Clogged drain

Figure 69 - Lever (1), hammer (2), chisel (3) and drain key (4)

Drain inlet boxes can also be cleaned using special machines with suction hoses (VacAll type) or sweepers with vacuum suction equipment.

The cleaning of the rainwater drainage network is done with special machines through points of access to the drainage system.

Figure 70 - Pumping truck

A pumping truck is used in urban and industrial operations for cleaning drain boxes, drain accesses, septic tanks, separated chambers and sewers. Waste is pumped through a four inch diameter hose and the most commonly used models have a capacity of 6, 7 or 8m³ corresponding to a truck TGW of 12, 14 or 16 tons respectively. Mechanical sweepers with suction systems usually have tubes appropriate for drain cleaning.

The cleaning of drain inlet boxes in areas that are susceptible to flooding in the event of heavy rain should be regarded as a priority.


10. Street cleaning

10.3.5 Market cleaning services
In most Latin American and Caribbean countries there are informal public street markets set up particularly for the sale of vegetables, fruit, fish and other types of food. Many people go to them and generate large amounts of waste. It is therefore necessary to plan appropriate cleaning services in order to keep the markets clean from the moment they begin functioning until the stalls are dismantled. Market cleaning is done manually and the size of teams should correspond to the size of the market, i.e. the number of stalls and the number of people visiting it. Independently of the market cleaning services that it provides, the Municipality should take firm measures to ensure that stall operators themselves avoid waste being discarded in the street and install receptacles to store waste by their own stalls. While large markets are functioning workers can be collecting waste produced by stall owners and their customers by circulating with manual collection carts lined with large plastic bags. When full these bags can be kept at a storage point adjacent to the market in a location chosen to incur the minimum possible nuisance to the public and facilitate collection by the collection vehicle. Where possible 240 litre plastic containers with lid and wheels should be used to store waste produced while the market is operating. Special attention should be given to stalls selling fish, chicken and pork products.

Figure 71 - Containers located close to a market

When the market is dismantled a larger team of between four and eight workers sweeps and cleans the area. For this task sweeper brooms are used together with shovels and brushes for collecting the waste. In some cities large wooden squeegees are used as an auxiliary tool. Waste is collected by a compactor truck or a dumpster carrier truck.


Once it has been swept the street should be washed by a street washing truck with a pressure water jet, paying particular attention to areas around fish stalls sites, which, along with the drains, should be washed with disinfectant and deodorant products.

(1) (2)



Figure 72 - Sweeper broom (1), brush (2), wooden squeegee (3) and shovel (4) used in market cleaning

10.3.6 Manual and mechanical waste removal services
In many cities with large wasteland areas refuse is often irregularly discarded there. Open wastelands and uncared for public areas, in combination with inadequate urban cleaning systems, generate what are called “waste accumulation sites”. The accumulation often begins with construction rubble being dumped and, as “rubbish attracts rubbish”, this is followed by the addition of pruned vegetation, old tyres, the remains of packaging, and organic waste. Later weeds start to grow and the entire scenario results in blocked drains and serious sanitary and environmental consequences. To deal with this type of problem cleaning services should establish a specific operational methodology as these situations involve not only clearing activities (weeding and vegetation cutting) but also the removal of all types of waste that have accumulated on such sites. This work requires machines and tools appropriate for each type of waste, not only for clearing tasks but also for collection and transport to the final destination, all of which places an additional burden on the system through higher operational costs due to the extra personnel and machines required in these cases. This type of activity is commonly called waste removal and can be manual or mechanical. The removal of unpackaged refuse such as common waste, soil and rubble can be done manually with shovels, lifting it directly into the box of a dump truck or into metal containers that will later be removed by appropriate trucks with cranes. To remove cut vegetation a four pronged fork is used. A three or four pronged pitchfork


Each summer.Three pronged pitchfork 10. the planning of services should involve the following principal elements: ! the frequency of beach cleaning operations should be organized with a view to the beach always being as clean as possible and in good condition for use by citizens. Figure 73 . ! the timing of operations should be compatible with beach activities so as not to inconvenience users. Once these basic measures have been adopted. Street cleaning is used to separate the pile of accumulated waste in order to facilitate its handling and transport. The first and most important of these is to reduce the amount of waste that gets onto the beach by installing rubbish bins both on the beach itself and on pavements that border it so that people can deposit waste in them. 147 . In cases where there is a large amount of waste and especially where a lot of soil or rubble has to be removed the use of a wheeled front loader (mechanical loader) is recommended.Mechanical loader at work Figure 74 .7 Beach cleaning services Sandy beaches have to be kept clean by the application of various complementary measures. alternative structures for depositing waste can be used such as setting vertical concrete pipe sections on the beach lined with plastic bags.10. ! labour requirements are calculated according to the surface area to be maintained. the required frequency of operations and productivity rates determined by field measurements.3. Where it is not possible to install purpose made rubbish bins. awareness raising campaigns should be initiated to promote the use of rubbish bins for waste generated on the beach.

Beach cleaning services can involve both manual and mechanical operations. (1) (2) (5) (3) (4) Figure 75 . concrete pipe section with plastic bag (4) and container (5) Figure 76 . ten pronged pitchforks and plastic net sieves.! service organization can be based on defined sectors or on the entire extension of the relevant beach. The labour productivity rate varies depending on diverse factors such as user behaviour and the availability of rubbish bins. The manual cleaning of the beach surface should ideally be done at the end of every sunny day using wire rakes (usually having 20 to 25 prongs with a 1cm gap between them). ten pronged pitchfork (3). as well as plastic bags and containers for carrying the waste to the compaction vehicle or dump truck that accompanies the team as it progresses.Manual removal of beach waste 148 .000m² per hour per worker can be taken as an initial base value. plastic net sieve (2).Wire rake (1). An average of 1.Waste containers Figure 77 .

sieved.10.000m² per hour. Beach cleaning machines towed by four wheel drive mini-tractors with a maximum potency of 60hp are used. Figure 80 . pass it through a vibratory sieve in order to catch smaller objects and produce a bactericidal effect by exposing lower layers of sand to sunlight.Mechanical beach cleaning 149 . aired and returned to the beach. This type of cleaning collects large and medium-sized waste but leaves ice cream sticks. The type of net used in the sieve varies according to the characteristics of the beach. Sand is taken from a maximum depth of 20cm. The operation of this machine is entirely mechanical.Transfer of beach waste from a tractor drawn trailer to a truck Figure 79 . cigarette ends and food remains. In out of season periods beaches should be cleaned with machines that stir the sand. four wheel drive agricultural tractors with trailers can be used to accompany the cleaning team as they progress along the beach and transport waste to a truck similarly progressing along the street bordering the beach. In these cases purpose built machines towed by agricultural tractors are used and have a productivity of approximately 10. Street cleaning Figure 78 . On very wide beaches (where there is more than 30 metres of sand between the water and the land). straws.Manual beach cleaning Mechanical cleaning is appropriate for beaches with large amounts of waste and big extensions of sand.

gutters and pavements. Such an operation should be carried out using tractor-bulldozers and mechanical loaders after an environmental study has been undertaken by specialists. ! instalment of rubbish bins in streets with high pedestrian concentrations. at bus stops and in front of bars. Figure 81 .Smooth pavements and gutters facilitate cleaning Figure 82 .4 How to reduce street waste The amount of solid waste in streets can be reduced through: ! ! smooth surfaces and appropriate inclination for streets.An option that may be considered for very crowded beaches is to replace sand above the tide line with sand from below it that has been washed by the sea and is therefore cleaner.Uneven gutters make cleaning difficult ! planting tree species in combinations that do not result in abundant leaf fallings several times a year.Rubbish bins 150 . Figure 83 . 10. on corners. cafes and supermarkets. appropriate dimensions and maintenance for rainwater drainage systems.

10. Figure 84 .A dirty square The dirty and uncared for appearance of the square is added to by so-called “white waste”. As can be seen.Waste being swept into the street 151 . ! ! public awareness raising campaigns related to the maintenance of cleanliness. establishment of legal devices that sanction citizens who disobey urban cleaning regulations. urban cleaning issues are related to various aspects of public urban works and should be taken into account by the respective municipal bodies when urban improvement projects are being planned. plastic and packaging. made up of papers. (Figure 85) Figure 85 – Figure 85 . In general it can be observed that in well cared for and well maintained streets passersby are more conscious of cleanliness and discard less rubbish on the ground. Commercial establishments should not be allowed to sweep their waste onto the street. Those who persist in doing so should be fined and for this the municipality needs to have a good supervision system. Street cleaning ! regular sweeping and waste removal from waste accumulation sites (“rubbish attracts rubbish” while “cleanliness promotes cleanliness”).

There are also cultural and behavioural questions with some tourists who take the view that as it is not their city they are not interested in keeping it clean.“Molok” type container in use 152 . principally in regard to sweeping and. A good example is the increase in the number of people circulating through the streets and the consequent generation of waste in different quantities and at different times than those in the normal routine of the city.10. the measures that have to be implemented to maintain required levels of street cleanliness are: ! increase the hours of work shifts (overtime) on some sweeping routes in order to respond to the greater seasonal demand for services. These however are the same tourists who will not return to the city if they consider it dirty or not well cared for. In regard to sweeping.5 Street cleaning in tourist cities As is the case with domestic waste collection. Another aspect that creates difficulties for cleaning services is that in general tourists are not acquainted with the operational routine of cleaning in the city and many times they do not do what they should as users to cooperate with the body providing the service. An underlying cause of these problems is the temporary population increase and the resultant increase in demand for public services. in the case of coastal cities. beach cleaning. ! restructure existing routes increasing the number of sweeping shifts and contracting extra workers on a temporary basis. Figure 86 . They discard rubbish indiscriminately and fail to comply with behavioural norms and regulations. taking into account the limits imposed by employment legislation. an influx of tourists to a city causes considerable problems for the street cleaning service.

One general administrative measure that a municipality can take to reduce problems faced by the urban cleaning sector during the high tourist season is to schedule employees’ holidays for the months of the low season so that during periods when demand for services is at its greatest the entire staff is available. and equip it with all the tools necessary to carry out this service. difficult to mechanize and relatively labour intensive.10. with few exceptions. In the case of coastal tourist cities the problems are more difficult to solve as. Such a campaign can and should be directed to the entire city but may concentrate more on neighbourhoods associated with tourism and along the seashore where applicable. they do not maintain teams exclusively for beach cleaning services. restaurants and entertainment establishments. Street cleaning It is also important to increase the numbers and maintenance of containers and rubbish bins strategically positioned in streets. The aesthetics of these units and their integration with the landscape should be taken into account. The campaign should encourage people to take better care of the city and guide visitors to cooperate in maintaining hygienic conditions and cleanliness in the streets. For an effective provision of this service during the tourist season the most appropriate course of action may be to contract a separate team to undertake the cleaning of the beach and its bordering seafront. 153 . squares and other public spaces to facilitate appropriate waste disposal. such as hotels. An ongoing awareness raising campaign can be run throughout the high tourist season with the participation of companies that benefit from tourism. which are complex. Extending work shifts and giving seasonal tasks to workers who normally perform other activities is in general neither feasible nor sufficient to solve the problem completely.

11 Recovery of recyclable materials 154 .

This concern with waste issues is due both to the potential for contamination and the continuous need to find new final disposal sites. Recover. through a change in consumption habits.1 Concept With the growing prominence of environmental conservation policies citizens are becoming increasingly concerned about solid waste issues. books and other products. the less waste the better. 155 . mostly associated with energy generation. recycling is the one that provokes most public interest principally due to its clear claims to environmental benefits. Recycle and Recover). resulting in what is known as 4Rs practice (Reduce. On an international level these issues have prompted a debate about the consumption habits of societies and the responsibility of companies. Reuse. This process requires the segregation of waste at source. 4 Rs practice: reduce – aimed at diminishing the amount of disposable packaging and containers. Reuse.11. Recovery of recyclable materials 11. in transfer stations or at final disposal sites. and therefore of companies’ production. not to mention the negative impacts caused by an irrational consumption of non-renewable natural resources. reuse – the reuse of a material or product without changing its shape or original nature. favouring products with more durability and less packaging. Different types of waste can be reused such as bottles. Reduce. a positive contribution where reduce and reuse are not applicable. a reorientation of consumers’ needs and purchasing preferences. newspapers. fruit of capitalist society’s high consumption model. putting pressure on producing companies to use the least amount of packaging possible. maximize or diversify the use of a given consumer product. This concept establishes the principle of waste generation prevention. favouring products that are less damaging to the environment and avoid wastage. Recycle. magazines. recycle – the transformation of materials into raw material for production processes. not only concerns environmentalists but also governments and the general public. That is. recover – principally related to appropriate waste incineration processes that produce energy and consequently conserve fossil fuels. The increased per capita waste generation. The reorientation of consumers’ preferences. taking as its departure point reduction. In spite of the integral nature and order of the 4Rs. One of the most important incentives for recycling is the saving of energy and natural resources.

However the social and environmental benefits of these programs also have to be considered.11. shops and factories) and associated with a program of income and employment generation.2 Selective collection programs A significant role can be played by educational programs that promote 4Rs practice and foster the development of environmental awareness amongst citizens. the generation of income and employment. The principal benefits of recycling discarded materials (plastic. is the one most applied in Latin American and Caribbean cities. Traditional models applied in developed countries almost always involve public subsidies and are difficult to apply in developing countries. 156 . for the most part related to pre-recycling waste segregation. offices. The great challenge in implementing selective collection programs is to find a model that is in itself economically sustainable. particularly in less developed countries. Another example is the establishment of partnerships between public authorities and civil organizations. paper. almost always in extremely precarious conditions. the prolongation of sanitary landfills’ useful life. such as segregator cooperatives. A scarcity of resources often hinders the implementation of such programs but some municipalities are endeavouring to promote alternative models adapted to fit their particular economic circumstances. the saving of energy in production processes. metal and glass) are: ! ! ! ! the saving of non-renewable raw materials. in which the latter undertake the collection of materials. can become instruments for income and employment generation. In practice. where large parts of the population live in poor socioeconomic conditions projects can be established that involve the “bartering” of recyclable materials for food and an increased level of community participation. For example. This aspect has a significant relevance to many Latin American and Caribbean cities where social crises have resulted in large numbers of people turning to refuse segregation as a means of survival through the commercialization of recyclable materials. These programs. a model involving the selective collection of materials at the source of generation (houses.

voluntary drop-off centres. 157 . 11. in a similar way to conventional domestic waste collection. Figure 87 – Selective collection by compactor truck Figure 88 – Selective collection by truck without compaction The separation of recyclable materials in households can be done in two ways: identifying and separating different types of recyclable material and storing them in separate containers. Recovery of recyclable materials Amongst the options available for the segregation of recyclable materials at the source of generation are: ! ! ! selective door to door collection.1 Selective door to door collection The most commonly used model for selective collection programs is the segregation by residents of discarded recyclable materials. which are then collected by specialized vehicles from each housing unit. or putting all recyclable materials in one container. segregator organizations.11.2.

glass and plastic. door to door selective collection can be made once a week using open box trucks. generally equipped with tables. which are stored in a container for this category and are collected by the selective collection service. In most cities where the system is operated. Once collected. The relatively long interval between selective collections is possible because of the inert nature of recyclable materials. Figure 89 – Recyclables segregation plant It is important that the public is clearly informed of the correct criteria for the separation of materials for commercialization in order to avoid the expense incurred with transporting and handling non-recyclable waste at the segregation plant. This model also requires a collection truck with a box divided into compartments to transport materials separately. With the other more commonly used model residents separate domestic waste into two categories: ! organic material (damp) – including the remains of food and non-recyclable materials that are stored in a container for this category and are collected by the normal domestic waste collection service.The system in which different types of recyclable materials are separated requires more space for keeping the containers. ! recyclable materials (dry) – paper. metal. which makes it more difficult in apartments or small houses. Segregation plants should also have presses so that materials with a lower specific weight (paper and plastic) can be baled to facilitate storage and transport. one for each type of recyclable material. recyclable materials should be transported to a segregation plant. where materials are separated by type in preparation for their commercialization. The principal disadvantages of door to door selective collection are the increased transport costs involved in the need for extra collection trucks and the high unitary cost of collection compared with conventional collection. 158 .

Consequently planning for a project has to allow for the necessary resources to run such campaigns. which are fundamental to maintaining citizen participation levels. Ideally it should standardize. washers. regulate and foster the process without participating directly in its operation. etc. Table 15 Colour code for recyclable solid waste Container colour Blue Red Green Yellow Brown Recyclable material Paper and Cardboard Plastic Glass Metal Organic waste Source: CONAMA resolution Nº 275 of 25/4/2001 (Brazil) 159 . labour and structure. which will then be used for identifying containers and collection trucks. The responsible public body usually standardizes the program to facilitate organization and community participation. all of which reduces the costs and work of the municipality. As an incentive it could invest in warehouses and equipment such as bale-presses. 11. to add value to the recyclable material.11. transported and disposed of in a landfill. It can for example define a colour code for the different types of waste. A selective collection system in which a municipality does not directly participate but establishes alliances with the community for operating it. Recovery of recyclable materials Both before and after the initiation of selective collection services the public authority should continuously encourage citizen participation through promotional campaigns and environmental education. grinders.2. See the suggestions in table 15. as well as in waste segregation educational campaigns.2 Voluntary Drop-off Centres (VDC) Containers sited in public places for the public to voluntarily deposit pre-segregated recyclable waste. Selective collection is not profitable when the municipality uses its own vehicles. results in significant economic benefits for the urban cleaning system as previously segregated recyclable materials will not need to be collected.

Special containers for a VDC Figure 91 . Here too it is important to regularly empty VDC containers in order to avoid irregular waste accumulation on the site. To overcome the language problem it is recommended that images are used to indicate the correct storage container for each type of recyclable material.Examples of VDCs 160 . Figure 90 .VDCs can be set up in partnership with private companies that can for example finance their installation in return for the use of the site for advertisements. Some municipalities are establishing partnerships with recycling companies that finance both the installation of containers and the collection of materials deposited in them. The establishment of VDCs in tourist areas should take into account potential communication problems with the labelling of containers.

providing basic equipment such as bale-presses. etc. which though still incipient has nevertheless grown significantly 4. The principal advantages of working with segregator organizations are: ! ! ! ! the generation of income and employment. principally in regard to granting the use of physical space. 161 . ! a reduction in the costs of the city’s urban cleaning system due to the collection of part of the waste by segregators leaving less waste for collection. Improvements in this sector’s working conditions depend to a large degree on several institutions having an articulated vision and commitment that leads to the formulation and implementation of effective public policies. providing juridical and administrative assistance for legalization processes and. In spite of advances. It is important that municipalities adopting this model offer institutional support to segregator organizations. a reduction in the costs of selective collection programs. transportation and final disposal. carts. in an effort to include a social dimension in their selective collection programs or pressed by groups of segregators themselves. as has already been mentioned. standardized carts. One of the main factors that fosters the strengthening and success of segregator organizations is the profitable commercialization of recyclable materials. The less 4. held in Brazil in 2003 and 2005.11. establish some type of agreement or partnership with segregator cooperatives that then undertake the collection and separation of discarded recyclable materials.3 Segregator organizations The appearance of numerous segregator organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean during recent decades reflects not only the socioeconomic crises that many of these countries have experienced but also segregators’ capacity for articulation and organization. Segregators from several Latin American countries met to define common strategies at the first and second Latin American Congress of Recyclable Material Segregators. Such savings on costs should benefit segregator organizations in the form of investment in uniforms and infrastructure (warehouses for segregation and storage. the organization of segregators’ work to avoid untidiness in waste collection and the storage of materials in the streets. working conditions for most segregators are still very precarious and many of them continue to work without any support or acknowledgement. Assistance should also be provided for the training of organization members to promote greater autonomy. Many municipalities. Recovery of recyclable materials 11. presses. the social inclusion of segregators (who mostly live in the streets) as citizens.2. bale lifters) so that the segregated materials increase in value in the recyclables market.

! ample scale of production and storage: the larger the production and the quantity available to the buyer. provision of uniforms and individual protection equipment. Amongst the measures that should be taken in support of segregator organizations are: ! administrative and accounting support.intermediaries that are involved in the process between the segregator organizations and the final consumer (the recycling industry) the higher the sale price will be. ! ! ! ! implementation of a social assistance program for segregators and their children. Figure 92 – Segregators from a cooperative working in the street 162 . with a low impurity content and appropriate packaging or baling). especially when operations are beginning to be established. implementation of rehabilitation programs for those with a dependency on chemical substances. the lack of which would hinder efficient performance. These conditions are rarely achieved by small groups but the organization of joint commercialization centres is an option that creates better conditions for direct negotiations with recycling companies. the better the selling conditions. the contracting of a professional specialized in management to train the group. implementation of literacy courses and training for segregators. ! regular production and delivery to the final consumer. When a public authority enters into partnership with a segregator organization it is important that it continues to offer institutional support for the provision of basic needs. ! implementation of environmental education programs for segregators. The following basic conditions should be met: ! good quality material (sorted by type of material.

also help with the commercialization of recyclable materials. during the initial phase. 163 . All these initiatives and types of support should be applied with a view to eventual sustainability.11. the public authority can. it is important that the strengthening of the segregator groups leads in the long term to them gaining more autonomy and independence in their activities. it is recommended that the group has a small liquid capital so that segregators’ minimum incomes are guaranteed until better commercialization conditions are re-established. For the eventuality of difficulties related to fluctuations in the buying market. Recovery of recyclable materials Taking into account the lack of experience of those running the organizations. that is.

12 Solid waste treatment 164 .

Biological ! aerobic – stabilization and composting processes that principally generate water. economic and sanitary benefits. Processes applied to solid waste can be mechanical. ! compaction – reduces empty spaces (increases waste density). Solid waste treatment 12. ! grinding – reduces the granulometry and volume of waste as well as mixing and homogenizing it. These processes. producing high energy liquids and gases and less atmospheric contamination. The most effective treatment is applied by the general public when they take action to reduce the amount of solid waste by avoiding wastage. acetic acid. known as waste treatment. Thermal ! incineration – controlled burning at high temperature in purpose built equipment with environmental control devices. of oxygen at a lower temperature than that involved in incineration. contribute to human and environmental protection. thermal or biological. ! anaerobic – important for the production of methane. ! pyrolysis – thermally induced waste degradation in the absence.1 Concept Between collection and final disposal municipal solid waste can be subject to processes that produce technical-operational. 165 .12. separating recyclable material at source and appropriately disposing of waste. The objectives of solid waste treatment are to reduce its volume and to lower its contaminating potential by transforming it into inert or biologically stable material. Mechanical ! classification – sorting by economic criteria or as a preparatory step for subsequent processing. reusing materials. other acids of low molecular weight and some unpleasantly smelling toxic gases such as sulfhidric acid (H2S). carbon dioxide and heat. or limited presence. Waste degradation is slower and generates fatty acids.

plastic.2. economies in solid waste transport costs and in the occupation of landfills (as the amount of waste to be transported to the landfill is reduced). If the necessary precautions are not taken recyclable material transformation processes can be extremely harmful to the environment. Recycling offers the following advantages: ! conservation of natural resources. ! ! ! generation of income and employment. Recyclable material contained in general domestic solid waste can be separated in the segregation plant through manual or electromechanical processes that in terms of weight usually yield only 3% to 6%. greater public awareness of social and environmental problems.2 Domestic solid waste treatment 12. energy saving. so its processing is more complicated and expensive. The high cost of recyclable material transformation processes has resulted in many recycling companies not following environmental guidelines stipulating the use of clean (but expensive) technologies. glass and metal from domestic solid waste. Such prior separation reduces the amount of contamination affecting materials and in consequence increases the productivity of segregation plants. the outcome is much worse than if the waste had been disposed of in a sanitary landfill. depending on the plant’s size and degree of sophistication. In such a case. their sale to specialized companies and their transformation into material for producing goods that can be sold in the consumer market. where it would be subject to more rigorous environmental controls. together with the rest of the domestic waste.1 Recycling The recycling process comprises: the segregation of materials such as paper. Recyclable material segregated from mixed solid waste is dirty and contaminated. ! The ideal recycling system begins with the separation of solid waste in homes so that only potentially recyclable materials are sent to segregation plants. 166 .12.

This subject is dealt with in the next section. are in general as expressed in the following flow chart of a hypothetical plant with an intake capacity of 1. provided there is compost production.500kg/ day (see figure 93). from the total amount of waste that arrives for processing only 12.Flow chart of the process and mass fraction proportions These percentages however are based on the optimum operational performance conditions for a segregation and composting plant. This material is inert and therefore not contaminating because the residual organic content has been stabilized with most of the organic matter being transformed into compost. Solid waste treatment After the segregation of recyclable material that can be used for production. thus avoiding a mixture of recyclable and non-recyclable waste and reducing the percentage of nonrecoverable waste. It can be seen that. thus reducing the amount of non-recoverable waste. 167 .6% needs to be transported to the final disposal site. Domestic waste collection 189kg/day (12. ! reception of domestic waste from differentiated collections. The gravimetric values (in weight) of the different types of solid waste after processing in a segregation plant with a composting unit.12. and their uses. which are: ! small-sized unit (low quantity of waste to be processed) which facilitates maximum efficiency of manual segregation.6%) Landfill Refuse Grinding of the predominantly organic fraction 60kg/day (humidity loss 4%) Selection table Pre-selection of bulky objects Reception Recyclable materials Compost curing piles Loss of matter heat+CO +water 225kg/day (15%) Recoverable materials Storage of composted ground material Refuse Organic preparation (compost) 456kg/day (30. can be processed to obtain compost for agricultural use. ! existence of a strong and diversified market for recyclable materials so that the commercialization of a wide range of materials is possible.4%) Sieving Figure 93 . the rest of the domestic waste. which is fundamentally organic.

or hydraulic arm grabs. ! storage of unloaded waste in silos or warehouses of a size compatible with the daily processing capacity. the average production of nonrecoverable waste in recycling and composting plants can be estimated as 25% of the total weight of refuse processed there. thus freeing the operation of the processing lines from dependence on the functioning of feeding equipment. Reception Here collection trucks unload domestic solid waste and the following processes are applied in sequence: ! determination of the volume or of the weight using a weighbridge. which can be affected by local particularities. As in practice optimum conditions rarely exist. overhead cranes. Feeding The loading of waste onto the processing line by means of machines such as loaders. In smaller plants feeding can be manual. or in smaller establishments by means of estimative calculations. In bigger establishments devices can be used to enable trucks to unload solid waste directly onto the processing lines. The operation of a segregation and composting plant is divided into three stages: reception. 168 . as mentioned in chapter 5. Clearly this proportion depends on the composition of the domestic solid waste generated in each city. which results in a larger percentage of non recyclable waste at the end of the process. Selection In this sector the flow of waste on the selection lines is regulated and segregation by type of recyclable material is carried out. feeding and selection.In the case of bigger recycling and composting units (in large cities) the level of recyclable material recovery tends to be less and the amount of disposable material for treatment greater.

) can be seen and separated by segregators nearer to the end of the line. Solid waste treatment Equipment used for flow regulation comprises metal conveyor belts and mixer drums. In general simple plants only have selection conveyor belts. a concrete table can be used that should be slightly inclined and have raised lateral borders to avoid the fall of waste. In this type of plant the waste that arrives from collection is unloaded close to the end of the selection table and is transferred to the table by a worker with a pitchfork or another appropriate tool. The ones near the beginning of the conveyor belt separate larger objects (paper. The latter are appropriate for plants with a maximum capacity of 10tons per hour per line. The distinct selection processes can be set up independently of each other or be interconnected.Manual selection in a small capacity recycling plant 169 . In general. In plants that process up to 10tons/day. while more complete ones use other equipment that itself removes recyclable materials or assists manual segregation. magnetic separators and pneumatic separators.12. Segregators are stationed along the selection belt next to channels or containers. cardboard and sheet plastic) so that smaller objects (aluminium cans. etc. Examples of auxiliary equipment are: sieves. the first position on the selection line is occupied by a worker who breaks open bags and scatters their contents across the width of the belt in order to facilitate the work of the other segregators. The selection conveyor belt speed should be 10 to 12m/min. In establishments that have several parallel selection belts they should be installed on a level that is high enough to allow for a level below them where baling presses can operate and there should be enough space available for moving segregated materials. Figure 94 . to allow sufficient time for the manual separation of materials by the segregators. Waste is manually pushed along the table by segregators using small planks as recyclable materials are withdrawn. ballistic separators. glass containers. instead of a selection belt.

It is important to note that a segregation plant can only operate if the urban cleaning system of the city includes the selective collection of hazardous waste. sheet plastic (low density polyethylene). PET). etc. HDPE. etc. However in most plants the following materials are segregated: ! ! ! ! ! ! ! paper and cardboard. ferrous metal (cans. entire bottles.Manual selection in a large capacity recycling plant The type of recyclable material that will be separated in a segregation plant depends above all on demand from the industry. coloured glass. Figure 95 . mixed glass. 12. such as medical waste. It is essential that this type of material does not arrive at the segregation plant in order to avoid endangering workers who handle the waste.).Large capacity recycling plants need to use a high level of mechanization for feeding and the movement of the large volumes of waste along the operational lines. transparent glass. non-ferrous metal (aluminium cans. hard plastic (PVC. lead. It 170 . antimony.2. sheet metal.2 Composting Composting is the natural biological degradation of organic materials (with carbon in their structure) of animal or vegetable origin through the action of micro organisms.). Street sweeping waste and construction rubble should also not be brought to the segregation plant as they contain materials that can damage the machines.

In aerobic composting. it takes place at relatively low temperatures. The waste also contains pathogenic micro organisms such as salmonella and streptococcus. dark in colour and high in colloidal particle content that when applied to soil improves its physical characteristics for agriculture. to the mass of organic domestic waste for composting to take place. including chemical substance. emits a strong unpleasant odour and requires more time for the organic matter to stabilize. The final product of an organic waste aerobic composting process is compost. Temperatures can reach 70ºC. These pathogenic agents are eliminated by the heat generated in the biological process as they do not survive temperatures in excess of 55ºC for more than 24 hours. which in natural composting systems takes approximately 60 days. Factors that influence composting A sufficient quantity of the micro organisms necessary for degrading organic matter is inherently present in domestic waste. bio-stabilization. Solid waste treatment is not necessary to add any type of substance.12. Stages of composting The aerobic composting process can be divided into two stages. Composting can be aerobic or anaerobic. a material rich in hummus and mineral nutrients that can be used in agriculture to improve soil quality and as a fertilizer. degradation is caused by micro organisms that only live in environments containing oxygen. depending on the presence or absence of oxygen in the process. The first stage. Structurally the micro organisms that degrade the organic matter are approximately 90% water. The second stage. If humidity and airing are appropriately controlled these micro-organisms proliferate quickly and homogeneously throughout the mass of waste. involves a significant increase in the temperature of the organic mass. therefore the water content has to be controlled during the process. the more appropriate treatment for domestic waste. In this stage the humidification and mineralization of the organic matter takes place. Hummus is a completely bio-stabilized homogeneous organic substance. odours are not unpleasant and degradation is quicker. In anaerobic composting. reaching 65ºC and later stabilizing at the ambient temperature towards the end of the cycle. takes another 30 days. maturing. degradation is caused by micro organisms that live in environments without oxygen. 171 .

A lack of oxygen produces unpleasant odours. every 10 days until completing 60 days).Aerobic composting in a small capacity plant 172 . Once it is biologically stable the material is refined in a sieve and is ready to be used in the preparation of agricultural soils. Factors such as humidity. the greater the surface area that is exposed to oxygen and therefore the shorter the composting process. The surface of the area where piles are set in a composting plant should be smooth. Compost is aired by stirring the material with mechanical loaders or special machines. and from then on. These effluents. Sufficient space for the storage of compost that is ready for use should also be made available. with bases of up to 3m per side or 2m diameter and be no more than 1. well compacted and if possible surfaced. temperature and granulometry influence the availability of oxygen. if particles are too small an excessively compacted mass can result.In aerobic composting the metabolism of the micro organisms needs oxygen. the smaller the particles. should be sanitarily treated in stabilization ponds. which in well managed piles are produced in very small quantities. The organic matter remains there until its bio-stabilization and is stirred with a predetermined frequency (for example. In addition. on the third day after the formation of the pile. Figure 96 . During the aerobic stage the more the matter is exposed to oxygen. Composting piles should have a pyramidal or conical shape. When designing the composting area sufficient space has to be planned for between the piles so that trucks. However.50m to 2m in height. In such plants the waste is fragmented in a hammer-mill and then “piles” are set. In small units it can be stirred manually with pitchforks or other tools. which makes the airing process more difficult. the quicker the degradation. mechanical loaders and special machines for stirring the piles can circulate. with enough of a slope (2%) for rainwater and leachates produced in the composting process to run off. Simple composting plants Simple plants make compost naturally in the open air.

Compost can be used for any type of cultivation. Table 16 Values established in Brazil for commercialized compost Parameter Organic matter Total Nitrogen Humidity C/N relation PH Value > 40% > 1.10% . A conical form facilitates the running off of rainwater and avoids the pile becoming saturated. commercialized compost produced by domestic waste composting plants must comply with minimum values established by the Ministry of Agriculture.12. Hummus makes soil more porous thus facilitating the airing of roots and the retention of water and nutrients. It can be used to correct soil acidity and rehabilitate eroded areas.Aerobic composting in a large capacity plant If the height of the piles is more than 2m it is difficult to stir and air the organic mass. phosphorus. Characteristics of compost The principal characteristic of compost produced by domestic waste composting is the presence of hummus and mineral nutrients. In Brazil. These values are presented in table 16 as a reference.0% < 40% < 18/1 > 6. for example. calcium. Compost quality In general compost quality is standardized on the basis of parameters established by public institutions in each country with a view to ensuring its effective application in agriculture. which are absorbed by plant roots. Solid waste treatment Figure 97 . potassium. the amounts of which determine the quality of the compost. Mineral nutrients can comprise up to 6% of the weight of the compost and include nitrogen. magnesium and iron.0 Margin .10% + 10% 21/1 .10% 173 . whether or not chemical fertilizers are being used.

supervise the setting up of a plant. One of the main concerns of compost users is the presence of heavy metals in sufficient concentrations to be prejudicial for cultivation and/or produce consumers. When determining which machines to install it should always be taken into account that the more sophisticated and automatic they are. maintain machines and supervise their operation. ceramics and batteries contain heavy metals. availability of sufficient space to establish a segregation plant and/or composting area.Compost must be periodically subject to physical and chemical analysis in order to verify its compliance with the minimum quality standards established by the relevant governmental body. it is unlikely that compost produced from domestic waste will contain a concerning level of heavy metals because of the socioeconomic characteristics of most of the population and therefore the type of waste generated. In most Latin American and Caribbean cities. However. existence of selective collection for domestic. textiles.3 Choosing a treatment option Segregation and/or composting plants are alternatives that municipalities should consider when planning the treatment of domestic solid waste that they collect. Composting plants’ segregation operations must remove these materials as much as is possible from the waste that is received.2. existence of a market for recyclables and compost in the region. rubber. 174 . the higher the initial investment and maintenance costs and the lower the level of employment generation. especially in small and medium-sized ones. ! ! availability of resources to finance initial investment. before proceeding they should examine the practicalities of the following required conditions: ! ! ! ! existence of a reasonably efficient and regular collection system. Some components of domestic waste such as coloured paper. 12. availability of personnel with sufficient technical training to select appropriate technology. public and medical waste.

savings through reduced sanitary landfill costs resulting from reduced waste volumes. the implementation. 175 . and on the other. energy and tariffs of public service concessionaires. ! indirect ! ! savings through the reduced cost of transport to the sanitary landfill. A considered economic feasibility study of any proposed project should be undertaken taking into account on the one hand the advantages of installing a plant (reduction of the amount of waste to be transported and buried. purchase and legalization of land. labour intensive systems are recommended such as manual segregation plants. technical. environmental benefits). management and administration teams). Solid waste treatment In Latin American and Caribbean countries. purchase of machines and tools. operational and maintenance costs.12. Income ! direct ! sale of compost and recyclable material. Expenditure ! ! ! ! personnel (non-qualified labour. architectural and engineering planning and works. capital expenditure (interest and amortization) and depreciation. where there is high unemployment. generation of incomes and employment. ECONOMIC FEASIBILITY STUDIES Prior to the establishment of a segregation or composting plant an economic feasibility study should be carried out covering the following points: Investment ! ! ! ! ! environmental licenses. spare parts and machine replacement. sale of compost and recyclable material. operation and maintenance.

good quality material. RECYCLABLE MATERIALS MARKET The market for recyclable material is growing rapidly and offers significant rates of return.Environmental ! ! ! energy savings. Social ! provision of dignified and formal employment for segregators – the participation of segregator organizations in plants should be prioritized whenever possible. However. It is unlikely that the direct income from a segregation and composting plant will cover its expenditures and the project should not be entered into as a profitable undertaking from a strictly commercial perspective. natural resource savings. The use of recyclable material results in a saving of energy and resources that would otherwise be used in the transformation of raw materials and this. regularity of supply. together with the transformation of organic matter separated from waste into compost that improves agricultural soils. represents a significant environmental and economic benefit from segregation and composting plants. taken as a whole. although there has been a concomitant increase in quality requirements. 176 . reduced environmental contamination from waste. it can be seen as being extremely positive when indirect income and the potential for significant environmental and social benefits are considered. Segregation and composting plants generate income and employment and reduce the amount of waste to be disposed of in sanitary landfills or refuse dumps. promotion of public environmental awareness. ! ! income generation. Companies that buy recyclables impose three basic conditions: ! ! ! sufficient production scale.

12. including the sale price and production flow.3 Treatment of special domestic waste 12. are easier to commercialize in the market.3.1 Construction rubble The most common treatment of construction rubble is its segregation. ! ! the availability on the market of cheaper construction materials. cleaning and grinding for reuse in the construction industry itself. the creation of employment for unqualified labour. Three factors should be analyzed in a pre-establishment evaluation for a rubble recycling plant in a particular location. and so more valuable. an improvement in the urban environment due to reduced indiscriminate dumping of construction rubble in the streets. Another fundamental requirement is to have a storage place for the materials in order to rationalize their transport to the customer and be able to offer larger amounts of recyclable material and in consequence obtain better prices. aluminium cans and hard plastic. the conservation of non-renewable raw material. reinforced concrete works of art and pre-moulded elements. The establishment of recycling plants for this type of material should therefore be fostered and the possibility of charging special tariffs should be considered to ensure their economic viability. and 177 . The commercialization of these products. Market prices vary and are directly influenced by the price of raw materials as well as other factors such as the level of demand from recycling companies for a particular recyclable material at certain periods of the year. However an abundance of. Recycled rubble can be used in the base and sub-base of roads or as gross aggregate in construction works. depends on the existence of local recycling companies that are interested in them. relatively clean. Availability of natural aggregate – a scarcity of. Some segregator cooperatives seek ways of increasing the value of their recyclable material by for example endeavouring to make it as clean as possible and at least segregating and baling the different types of paper and cardboard. natural deposits of raw material favours rubble recycling. The recycling of construction rubble has the following advantages: ! ! ! a reduction in the extraction of raw material. In order of importance they are: Demographic density – a high demographic density in the area is essential to ensure a constant supply of rubble to the recycling plant.12. Solid waste treatment Materials that are appropriately segregated. eliminating intermediary agents. They will also endeavour to sell directly to companies. or difficult access to.

price). regulations in force). type and quality. processing (feasibility. responsible agent.easy access to. recycled material (technical quality. ! ! ! In connection with commercialization: ! ! ! natural raw material (quality. reserves). distances.basic features 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 - Administration Control centre Entry checkpoint Feeder Grinder Conveyor belt Rubble to be recycled Storage Area Reception Area Green Belt Garden 178 . quantity. existing local regulations). market conditions (type. organization and machines). Also. collection and final disposal possibilities (prices. Technical level – it is necessary to use appropriate technologies to avoid environmental degredation. current consumption.Rubble recycling plant . Figure 98 . rubble transport). the following factors should be studied: In connection with rubble received: ! rubble characteristics (quantity. place of origin. price. standards). demolition and renovation (techniques applied. natural deposits does not necessarily exclude the viability of rubble recycling. technical team. The location of a recycling plant on the periphery of an urban area is of fundamental importance in order to keep the final cost of the recycled product down.

the unloading of the vehicle will not be allowed and it will be sent to a sanitary landfill. which is pressed. able to receive and grind construction rubble without the prior separation of iron rods that therefore remain inside concrete blocks. baled and commercialized. In the semi-automatic process iron is separated before grinding. The rest of the material passes through a revolving sieve that segregates it according to granulometric characteristics. 179 .12. Figure 99 . The grinder feeder should be equipped with water sprinklers to minimize the emission of dust and a rubber lining to keep noise levels within the limits established by environmental control bodies.General view of a rubble recycling plant The plant should receive only inert waste so that there is no possibility of releasing contaminating substances. The automatic process employs a robust machine of great potency. ! in the reception area it is superficially inspected to determine whether the load is compatible with the grinder. Solid waste treatment Construction rubble recycling can be done in two ways: automatic and semi-automatic. After being ground the material passes through a magnetic separator to remove ferrous material. If it is not of an appropriate type. The appropriate procedures and control devices should be adopted to avoid the emission of particles. Operational sequence for a semi-automatic plant ! rubble brought in by collection trucks is weighed on the recycling plant’s weighbridge and sent to the reception area.


if the material is compatible with the machinery the vehicle unloads in the reception area. Manual segregation takes place there, separating out material of no use such as plastic, metal and small amounts of organic matter;


during manual segregation a mechanical loader is used to stir the material and facilitate the work of segregators;


the separated out material is categorized into what can be commercialized (scrap iron) and what is for disposal (the rest of the material), and is put in separate areas for storage and future disposal respectively;


material with larger dimensions than those of the feeding mouth is not accepted, nor concrete blocks with internal iron rods that can damage the mill by breaking the hammers. In some cases reception area workers can break the blocks and separate out the iron;


material in which significant amounts of plastic are incorporated must never be admitted as it can damage the machines;


rubble from small construction works often arrives in bags and is manually unpacked before the feeding and grinding operations;


once material that is of no use has been removed, the rubble is lightly dampened by a sprinkler system in order to minimize the dust generated during grinding. A mechanical loader then places it in the feeder, which regulates its entry into the grinder.

Figure 100 - Rubble recycling plant - feeder and grinder


from the feeder the material passes to the mill where it is ground. From the grinder the material moves along a small conveyor belt equipped with a magnetic separator to separate iron that was not seen during the manual segregation and was introduced into the impact mill;


12. Solid waste treatment


later the material passes to the vibratory sieve that segregates it according to predefined granulometry;


each type of material is transported to its respective storage area on a conventional constant speed conveyor belt.

Conveyor belts are mounted on wheels so that they can be moved sideways in a semicircle in the storage area. This facilitates direct transportation to the storage area in an interrupted operation that avoids the need to move piles of ground material with a mechanical loader.

Figure 101 - Rubble recycling plant - grinder and conveyor belt

The conveyor belt wheels should move on a concrete surface strong enough to support its weight. The sideways movement of the belt is a manual operation carried out by storage area workers each time that the pile of ground rubble reaches the maximum height allowed by the incline of the belt. In the storage area the ground material should always be kept damp to avoid scattering by the wind and dust generation. Vehicles that take ground rubble away are loaded with a mechanical loader similar to the one used in the reception area. Products made with recycled rubble include:
! ! ! ! !

pavement paving slabs; road sub-base and base; breeze blocks for cheaper housing walls and masonry; fine aggregate for surfacing; aggregate for storm drain inlet, kerb and gutter construction.


The costs presented here are based on the establishment and operation of a large automatic rubble recycling plant with a 100 ton/hour production capacity located 10km from the urban perimeter:
! !

cost of the plant (construction work + machines): US$ 1,091,274.33 unit production cost: US$ 10.30/ton

The establishment and operational costs for a semiautomatic plant are as follows: A 120 ton/day capacity plant:
! ! !

investment costs: US$ 45,000.00 construction work: US$ 25,000.00 maintenance/operation: US$ 11.50/ton

A 240 ton/day capacity plant:
! ! !

investment costs: US$ 80,000.00 construction work: US$ 30,000.00 maintenance/operation: US$ 13.60/ton

12.3.2 Tyres
Problems caused by the inappropriate disposal of tyres in wasteland, watercourses and streets, especially in peripheral urban areas, are a source of growing concern for public authorities due to their significant environmental impacts. Due to climatic conditions and other characteristics particular to Latin American and Caribbean countries, the problem is of equal concern from a public health perspective as inappropriately discarded tyres become a shelter and breeding ground for disease vectors due to the water that accumulates in them. In the United States, where the consumption of tyres is equivalent to one tyre per inhabitant per year (approximately 300 million tyres a year), the most common treatment is burning in thermoelectric plants. However due to difficulties involved in this process it is applied to no more than 5% of used tyres.

In both the 100 million dollar Modesto plant in California, which burns 4.5 million tyres a year generating 15 megawatts and providing energy to 14,000 houses, and the Sterling plant in Connecticut, which burns 10 million tyres a year generating 30 megawatts, operational costs are double those for coal burning plants.


12. Solid waste treatment

The disposal of used tyres in sanitary landfills is inappropriate as there are operational problems involved in burying them and they provoke empty spaces that cause points of instability in the mass of waste. Consequently alternatives have been sought to address this problem but up to now no definitive solution has been found. This problem came to the fore in Brazil in the mid 1990s when the annual tyre production had reached 35 million. At the end of that decade CONAMA introduced a requirement obliging tyre companies to take responsibility for the disposal of waste resulting from their production (used tyres) under the “polluter pays” principle. Burning in cement industry clinker furnaces was the immediate solution that producers turned to. However not all furnaces were adapted to burn tyres and there were some restrictive factors associated with the procedure because of a change in the quality of the cement produced and the emission of gases not in compliance with limits established by environmental bodies. In recent years the ongoing search for new technological processes has seen developments such as one in Brazil that uses organic solvents to separate rubber from the wire and nylon in tyres facilitating its recovery and recycling. However, many of these new developments are not economically viable. In spite of these efforts the problem continues and, as in other situations, it is the urban cleaning system that has to bear the significant expenditure involved in dealing with used tyres habitually discarded in unpopulated peripheral areas as it has an obligation to collect them for sanitary and environmental reasons.

In this context, an initiative that can serve as an example for other urban cleaning bodies in Latin American and Caribbean cities is the COMLURB “ecotyres” experience in Rio de Janeiro. Concerned with the growing number of used tyres discarded in the city, a study was carried out on the route taken by tyres from their moment of purchase in different neighbourhoods of the city to the moment when they are discarded, in general in peripheral zones. The study found this route to be: producers, dealers, recovery agents and tyre workshops. Tyres without any further possibility of use are discarded on wasteland, in drainage channels or are burned. This data led to the following measures: the registering of all locations, both formal and informal, where tyres are repaired; the implementation of the “ecotyres” system 5 in cooperation with the private tyre sector; and the development of an information program on the use of the “ecotyres” system covering dealers, tyre mechanics, bus companies and haulage companies.


A network of locations with the minimum infrastructure necessary for the reception and storage of unusable tyres that, when a predetermined number have accumulated, are then taken away by the private sector to be recycled.


The public authority should introduce specific regulations that consolidate the application of the “polluter pays” principle by establishing the responsibilities of producers and distributors for waste generated when their products are discarded.

12.3.3 Batteries and fluorescent tubes
The number of batteries present in domestic waste continues to increase as the use of electrical and electronic gadgets spreads in modern society and plays an increasing role in people’s daily lives. The incidence of this type of waste in the overall composition of domestic solid waste is clearly dependent on the socioeconomic condition of the population as here the relation between consumption and disposal is direct. In Latin American and Caribbean countries the problem has therefore yet to reach the concerning proportions that it has in the United States, Japan and European countries. However immediate action is necessary to establish control mechanisms for this type of waste as it should receive the same level of treatment as hazardous industrial waste. Fluorescent tubes fall into a similar category and due to their high level of toxicity, together with the difficulties involved in controlling environmental contamination from them, they should be dealt with in the same way as toxic waste.

In the cases of both batteries and fluorescent tubes specific legislation is required to consolidate the “polluter pays” principle. Under such legislation responsibility for the treatment and final disposal of these types of waste would be assigned to producers, with the participation of dealers and distributors in the reception of discarded material and of the general public in separation, appropriate storage and delivery.


Treatment of waste from special sources

12.4.1 Industrial solid waste
It is usual to treat industrial waste with a view to its reuse, or at least to leaving it inert. Due to its diversity however there is no pre-established universally applicable process so research and development for economically viable processes is always needed. This waste should not be the responsibility of the urban cleaning authorities but of the waste generators themselves, the industrial companies that produce it. Such an


thus generating savings in the industrial process. ! thermal destruction – incineration and pyrolysis. Other treatment processes The most common treatment processes are: ! ! neutralization – for waste with acid or alkaline characteristics. ! encapsulating – the lining of waste with a coat of impermeable synthetic resin with a very low leaching level.2 Radioactive waste There are still no economically viable treatment processes for radioactive waste. but this risk reduces as technological developments provide more secure and economical ways of using the material. ! incorporation – the adding of waste to a mass of concrete or clay in a proportion that does not damage the environment.4. 12. or waste that they want to purchase. Atomic stabilization processes for radioactive material have been developed but still cannot be used on an industrial level. Solid waste treatment approach requires comprehensive legislation and effective supervision mechanisms to avoid irregular disposal of the waste. To encourage waste recycling and recovery. without any participation by the urban cleaning sector. However transformation processes require significant investment and offer unpredictable returns as the scope for corresponding charges on the price of the product is limited. drying by mixing – the mixing of waste that has a high humidity content with dry waste or inert material such as sawdust. As has already been explained this type of waste is the responsibility of a specialized national body that operates within international regulations and safety procedures.12. 185 . or the adding of it to combustible material where gases that are harmful to the environment will not be generated during burning. Recycling and recovery In general there is a trend towards transforming waste into base material for other processes. some states issue free periodical publications in which industrial companies anounce waste that they have for sale or donation.

4 Medical waste There are many technical processes for the treatment of medical waste. ! process sufficient volumes in relation to the capital and operational costs of the system in order to be economically viable in terms of the local economy. microwave. 12. autoclave. In such cases it is important that the work of the urban cleaning team is integrated with that of the professionals responsible for sanitary vigilance so that appropriate sanitary and environmental procedures can be applied to the storage. collection. Until a short time ago the debate on medical waste treatments was between incineration and autoclave treatment as many countries do not allow its disposal in septic tanks at sanitary landfills. electro-thermal deactivation and chemical treatment. pyrolysis. the elimination of bacillus stearothermophilus in the case of sterilization and of bacillus subtyllis in the case of disinfection. Incineration.4.3 Port and airport waste This type of waste is not usually treated in a special way except in the case of waste generated on boats or planes coming from regions where a particular disease is endemic. New technical processes have led to the development of several treatments that are already available on the market. is usually recommended for waste with a high potential risk.12. that is. Recent progress in environmental research led to the discovery of atmospheric contamination risks in the incineration process and resulted in a requirement for very expensive treatments of generated gases. ! avoid the de-characterization of waste thus ensuring that it is recognizable as medical waste. which has imposed economic restrictions on its use. ! comply with regulations established by the government’s environmental control body for effluents and gas emissions. treatment and final disposal of this waste. or another equivalent treatment.4. Irrespective of its technical basis any waste treatment that is adopted should: ! reduce the biological content of waste in accordance with stipulated requirements. The available commercial processes that meet these fundamental requirements are: incineration. 186 . ionizing radiation. In general most waste generated on these sites has similar characteristics to domestic waste and can be collected and sent to the same final disposal units.

ashes and scoria. In the case of waste composed exclusively of carbon. In the first chamber solid and liquid waste is burned with a high level of oxygen at a temperature of 800ºC to 1. before being discharged into the atmosphere through a chimney. In the second chamber gases produced by the initial combustion are burned at a temperature of 1. hydrogen and oxygen atoms all that is required is an efficient system to filter particles expelled together with the combustion gases. gases not only need to remain for more time inside the chamber (approximately two seconds) but also require treatment by sophisticated systems before they can be discharged into the atmosphere.12. through which carbon based materials are decomposed. Solid waste treatment INCINERATION Incineration is a burning process in the presence of a high level of oxygen. Basically an incinerator consists of two combustion chambers. they become mixed with the ashes from where it is possible to separate and recover them for commercialization. In the case of toxic waste that contains chlorine. Correctly carried out waste incineration is also an effective means of reducing the volume of waste and leaving it absolutely inert in a short time.200ºC to 1.400°C. There are different types of incineration furnace. cyclones or electrostatic precipitators. Normally the amount of oxygen used in incineration is 10% to 25% greater than is necessary in the common burning of waste. Gases resulting from the secondary combustion are rapidly cooled to avoid the recomposition of their extensive toxic organic chains and are then treated in washers. phosphorus or sulphur. As the waste burning temperature is not high enough to melt and volatilize metals. transforming it into gases.000ºC. releasing heat and generating ashes as residue. the most common being fixed grate. 187 . However installation and operational costs are generally high principally because of the need for filters and sophisticated technological devices to reduce or eliminate the contamination of the air with gases produced during the burning of waste. moving grate and rotary kiln.

from where they are removed mechanically or by water. Air is introduced from above the grate to minimize the trailing of ashes. To ensure the level of oxygen necessary for the complete combustion of waste and gases. Chimney Overhead crane Feeding Collection truck Air blower Fixed grate Reception pit Contamination control equipment Combustion chamber Ash outlet Ash outlet Air extractors Figure 102 . The combustion grate is divided into three sections. one that blows air amongst the waste (air below fire) and the other that introduces air above the waste (air above fire).Fixed grate incinerators In this process waste is deposited on a fixed grate where it is burned. Hot ashes and scoria from the burning are continuously deposited in a pit located under the furnace from where they are removed mechanically or by water. 188 . Ashes and scoria resulting from the burning process fall through the holes of the grate into an ash pit. the air flow is augmented by an extractor located at the base of the chimney. the first one is for drying and the waste is completely burned in the second and third sections.Fixed grate incinerator Moving grate incinerators The grate consists of stepped cast iron sheets connected to a hydraulic system for moving it in a swaying motion that conducts the waste from the access door through to the ash and scoria pit. Air for combustion in the furnace is provided by two blowers.

Chimney Heat interchanger Washer water oxidation Feeder system Liquid waste burner Rotary kiln Electrostatic filters Gas washer Collection truck Reception pit Post-burning chamber with chimney Air extractor Figure 104 . Gases resulting from this burning flow into heat interchangers and washing equipment. the opposite end to the burners.12. They are cylindrical incinerators with a diameter of approximately four metres and a length of up to four times the diameter. mounted with a slight incline in relation to the horizontal plane. Gases generated pass to a secondary burning chamber that accommodates burners for liquids and gases. so that the waste moves slowly downwards due to the rotation of the cylinder.Rotary kiln 189 . Solid waste treatment Chimney Overhead crane to transport waste Overhead crane to transport ashes Heater Condenser Gas cooler Filter sleeve Gas re-heater Reagent catalytic reactor Steam control valve Use of heat generated by waste Steam turbine Condensation tank Swaying grate Ventilation blower Overhead crane for bulky waste Bulky waste pit Waste pit Furnace Conveyor belt for ashes Fly ash treatment Ash pit Gas washer Ventilation blower Bulky non-combustible waste Magnetic separator Aluminium separator Ferrous material press Rotary sieve Bulky combustible waste Ground combustible material Aluminium press Aluminium storage Slow speed blade grinder Hammer grinder Ferrous material storage Figure 103 . The entrance is at the higher end.Moving grate incinerator Rotary kiln Rotary kilns are useful for the thermal destruction of infectious waste but are more used for burning hazardous industrial waste.

Pyrolytic furnace The feeder system can be automatic (continuous) or semi-automatic (by lots) and the auxiliary burners can burn diesel or gas.000ºC and 1. substantial reduction in the volume of waste to be disposed of (almost 95%).200ºC in the secondary chamber. There are single chamber models where the operating temperature is approximately 1. pyrolysis is a thermal destruction process with the difference that it absorbs heat and takes place in the absence of oxygen. where the calorific value of the waste maintains a certain temperature during the process. Its main disadvantages are: ! high operational and maintenance costs. Secondary air Cyclone Ash extractor Boiler Air extractor Figure 105 . 190 . Pyrolytic furnaces are very much used in the treatment of medical waste. Primary air Temperature Gradient Drying Decomposition Gasification . In this process.000ºC and dual chamber models with temperatures of between 600ºC and 800ºC in the primary chamber and between 1.PYROLYSIS Like incineration. carbon based materials de-compose into combustible gases or liquids and carbon. Its main advantages are: ! ! effective treatment is guaranteed given optimum operational conditions.

It should be noted that neither incineration nor pyrolysis completely solve the medical waste final disposal problem as both the ashes that are produced and the sludge resulting from the treatment of gases require an appropriate final disposal.12. this process was adapted and developed for waste sterilization. Basically it consists of a feeder system that conveys the waste into a hermetic chamber where a vacuum is created and steam is then injected (from 105ºC to 150ºC) under certain pressure conditions. 191 . unless natural gas is used. high cost of effluent treatment. ! high risk of air contamination from dioxins generated by the inappropriate burning of chloro materials present in PVC bags and disinfectants. ! ! risk of air contamination due to the emission of particulate matter. Solid waste treatment ! maintenance difficulties requiring constant cleaning work in the auxiliary fuel feeder system.Medical waste incineration plant with a capacity of 250kg/hour AUTOCLAVE Originally used for the sterilization of surgical equipment. Figure 106 .

as a continuous process. after which water is discharged from one side and the waste from the other. does not emit gases and effluent is sterile. Figure 107 . Disadvantages: ! there is no guarantee that the steam will reach all parts of the mass of waste unless it has been appropriately ground before the sterilization phase.Autoclave Advantages: ! ! ! relatively low operational costs. dampened with steam at 150ºC and is fed. relatively easy and cheap maintenance. continuous treatment is not possible.The waste remains in the chamber for a certain period until it is sterile. into a microwave furnace where there is a device to stir and transport the mass so that all of the material uniformly receives the microwave radiation. 192 . MICROWAVE In this process waste is ground. waste is processed in lots. ! ! does not reduce the volume of waste unless it is previously ground.

193 . Figure 108 . This process has the following disadvantages in comparison with previously mentioned processes: ! treatment effectiveness is questionable as a possibility exists that part of the mass of waste is not exposed to the electromagnetic rays. waste in its natural form is exposed to the action of gamma rays.Microwave IONIZING RADIATION In this process.12. Solid waste treatment Advantages: ! ! absence of emissions or any type of effluent. the volume of waste to be buried is not reduced unless it is ground. which render micro organisms inactive. generated by a source of enriched cobalt 60. Disadvantages: ! ! relatively high operational costs. ! the used cobalt 60 source (radioactive) requires appropriate disposal. Its advantages are the absence of any type of effluent emission and the fact that it is a continuous process. continuous process.

Deodorizer HEPA Filter Pre-filter Automatic doors Dust collector Deodorizer HEPA Filter Pre-filter Hydraulic press Weighbridge Reception pit Primary grinder primary cyclones Liquids Secondary grinder secondary cyclones Waste reception Processing unit Grinding and homogenization To the landfill Container Press Control panel Transport Class C waste Treatment Figure 109 . reaching a final temperature of 95ºC to 98ºC.Ionizing radiation ELECTRO-THERMAL DEACTIVATION This process consists of double grinding prior to treatment. In this process there is no effluent or gas emission. The mass of waste remains in the solution for some minutes and the treatment is by direct contact. with the addition of equipment maintenance difficulties. CHEMICAL TREATMENT In this process waste is ground and then submerged in a disinfectant solution that can be sodium hypochlorite. followed by the exposure of the ground mass to a high potency electrical field. chlorine dioxide or formaldehyde gas. and there is no volume reduction unless a post-treatment grinding system is installed. 194 . generated by low frequency electromagnetic waves. The advantages and disadvantages of this process are the same as those for the microwave process.

waste passes through a drying system generating an environmentally harmful effluent that has to be neutralized.Chemical disinfection Im m er sio n Sodium hypochlorite solution 195 . The disadvantages are the need for effluent neutralization and the absence of volume reduction unless the waste is ground.12. which would have to be a separate process. The advantages of this process are its low operational and maintenance costs and the effectiveness of the waste treatment. Solid waste treatment Before being deposited in the outlet container. Bags of medical waste Particle filtering Gas washing Pulverizer Nº 2 (disinfectant) Air extractor HEPA filter Rotary discharge screw conveyor Vapour Feeder Vertical screw conveyor Discharge tube Grinder Nº 1 co nv ey or Mixer ½ to 2 inch grater Grinder Nº 2 sc re w Pulverizer Nº 1 (disinfectant) In cli ne d ½ to 2 inch grater (dry) Horizontal screw conveyor Figure 110 .

13 Solid waste final disposal 196 .

composting and incineration plants) are in reality waste treatment processes that need a landfill for the final disposal of the remaining waste. raising families and even forming communities. contaminating soil. The initiation of a sanitary landfill presents difficulties not only because it involves environmental studies. in controlled landfills. as many municipalities in Latin America and the Caribbean have a limited budget. The only appropriate form of solid waste final disposal is in sanitary landfills or. few people will be directly disturbed by this and so it will not generate complaints. air. but also due to the natural resistance that arises in people when they know that they will be living close to a place where waste will accumulate. it is common to find refuse dumps where collected waste is deposited directly on the ground without any supervision or environmental care. and with a broad awareness raising process in society that communicates the difference between sanitary landfills and dumps. specific sanitary engineering and environmental planning and a relatively high initial investment before it is established. provided certain conditions that will be described later are fulfilled. All the other processes that are regarded as disposal (recycling. 197 . These people make their living from the separation of recyclable material and often live in huts and shacks on the site of the dump.13. particularly the smaller ones. In addition to the sanitary and environmental problems that refuse dumps present. while if the final disposal of waste is carried out in an inappropriate way. the water table and neighbouring land.1 Introduction Urban cleaning systems have to face the challenge not only of collecting solid waste from streets and buildings in ever-growing cities but also of ensuring an appropriate final destination for such waste. there are serious social problems connected with the segregators that they attract. As a result in many municipalities. it is essential that the political will exists to allocate the necessary budgetary resources for the implementation and correct operation of the approved project. At the same time. This rejection stems from a perception that society has of solid waste disposal sites as being inadequately set up and badly managed. The latter issue deserves attention because if collection is inefficient public pressure is put on the municipality to improve service quality due to it being an exposed and visible activity. Solid waste final disposal 13. the urban cleaning system will tend to leave final disposal in the background giving priority to waste collection and street cleaning. Consequently. It is therefore necessary to defeat this stigma through thorough studies and project planning.

the nature of which depends on the components of the waste. proximity to population centres. dispersion of odours and waste particles.2 Impacts of inappropriate solid waste disposal Problematic situations often encountered around the site of incorrect municipal solid waste disposal and their respective consequences are: ! proximity to bodies of water ! water contamination. ! inappropriate disposal of medical waste mixed with domestic waste ! increased risk to people and of environmental contamination. At the final disposal site the biological decomposition of the remains of food and other organic material contained in domestic waste generates an effluent with a high BOD (biochemical oxygen demand) that moves and incorporates other substances contained in the mass of waste. ! lack of physical barriers (areas without fences) and a vegetation belt ! access for people and animals. unsightliness and landscape contamination. or only partial covering. lack of covering. Landfills are a kind of melting pot for chemical and biological activity and reactions that produce effluents. men. energy wastage. The composition of this biogas includes gases with an unpleasant smell such as hydrogen sulfide and mercaptans. of waste ! vector proliferation. ! proximity to environmentally protected areas (ecological reserves and equivalents) ! degradation of the area and environmental contamination risks. principally composed of methane. old people and children ! citizenship degradation. Biogas is not only toxic but is one of the contributory factors to the greenhouse effect.13. ! ! segregation activities carried out by women. health risks and accidents. As a result this leachate is highly contaminating due to its high BOD and chemical reactions between its components (heavy metals. which is explosive in concentrations of 5% to 15% in the air. odours. hence the previous segregation of special waste is indispensable. ! pig raising and presence of other animals ! zoonosis and other public health risks. atmospheric contamination. educational centres and kindergartens ! inhabitants subject to various nuisances and sanitary risks. Measures to avoid the negative effects that result when waste is inappropriately disposed of on the ground should include the creation of an environment less favourable for 198 . In addition domestic solid waste anaerobic decomposition processes generate biogas. exposure to unhealthy conditions. ! ! practice of burning waste ! safety risks for people. for example).

A solid waste final disposal project should therefore incorporate technical solutions that comply with the basic guidelines for avoiding the above mentioned environmental impacts. which has been incorporated in many technical norms and adopted by environmental bodies and entities. a berm previously formed with compacted earth or other cells. each one supported by the previous one. It states that: “The sanitary landfill is a technique for the final disposal of solid waste in the ground that causes no nuisance or danger to public health or safety. Nevertheless it can also serve as protection against the contamination of underground water and the environment provided that it is sufficiently deep and impermeable. the landfill can have two or more levels. Where these favourable conditions do not exist naturally.” A sanitary landfill unit of construction is called a cell. which can be used provided that technical and environmental norms established by regulatory legal instruments are respected. covering it daily with layers of earth and compacting it to reduce its volume. engineering resources should be used to comply with the required technical specifications and applicable regulations. in which each day’s solid waste (or the waste from a shorter period if the daily amount of waste is too great) is deposited in compacted sloping layers and is covered with a layer of earth that is also compacted. In Latin American and Caribbean countries an acceptable alternative for smaller municipalities with limited economic resources is the controlled landfill. of the Pan American Health Organization. It is therefore necessary to isolate or minimize the contact between waste components that could react with each other.13. The recommended method for domestic waste final disposal is the sanitary landfill. depending on project requirements. Finally it is necessary that effluents and gases are dealt with in an appropriate way. Cells are constructed next to each other. Solid waste final disposal undesirable chemical and biological reactions. The cell is built against a retaining wall that can be a pre-existent natural elevation. In a solid waste final disposal unit the soil is the principal receptor and conductor of contaminants. 13. This technique uses engineering principles to confine the waste to as small areas as possible. in Spanish). In our opinion the most appropriate definition is the one established by the Sanitary Engineering and Environmental Sciences Pan-American Centre (CEPIS. forming a “landfill level”.3 Sanitary landfill The objectives and principles of sanitary landfill construction and operation can be defined in different ways. 199 . In addition. neither does it harm the environment during its operations or after its closure. it anticipates the problems that could be caused by the liquids and gases produced by the decomposition of organic matter.

! dimensions are adjusted according to the stability and availability of the land. some basic criteria should be taken into account: ! the width of a cell’s work face should not be greater than is necessary for the safe manoeuvring of machines and vehicles. Operational units ! ! domestic waste cells.When determining the dimensions of a cell. medical waste cells (where the municipality does not have a more effective final disposal process for this type of waste). Figure 112 – Waterproofing of the operational area 200 . Figure 111 – Construction of the operational area . ! the advance should be calculated according to the daily volume of waste. ! the height should be between 3 and 6 metres depending on the amount of waste to be dealt with (sanitary landfill capacity). A sanitary landfill consists of operational and support units. the width of the work face and its height.Embankment ! waterproofing of the bottom (obligatory) and of the top (optional).

Figure 113 – Leachate collection and treatment ! biogas collection and burning (or use) system.13. Figure 115 – Rainwater drainage system 201 . Solid waste final disposal ! collection and treatment system for percolated liquid (leachate). Figure 114 – Biogas collection and burning ! rainwater drainage and channelling system.

! ! environmental. Figure 116 – Storage area for materials Support units ! fence and vegetation barrier. storage area for materials. Figure 118 – Preparation of an internal service road 202 . Figure 117 – Vegetation barrier ! access and service roads. topographical and geotechnical monitoring systems.

Figure 119 – Weighbridge for weighing loads ! ! entrance checkpoint and administrative offices. Solid waste final disposal ! weighbridge for trucks and waste checkpoint.13. juridical aspects. Many other factors have to be taken into account such as the technical requirements of the norms and guidelines issued by relevant public bodies. The intense urbanization and land use in cities limits the availability of sites that are both close to where waste is generated and large enough for the installation of a sanitary landfill that will meet the needs of the municipality. 203 .1 Sanitary landfill site selection The selection of the sanitary landfill site is a complex task. 13. obtaining the necessary licenses. formulating the project master plan and installation. Figure 120 – Support units The sanitary landfill pre-operational process consists of the selection of the site. mechanical and tyre workshops.3.

Requirements for the appropriate establishment of a sanitary landfill are therefore very rigorous and it is necessary to carefully define an order of priorities. access roads and political and social aspects involved in the approval of the project by politicians. a critical analysis of each potential site in relation to the prioritized criteria. slopes of 1:3 (vertical : horizontal) and an 80% operational occupation of the land. However the operational usage as a percentage of the total area will depend on the particular conditions of each site (topography. Economic and financial factors must be a major consideration as municipal resources always have to be used in a balanced way. by the factor 560. some experts multiply the quantity of waste collected daily. determination of all selection criteria. The selection strategy for a new sanitary landfill site consists of the following steps: ! ! ! ! preliminary identification of land available in the municipality. the media and the community. hydrology and geometric shape. the governing plan of the corresponding municipality. definition of the selection criteria order of priority. local and regional development centres. the distance over which waste will have to be transported. Applying this strategy minimizes the corrective measures that have to be taken to adapt the land to technical requirements and thus reduces the need for initial investment. This factor is based on the following landfill project parameters: Useful life = 20 years. in square metres. PRELIMINARY IDENTIFICATION OF AVAILABLE SITES The preliminary identification of available sites in the municipality should be carried out as follows: ! preliminary calculation of the total area needed for the sanitary landfill. landfill height = 20 m. in tons. 204 .governmental requirements. To make an approximate calculation of the minimum total area necessary for the installation of a sanitary landfill. so that the site that most complies with the required conditions in terms of its natural land characteristics is selected. for example).

economic-financial. All the conditions and restrictions commonly stipulated by technical norms and relevant regulations are listed in table 17. Table 17 Technical and legal criteria Criteria Observations The site should be outside the limits of any environmental Land use conservation areas and in a zone where designated land use is compatible with the operation of a sanitary landfill. where there are no zoning or land use restrictions and sites have dimensions compatible with the preliminary calculation. It should be noted however that specific aspects of legislation in any particular country may vary from the concepts and dimensions described here. Technical and legal criteria The selection of a sanitary landfill site for domestic solid waste final disposal should fulfil the technical criteria imposed by technical norms and regulations stipulated by the different levels of authority in each country. excluding those where the documentation is not in order. lagoons and oceans and should be not less than 50 metres from any other body of water. Solid waste final disposal ! perimeter delimitation of rural and industrial zones and conservation areas existing in the municipality. Distance to bodies of water The site should be not less than 200 metres from major bodies of water such as rivers. study of documents relating to the sites. ! survey of the available sites within the delimited perimeters. ! ! determination of ownership of surveyed sites. It is very important that the legal situation in relation to the ownership of a site is in order to avoid potential problems for the municipality and delays in the licensing process.13. SELECTION CRITERIA The criteria are divided into three groups: technical and legal. which in such cases should be appropriately modified. lakes. 205 . giving priority to land owned by the municipality. and socio-political.

deposits of material appropriate for covering.5 metres. the distance between the water table and the waterproofing layer should not be less than 3 metres. Minimum useful life It is recommended that the site is compatible with a useful life for the new sanitary landfill of at least 8 years.) Criteria Distance to urban residential centres Observations The site should be not less than 300 metres from urban residential centres with 200 or more inhabitants. The minimum distances recommended are the following: ! Distance to airports in a sanitary landfill with plastic membrane waterproofed bottom. Water table depth ! in a smaller landfill the bottom of which is waterproofed by a layer of compacted clay with a permeability coefficient of less than 10-6cm/s. in order to keep the cost of waste covering low. The site should not be located in the proximity of airports or aerodromes and should comply with current legislation in this respect.Table 17 (cont. 206 . Availability of material for covering It is preferable that the site has. The length of a sanitary landfill’s useful life is very important as it is increasingly difficult to find new sites close to the collection area that are suitable for receiving the volume of urban waste generated in the municipality. Topography favourable to drainage The rainwater drainage basin should be small in order to avoid significant amounts of rainwater entering the landfill. This is largely due to the natural rejection of residents to having this type of waste final disposal unit close to where they live. The soil of the selected site should be clayey. It is recommendable that the soil of the selected site has Natural soil impermeability good natural impermeability in order to reduce the possibility of aquifer contamination. the distance between the water table and the membrane should not be less than 1. or is close to. Roads leading to the site should not have pronounced Easy access for heavy vehicles inclines or curves and should be well surfaced in order to minimize wear and tear on collection vehicles and enable them to have easy access even at times of intense rain.

Construction and infrastructure investment costs Drainage system maintenance costs Political and social criteria Table 19 Political and social criteria Criteria Observations The passage of vehicles transporting waste along residential Access to the site through low demographic density areas streets constitutes an inconvenience for the inhabitants of those streets and it is therefore recommended that truck routes to the sanitary landfill pass through areas of low demographic density and preferably on roads designed to handle heavy vehicles. and therefore Land purchase costs has to be purchased. rain water drainage. and communications facilities. collection and treatment of local effluents.13. If the land is not owned by the municipality. Solid waste final disposal Economic and financial criteria Table 18 Economic and financial criteria Criteria Observations The distance that collection vehicles have to cover on existing Proximity to collection area roads and streets between the collection area and the sanitary landfill should be as short as possible in order to minimize wear and tear on trucks and waste transport costs. It is recommended that a site is not chosen if there have been previous problems between the municipality and the Local community acceptance local community. The selected site should have a gentle incline to avoid soil erosion and limit expenditure on cleaning and maintaining drainage system components. it is preferable that it is located in a rural area where purchase prices are lower than in other areas where the landfill could be sited (industrial areas for example). electricity supply. 207 . It is important that the selected site has access to service infrastructures in order to limit expenditure on water provision. non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or the media in the area as any past disharmony with the public authorities is likely to cause negative reactions to the proposed landfill.

Both the priorities and the compatibility with the defined criteria are given a relative weight. Table 20 Criteria hierarchy Criteria Compatibility with environmental legislation Compatibility with political and social conditions Compatibility with the main economic conditions Compatibility with the main technical conditions Compatibility with other economic conditions Compatibility with other technical conditions Priority 1 2 3 4 5 6 In order to determine which is the best site for the sanitary landfill. For each criterion the analysis should allocate one of the following categories and provide reasons for doing so: “total compatibility”. or total with work” or “no compatibility”. as shown in table 21.SELECTION CRITERIA ORDER OF PRIORITY Table 20 shows a suggestion for the selection criteria order of priority in choosing a sanitary landfill site. “partial compatibility. each candidate site should be the subject of an exhaustive analysis in regard to each of the established criteria. Table 21 Weight given to criteria and compatibility Priority of criteria 1 2 3 4 5 6 Weight 10 6 4 3 2 1 Compatibility Total Partial or total with work No compatibility Weight 100 % 50 % 0% 208 .

N = No compatibility. When the natural attributes of the selected site are not totally compatible with a certain criterion. taking into account the relative priority of each one. The site with more points will be considered the best. P = Partial compatibility.13. Solid waste final disposal SELECTION OF THE BEST SITE Analysis of candidate sites in relation to the established criteria The site chosen for the sanitary landfill should be the one that is compatible with the highest number of criteria. Table 22 Site characteristics Criteria Distance from bodies of water Distance from residential centres Distance from airports Water table depth Access through low demographic density areas Acceptance by local community Land purchase costs Existence of infrastructure Minimum useful life Land use Natural impermeability of soil Favourable topography for drainage Easy access for heavy vehicles Coverage material availability Drainage system maintenance Proximity to collection centre Priority 1 1 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 6 Compatibility Site 1 T T T P P N P T P T P P T N P T Site 2 T T T P P P P T T T P P P P P P Site 3 T P T T P T T P T T P T P T T P Note: T = Total compatibility. 209 . As an example we present the case of a municipality that has to determine which is the best site amongst three pre-selected candidate sites. its deficiencies should be remedied by the application of modern engineering solutions. the characteristics of which are shown in table 22.

0 10.0 4.0 3.0 1.0 Site 2 100% Site 2 10.5 56.0 1.0 0.0 3.0 1. is the one that overall has the most advantages.0 Site 3 10.0 5.0 6.5 1.0 3.0 Distance from bodies of water Distance from residential centres Distance from airports Water table depth Access through low demographic density areas Acceptance by local community Land purchase costs Existence of infrastructure Minimum useful life Land use Natural impermeability of soil Favourable topography for drainage Easy access for heavy vehicles Coverage material availability Drainage system maintenance Proximity to collection centre Points total 10 100% 10 100% 100% 50% 10. in accordance with table 21.0 5.0 1.0 10.0 1.0 10 10 6 100% 50% 50% 100% 50% 50% 100% 100% 50% 10.0 3.0 2.0 1 100% 50% 50% 1.5 3.0 3.0 4 4 3 3 3 50% 100% 50% 100% 50% 50% 100% 100% 100% 50% 100% 50% 100% 100% 50% 2.5 As can be seen. in spite of being located relatively close to a residential centre.5 3.0 2.5 67. 210 .5 1.0 6 0% 50% 100% 0.0 2 50% 50% 100% 1.5 3 50% 50% 100% 1.0 3.5 2.5 3.0 10.0 3.0 3 100% 50% 50% 3.0 5.5 60.After the weighting process is applied.0 1.5 0.0 1.5 4.0 4.0 10.5 3 0% 50% 100% 0. site 3.0 3. the candidate sites have the following points: Table 23 Points for each site Priority weight Compatibility weight Site 1 100% Criteria Points for each site Site 3 Site 1 10.

undertaken by specialized companies. The basic actions to take and process stages are presented here: STAGE I Approval of the land for landfill use The objective of this stage of the environmental license application process is to evaluate the selected site to determine whether it is appropriate for use as a landfill. etc. for example) to the relevant environmental body. EIS is a technical study. so that the methodology. Solid waste final disposal After choosing the sanitary landfill site the municipality should not immediately proceed with the purchase or compulsory purchase of the land as the project first needs approval from the relevant environmental body. This document should be accompanied by general information about the site and the conceptual basis of the sanitary landfill project. The preliminary plan for the sanitary landfill should be ready before this study is carried out. a second report has to be prepared that presents a summary of the principal finding of the EIS in a language that is accessible for the general public. through a licensing process that is based on deeper environmental studies. The process begins with the presentation of a formal request by the applicant (the municipality or private company. Thus society in general can form an opinion on the subject and participate democratically in the licensing process. geology. the environmental control body prepares technical instructions (or terms of reference) in which the relevant aspects to be evaluated in an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) are defined.3. technical guidelines and conclusions are.2 Environmental licenses The procedures for obtaining the necessary licenses for a sanitary landfill site depend on formal processes and relevant legislation in each country. 211 . with the objective of determining the positive and negative aspects of the project in regard to the physical (climate. Once the request is received. hydrology. 13. biotic (flora and fauna) and anthropic (related to human activities) environment. as far as is possible. It also establishes measures that can be taken to avoid or diminish identified negative impacts. with complex methodologies and technical terminology. It is important to note that environmental studies should be carried out with the cooperation of technical teams from both the municipality and the environmental control body. compatible with the policies of these entities. pedology. As these studies are highly specialized. in comparison with other alternative sites.).13.

etc. environmental monitoring. The master plan should also include a detailed operational plan covering the operation of the sanitary landfill. Once the environmental impact study is approved. the studies should be immediately sent to the environmental control body. The detailed engineering plan (master plan) should therefore take into account those requirements and incorporate the concepts contained in the environmental impact control and minimization plans recommended in the environmental assessment. electricity supply. access and service roads. The compilation of field data must be completed in this stage. weighbridge operation (if there is one) and machine. together with the pertinent palliative measures. the collection and treatment of leachate. these plans should be submitted to the environmental control body that will ascertain whether the requirements and conditions established when granting 212 .Once completed. STAGE II Authorization to commence sanitary landfill installation works In the initial stage of the licensing process. and on the basis of the environmental impact study. support unit buildings and landscaping. are required. and after the necessary environmental impact compensatory measures are established. including detailed topographical surveys and new geotechnical probes and tests. telephones. the environmental control body will grant the authorization document that licenses the selected site for the installation of a sanitary landfill. After this opinion is presented the community can be called to participate in public hearings on the approval process. In the specific case of a new sanitary landfill it is always advisable to hold such public consultations. water and sanitation. rainwater drainage. geotechnical and topographical monitoring. Finally detailed plans for foundations. as first several complementary procedures have to be carried out by the applicant. as should plans for layouts. vehicle and equipment maintenance. EIS presentation at a public hearing should be accompanied by all available audio-visual aids as the participating public will mostly be lay people who will better be able to understand proposed solutions if they can see visual images of them. which will analyze them and issue a technical opinion. the environmental control body determines the conditions and restrictions that the applicant has to comply with in order to obtain an environmental license to commence sanitary landfill installation works. where this is the policy of the environmental control body. Once completed. the collection and burning of biogas. Detailed plans that deal with environmental issues should also be completed. superstructures. It should be noted however that this license does not authorize the immediate commencement of works.

in addition to covering the work itself. ! 213 . fully utilizing the natural characteristics of the land. with contour lines representing each metre. The master plan should include the following documents: ! planialtimetric plan for the landfill in an appropriate scale. constructions and other significant features. drainage. and showing the location of accesses. the master plan begins to be put into practice. STAGE III Authorization for commencement of sanitary landfill operation Once the environmental license authorizing the commencement of works is obtained. Therefore.13. In this phase the applicant has to take into account that works should be carried out in a way that rigorously respects not only the engineering plan but also control plans and programs resulting from the environmental impact study that conditioned the approval of the project by the environmental control body. which has to rigorously comply with technical norms and environmental legislation. is carried out. that is.3 Master plan The sanitary landfill master plan should maximize the useful life of the available area. Solid waste final disposal the stage I license have been met. should be part of the daily routine of engineers. earth works. the regulation of the internal combustion engines and the dispersion of suspended particles in the work area. overseers and all professionals involved. Fulfilling the relevant environmental requirements and installing systems and devices in accordance with the project plans are essential for obtaining the environmental license that will authorize the operation of the sanitary landfill. plateaus. amongst other aspects. the environmental body will issue the license that authorizes commencement of sanitary landfill installation works. paying attention to the circulation of vehicles and machines during the work. minimizing installation costs and ensuring appropriate environmental monitoring and safeguards. etc. In general it takes from 90 to 120 days to formulate a sanitary landfill master plan. excavation. 13. water quality analysis results for surrounding bodies of water and the water table. If they have. access road construction. planning should include an efficient and responsible environmental management strategy. ! geotechnical research and test results.3. Consequently.

landfill operational manual covering the routine activities of solid waste disposal. including water table monitoring wells. the contamination control measures that will be taken. bottom drainage network. sewerage. earth works. drainage of the definitive berms. superficial and deep water drainage networks. it is essential that it is presented to the community using simple and direct language and the best audiovisual aids. ! superficial drainage plans for the landfill. showing cross-sections and details. ! plans for the collection and treatment of leachate. construction structures. including layout. informing citizens about the nature of a sanitary landfill. including post-closure environmental monitoring plan. communications. ! layout plan for terraces. environmental monitoring plan. architectural design. ! ! ! ! a record of the calculations made for landfill and construction stability studies. the biogas collection and burning network and quantification of machine. pumping network and treatment plant. electricity and rainwater drainage systems. including the calculations for foundations and structures. ! Once the master plan has been approved. services and materials involved in the work. vehicle and labour requirements for landfill operation and maintenance. landscaping and structures related to water and electricity provision. including bottom and top waterproofing layers (where applicable). 214 . ! technical specifications of all equipment. including leachate treatment plant operations and rainwater drainage network maintenance. Such an approach will help to avoid problems during the installation and operation of the sanitary landfill. ! delimitation plans of sanitary landfill plots. electricity and water installations. including the slope of the platforms both for the landfill’s intermediate stages and for the final stage. water drain pipes and discharge structures. security and others. biogas collection and burning system plans. embankments and the final configuration of the sanitary landfill and plans for each annual filling stage with cross sections. ! ! external network plans for water. sanitary landfill closure plan. the benefits of appropriate solid waste disposal and the compensatory measures applicable to residents of the area.! access and service roads plan. construction plans. surfacing and drainage.

contain airborne particles and help to reduce the dissemination of characteristic waste odours. electricity. telephone. fire control and others). Solid waste final disposal 13. and scrapping off the vegetation layer on operational areas such as the landfill area that will receive domestic and public waste and the effluent treatment plant area. cows or pigs.3. horses. wherever possible preserving landscape composition elements even if this does not appear in the plans.13. work on the landfill can begin with fencing. INITIAL LAND CLEARING WORKS This includes the removal of natural vegetation (clearing and stump removal) by cutting trees. 215 . land clearing and constructing the foundations for a weighbridge (where applicable). environmental control bodies. as well as with the requirements of technical norms. A barrier of vegetation should be planted along the wire fence with a minimum width of 15 metres. The objectives of this are to block the line of sight to the operational area. bushes etc. An approximately two metre high fence is recommended made of concrete or wood posts and galvanized wire with small spaces in the lower part so that small animals cannot enter. government bodies that establish employment and work safety policies.4 Landfill installation When the master plan has been approved and authorization for installation has been obtained. In medium-sized and large landfills the sequence of construction is in general as follows: SITE FENCING Site fencing is necessary to discourage the entrance of non-authorized people and animals such as dogs. grass. Works should always comply with technical specifications and all the other conditions set out in the master plan. environmental legislation and norms and directives issued by public service concessionaires (water.

special attention has to be paid to the surfacing of external access roads and their capacity to support heavy vehicles right from the stage when alternative sanitary landfill sites are being evaluated. In smaller landfills internal roads can have different types of surface: brick dust. They should have a uniform incline towards one side to direct rainwater to a drainage system that runs along the side of the road. depending on the volume of traffic and therefore the landfill’s size. sound sanitary and environmental conditions. Layers that need to be compacted should be dampened until “ideal humidity” is achieved. The recommended thickness for a landfill’s internal road surfaces is from 30 to 50cm. Road maintenance should be a priority in planning for the entire projected operational life of the sanitary landfill in order to ensure the regular flow of collection vehicles to the landfill and. compacted in layers of 15 to 25cm. Earth works finish with the organization of the storage area for materials. These roads have to be easily passable in all seasons of the year and must have appropriate surfacing and road signs so that they are safe for the heavy vehicles that will use them and for the local residents. Internal access and service roads should be built with a primary surface of gravel or selected rubble. As a naturally occurring formation of this type is quite rare. construction rubble or quarry products.EARTH WORKS Earth works should rigorously respect the plans for them and excess material from cuts should be stored in an appropriate place to be used in the future as cover material for landfill cells. As has been previously explained. therefore. gravel. 216 . a technical solution that may be applied is the use of geo-membrane (plastic membrane) lining to waterproof the bottom of the sanitary landfill. WATERPROOFING WORKS A 3m layer of clayey soil (k<10-7cm/s) between the bottom of the landfill and the top of the water table provides an excellent protection against the contamination of underground water. which should ideally be located close to the landfill operational area. ACCESS AND SERVICE ROAD WORKS Sanitary landfill access roads are categorized as external or internal and permanent or temporary.

Solid waste final disposal The bottom of the domestic waste sanitary landfill should be waterproofed immediately after removing the superficial layer of soil from the operational area and this work consists basically of laying the high density polyethylene (HDPE) membrane on the compacted clayey soil. The collection of percolated leachate should be done through pipes laid on the waterproofing layer at the bottom 217 . Once the waterproofing work is completed the network of leachate collection pipes should be laid. Whenever possible rainwater drainage should be through ditches lined with cement soil.13. grass. In some cases. Landfill bottom drainage leading effluent and contaminated water to the treatment unit. The soldering of the membrane sections should be done by a specialized team and it is recommended that the supplier provides this service. The passing of the leachate collection pipes through the plastic membrane is done by means of a special union already incorporated in the membrane that is soldered to the body of the tube. Access roads (permanent or temporary) have their own drainage systems that also serve service roads. DRAINAGE WORKS “Water does not enter a landfill plot from outside or come out from inside of it without being controlled. etc.” This principle requires the installation of three drainage systems for liquids: Peripheral interception drainage that stops rainwater entering the landfill and contaminated water exiting it. The viability of this solution should be verified by specific technical studies carried out by the project management and its approval depends on compliance with the relevant environmental body’s regulations and norms. it is covered with a layer of earth to protect it against perforation and cutting by materials contained in the waste. such as smaller sanitary landfills or where soil conditions are relatively favourable and underground bodies of water are deep. Superficial drainage installed during the operational stage minimizes rainwater infiltration and consequently reduces the flushing of contaminants. Once this geo-membrane is installed. the quantity of effluent and the anaerobic reaction in the mass of buried waste. the bottom of the landfill can be waterproofed with an at least 80cm thick layer of compacted clay with a permeability coefficient of less than 10-6cm/s. to avoid the use of buried pipes.

These pipes should be bedded on gravel or crushed stone (blind drainage) and covered by large grain. formed by the pipe and the gravel.of the landfill in a zigzag pattern. This is used for the sanitary landfill’s principal percolated liquid drainage lines.Leachate drainage system 218 . and then medium grain sand in order to avoid the silting of the pipes by solids suspended in substantial quantity in the leachate. Effluent treatment unit (ETU) Pumping unit PVC pipe See enlargement Secondary drainage pipe Collection pit 1. see figure 121. The whole. with secondary pipes that conduct the collected leachate into the main pipe. Geo-textile membranes can be used instead of the layers of sand. should be wrapped in geo-textile membrane to avoid silting.5m PLOT 1 30m PLOT 1 60m PLOT 2 PLOT 2 Secondary drainage pipe L Principal drainage pipe Pumping unit LANDFILL Bidim ® Principal drainage pipe Collection pit LANDFILL To ETU Percolated liquid minimum level Sumergible pump PVC pipe Clay protection layer PVC pipe HDPE membrane Figure 121 . The liquid flows to a storage pit from where it is pumped to a treatment plant. This system is the most frequently used for a sanitary landfill’s secondary drainage lines. A more effective alternative is to install a Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) or HDPE perforated tube in the gravel bed.

Solid waste final disposal The following figure shows cross sections of these two types of underground pipe. A low cost process that can be used is the recirculation of the effluent through the mass of buried waste. At the same time the mass of waste functions as a filter. 219 . This stage of effluent treatment system works should therefore include at least the installation of a leachate recirculation system.13. The effluent treatment process can be biological. storage pit and primary treatment plant. This circumstance does not prevent. the inclusion in the sanitary landfill project of an initial treatment facility (for at least primary treatment) and a final monitoring lagoon before discharge into the receptor body. the decomposition of which tends to intensify with the addition of micro organisms contained in the effluent. physical. but on the contrary requires. Another advantage is the reduced volume of effluent to be treated due to evaporation by sun and wind. Figure 122 . thermal or a mixture of these (combined processes). reducing the contaminating potential of the re-circulated effluent. physico-chemical.Types of underground leachate drainage pipe INSTALLATION OF EFFLUENT TREATMENT SYSTEM The determination of the best leachate treatment system and its dimensions for a particular landfill requires a previous study of the characteristics of the actual effluent generated in the sanitary landfill.

ELECTRO-MECHANICAL INSTALLATIONS The assembly of the weighbridge should meticulously follow the manufacturer’s instructions and the weighing platform should be perfectly level. because it holds all the information and technical specifications covering the overall context of the work. for example modifications in the route of internal roads may be necessary where they are incompatible with the location of support units. adjustments often have to be made due to difficulties that arise on site. As in all works of a certain size. Any modification or adjustment of the plan should ideally be made by the planning company. or at least it should be consulted. Once installed the weighbridge should be officially calibrated in the presence of the supervision team. adapting them to some condition of the site that may have been overlooked during the formulation of the master plan. 220 .Figure 123 – Leachate treatment lagoon CONSTRUCTIONS WORKS Construction works include the foundations and superstructure of support buildings and the treatment plant. Before works commence it is very important to check the location of these buildings again as this is the last opportunity to modify plans. It is recommended that the planner is on site during construction work. It is obligatory that a weighbridge is mounted on pillars so that the weighing platform does not settle and therefore remains level.

Outline cross-section of a monitoring well 5. incorporating the elements shown in figures 124 and 125. one upstream and two downstream from the sanitary landfill operational area.00 221 .Location of environmental monitoring wells Protecting structure Thread cap Cover Internal lining (Ø 4” rigid PVC pipe) Filling (impermeable material: clay.13. excavated earth) Padlock Sanitary Protection slab protection Sanitary seal Ø Hole 8” Ø Pipe 4” Cement seal WT (Water Table) Perforated or grooved pipe Pre-filter (washed sand or quartz gravel) Fixed cap (pressure or thread) Impermeable layer Figure 125 . Surface water should also be monitored at different points along any nearby body of water upstream and downstream from the sanitary landfill area of influence. Solid waste final disposal DIGGING OF ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING WELLS At least three monitoring wells should be dug. Flow of underground water Landfill Operational area Watercourse Monitoring well Surface water sample collection points Figure 124 .

The basic activities carried out at a sanitary landfill are listed below: WASTE RECEPTION CHECKING On entering the landfill site the collection vehicle goes directly to the weighbridge where it is weighed and all the information relating to its load is registered. 13. water table depth. the vehicle goes to the entry checkpoint where the responsible person writes down data identifying the truck and its load. Arrangements should be made so that machines and vehicles necessary for particular tasks arrive on the site in accordance with the work schedule. including an estimate of its weight (or volume). the acquisition of materials and machines can present difficulties. The operational plan should be simple and cover all the routine activities carried out at a sanitary landfill while at the same time making provisions for their safety.COMPLEMENTARY WORKS Finishing works on the landfill site. soil type. LANDFILL OPERATIONS When the construction method for a landfill is being determined. including landscaping and general cleaning work. Construction materials should be bought from traditional market suppliers that are if possible located close to the site.3. The vehicle then goes to the operational area to unload the waste it is carrying. Depending on the location of the landfill. the sanitary landfill can begin receiving loads of waste in accordance with the pre-established operational plan. 222 . three main factors have to be taken into account: ! ! ! topography. If there is no weighbridge.5 Sanitary landfill operation Once the installation work is finished and the operational authorization has been obtained.

223 . Solid waste final disposal In general there are three possible methods of construction and the choice depends on the concept behind the particular sanitary landfill project and. Subsequently procedures are the same as for the ramp method. the site conditions. Figure 126 – Trench method Ramp method – this is appropriate where the landfill site is flat. in the last analysis.13. Figure 127 – Ramp method Area method – this is the most appropriate technique for a completely flat site and begins with a berm (artificial embankment) of clayey soil against which the first cells of waste lean. The construction methods are: Trench or ditch method – this is the most appropriate technique for land that is flat or has only a slight incline and where the water table is relatively deep. dry and with a type of soil suitable for use as waste covering material. A natural embankment against which cells can lean inspires the name of this construction method.

! with a provisional 20cm thick layer of soil cover the top of the cell. with an incline of 2% towards the edges. 224 . and the internal slopes. ! to obtain good compaction the waste should be distributed in not very thick layers and a bulldozer should pass over the mass of waste of each layer three to six times. ! the usual incline of operational slopes is one metre of base for each metre of height in an active cell and three metres of base for each metre of height in a finished cell. ! the ideal thickness of the coverage soil layer is between 20cm and 30cm for the daily covering of waste. ! the height of the cell should be between four and six metres to provide optimum decomposition conditions for the buried waste. including a truck manoeuvring area with primary surfacing that is big enough for trucks to unload their waste and make the necessary turning manoeuvres to return.BERM RUBBISH 1st Cell 2nd Cell Figure 128 – Area method Solid waste disposal processes are almost identical in the three methods. The procedures to be followed for each cell in each of the operational plots of the sanitary landfill. ! cover the external slopes with the definitive 50cm thick layer of clay. the cell should be as narrow as possible but wide enough to allow the simultaneous unloading of a certain number of trucks depending on the sanitary landfill’s capacity (or the demands of collection) so that queues do not form and collection is not delayed. ! ! the final layer of covering material should be at least 50cm thick. on each of the levels (superimposed layers) are: ! prepare the work face. The basic rules of operation for a sanitary landfill are: ! the distribution and compaction of waste should be done if possible from the bottom to the top to achieve better results.

) Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen Nitrate Nitrogen Nitrite Nitrogen Ammoniacal Nitrogen COD Range of variation Minimum 5.7 3. repeat the operations for filling each cell and preparing the next one until plot 1 is entirely filled. Consequently.1 2. prepare the work face for unloading waste into cell 2 in the same way as for cell 1. EFFLUENT TREATMENT The main characteristic of sanitary landfill effluent is its changing composition over time. ! when burying the cells of the last level. with an incline of 2% towards the edges. the high contaminating potential of “new leachate” gradually reduces over a period of ten years to a point when it does not need treatment.5 0.0 0. ! repeat the sequence of operations until all plots on all levels are completely filled. ! ! as cell 1 is being filled the gas venting system should be progressively built into it.140. These difficulties arise because the type of effluent produced depends on the particular characteristics of the waste (determined by its component substances) deposited in the landfill and on a series of specific factors that influence the decomposition process in the mass of organic waste.900.000. make the final coverage of the completed cells with a layer of 50cm thick compacted clay. ! repeat the same operations to fill plots 2.0 5. due to progressive exhaustion of the biodegradable organic matter.0 966.0 28.13. Solid waste final disposal ! some days before completing cell 1. Table 24 Range of leachate composition variation Parameters pH (un.0 225 .0 6. Table 24 shows the range of parameter variation for some sanitary landfill percolated liquids in Brazil and is presented here as an example of the difficulties involved in a definitive pre-establishment of the type of effluent that will be produced in a particular sanitary landfill. 3 and so on until the lower level is completed.0 0.9 15.0 Maximum 8. ! fill cell 1 of the upper level following the same operational sequence used on the lower level.

0 50.Table 24 (cont.3 6.) Range of variation Minimum 480. Another more complex procedure calculates the production of sanitary landfill percolated liquids through the water balance.800.7 0. except where another unit is indicated.0 3. and many other factors.0 0.) Parameters BOD5 Chlorides Sulfates Total Phosphorus Copper Lead Iron Manganese Zinc Cadmium Total Chromo Faecal Coliform (un.9 4.1 0. the annual rainfall and a factor determined by characteristics of the land.2 3.000. COMLURB (Rio de Janeiro.1 0. Brazil).0 11. the nature of the cell coverage material and in particular its permeability.7 x 108 Source: Data compilation.9 x 107 1. 1993.0 Maximum 19.0 0.6 0. It is influenced by temperature. Stabilization lagoons One of the most frequently used forms of treatment involves lagoons into which leachate effluent is discharged after passing through a grate or a mechanical sieve and 226 . The volume of percolated liquid produced by a sanitary landfill registers seasonal variations depending on climatic conditions in the region and the local drainage system. Another procedure is the “Swiss method” that calculates the flow of sanitary landfill percolated liquid by means of an equation involving the dimensions of the operational area.0 26. A way of calculating the potential flow of effluent from a new sanitary landfill is by direct correlation with percolate generation data obtained from measurements in similar but already operating landfills located in regions with similar climatic conditions.2 2.0 0. the vegetation cover on the sanitary landfill area.0 49.0 14. However distortions may occur.0 35.3 1.0 1.2 0.800.0 0.0 230.) Total Coliform (un. evapotranspiration.000. Note: all values are in mg/l. rainfall quantity.

227 . as such vegetation could harbour mosquitoes and other vectors. sludge should be periodically removed so that the effectiveness of the treatment is not impaired. This series of lagoons ends with a smaller one where the effluent receives a finishing treatment. Percolate drainage Equalization tank Sanitary landfill Grates First aerobic lagoon Overflow outlet Second aerobic lagoon Finishing lagoon Receptor body Figure 129 . Solid waste final disposal remaining for at least 24 hours in an equalization tank to homogenize its composition as much as possible. Lagoon borders should be treated so that no vegetation grows in the air-effluent intermediate zone. In general aerobic stabilization lagoons have the following basic characteristics: ! ! ! form – truncated pyramidal. retention time – 25 days minimum. In addition. depth – 1. The following figure presents an outline of a typical leachate treatment system employing aerobic lagoons.5 metres. Entry to the lagoons should be through a two pipe system to improve the flow of effluent in the lagoon avoiding dead zones and short cuts.13. This lagoon is also aerobic and has the same physical characteristics as the previous ones but only retains the effluent for seven days. The height of the effluent overflow outlet should be adjustable to ensure that leachate remains inside the lagoons for the minimum required time irrespective of the flow volume.Treatment in aerobic lagoons It is recommended that a superficial aeration device is installed in the equalization tank to improve the homogenization of the liquid mass and the aerobic condition of the effluent to be treated.

In this process the effluent gradually looses its toxicity (basically its organic content) due to airing and the biological action of micro organisms present in the mass of waste. regions where the rate of evaporation is higher than that of rainfall. In addition part of the re-circulated effluent evaporates and to encourage this sprinkler nozzles should be adjusted to produce a fine spray. Another important aspect to consider is that the leachate storage pit should have enough capacity to store a sufficient amount of liquid for the recirculation pump not to have to be used at very short intervals. Evaporation is an important factor in leachate recirculation and it functions better in regions with a negative water balance. gross effluent will inevitably drain into some body of water producing environmental damage.This removed sludge should be put to dry in a drying bed and then deposited in the sanitary landfill. that is. It is not advisable to use only documented data to calculate the necessary dimensions of a treatment unit. Effluent flow measurement should be carried out at a minimum of two points on the treatment system: ! ! immediately after the storage pit or immediately before the equalization tank immediately before the point of discharge into the receptor body Gross effluent and treated effluent should be periodically monitored. 228 . Recirculation Another commonly used treatment of sanitary landfill percolated effluent is its recirculation through the mass of waste using sprinklers. Ideally the pit should be designed to hold one complete day’s production of leachate during the rainy season. The disadvantages of this process stem from its high electricity consumption together with its dependence on a constant supply of electricity and the functioning of the pump. thus making it possible for recirculation to take place only once a day and preferably during the eight hour period that the operator is present at the sanitary landfill. tank trucks or infiltration beds. while the liquid can be directly discharged into the receptor body. If the electricity supply or the recirculation pump fail. It can also be used in other regions during dry seasons as an auxiliary procedure complementary to the principal method being used. thus increasing the rate of evaporation. In determining the type of treatment to use the more correct procedure is a laboratory study of the effluent’s characteristics.

The effluent from the aeration tank passes to a secondary settling tank where the previously generated sludge precipitates. The dried sludge is taken back to the landfill for disposal. Suction pit overflow Drainage valley Submergible pump Ditch for percolated liquid Pumping pipe PVC Ø 02” Service roads Recirculation area Perforated PVC pipes Ø ½” Landfill Suction pit Landfill Ditch for percolated liquid Nº 2 gravel beds Figure 130 .13. It then goes to an aeration tank where aerators. Solid waste final disposal Ideally recirculation should serve as a complementary procedure to one of the conventional effluent treatment processes.Infiltration bed recirculation Activated sludge Other processes that can be used in the treatment of sanitary landfill percolated liquids are the activated sludge system and evaporation. In the activated sludge system effluent passes through a preliminary treatment generally in the form of a chamber with bars after which it is directed to a primary settling tank where solids settle. A part of that sludge then returns to the aeration tank while the settled sludge is put together with the sludge from the primary settling tank and goes to a drying bed. which generates a secondary sludge that remains in suspension. from where it is discharged into the receptor body. 229 . The following figure shows a recirculation system using infiltration beds. inject air into the liquid mass allowing the aerobic bacteria to stabilize the organic matter. such as stabilization lagoons or an activated sludge system. usually on the surface. From the secondary settling tank the liquid part goes to a finishing lagoon similar to the one at the end of the aerobic lagoons process.

Treated air outlet Burner Biogas inlet T= 80ºC to 90ºC Percolated liquid inlet Thermal lining Humidity filter Temperature of departing air 750ºC to 900ºC Chimney Evaporator Concentrated sludge Sludge outlet Average concentration 30% solid Sludge pump Biogas inlet Combustion air Supporting base Figure 132 . now more dense with 30% of it being solid material. The sludge.Primary settling tank Aerators Preliminary treatment Aeration tank Secondary settling tank Finishing lagoon Flow measurement Receptor body Figure 131 . dry. comes out through the lower part of the evaporator and is disposed of in the landfill.Activated sludge Evaporation In the evaporation process effluent is sent to a metal tank. where it is heated to a temperature of 80ºC to 90ºC causing part of the liquid to evaporate and consequently the effluent to become more concentrated. into the atmosphere.Leachate evaporator 230 . the evaporator. The great advantage of this process is its low operational cost as the fuel used to evaporate the effluent is biogas from the sanitary landfill itself. The hot vapour leaving the evaporator passes through a filter that retains humidity and then goes to a final heating chamber from where it is discharged.

the ground around it should be covered over a radius of approximately two metres with a 50cm thick layer of clay to avoid the dispersion of gas into the atmosphere. in order to promptly correct potentially damaging effects on the rainwater drainage devices. GAS VENTING The gas venting system comprises vertical wells surrounded by gravel or gross ground stone. treated effluent should meet all discharge standards established by the environmental control body. the decomposition process that gradually takes place in the mass provokes frequent settlings of the surface.13. at its edges. comprising mostly organic matter. The gas venting system should be constantly monitored so that burners are always alight. and on the slopes. particularly underground conduits. Figure 133 . Once the well is installed. located at a distance of 50m to 60m from each other. A burner should be installed in the mouth of the well. It is important to constantly make adjustments to the system accommodating to these movements in the mass of the landfill. In both cases the pipe should be high enough to serve as a guide for its further extension when work begins on the next level up. RAINWATER DRAINAGE SYSTEM The rainwater drainage system should be kept clean and free of obstructions. There are two methods for installing a gas drainage system: extending the pipe as the landfill evolves (recommended) or excavating the completed cell to install the pipe. As the sanitary landfill is constructed with solid waste. Solid waste final disposal Whatever treatment option is selected.Installation of gas drainage wells 231 .

analysis of water from the monitoring wells and from water body sampling sites both upstream and downstream from the sanitary landfill. BOD. total and fixed sedimentary residues and colimetry tests.3. ! GEOTECHNICAL AND TOPOGRAPHICAL MONITORING At all times during the filling of sanitary landfill cells attention must be paid to topographical alignment. analyzing results for the same parameters in each case. compacting and covering of waste.physical. dump truck . up to and including the creation of the final covering surface incline. The second phase of environmental monitoring commences when effluent generated by the sanitary landfill begins to be stored for treatment and gases begin to be produced. Every three months . 232 . chemical and bacteriological analyzes of gross and treated effluent in the treatment system. The reading of these frameworks will also be useful to monitor the geotechnical stability of the sanitary landfill through the measurement of horizontal displacement. COD.for transporting coverage material and material for surfacing internal access roads. In addition to these considerations. The frequency of sampling and the parameters that are analyzed must comply with regulations established by the environmental control body. concrete frameworks should be installed in the work faces for the purpose of monitoring the differential settling of the buried layers.for the distribution.ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING The monitoring of water in the area surrounding the sanitary landfill should begin before the commencement of its operational phase with the collection and analysis of samples from nearby bodies of water and the water table. and the frequency of readings should be increased when significant settling is observed. The quality of these samples is evaluated so that they can be compared with future samples. 13. Example of an environmental monitoring program: ! Monthly .6 Equipment Commonly used machines and vehicles for the operation of a sanitary landfill are: ! ! bulldozer . These frameworks should be read monthly. including tests for pH. Careful attention should also be paid to topographical aspects in determining the incline of percolated liquid drains to ensure optimum drainage conditions after collection.

from the planning and installation phase to the final disposal of urban solid waste. the extensive range of technical components involved in them can be appreciated as can the amount of resources that it is necessary to allocate.4 Controlled landfills With everything that has been previously explained about sanitary landfills. to such a degree that only a few municipalities can install them. even when the necessary financial resources are available for installation there can be difficulties in obtaining sufficient resources and qualified labour to operate a sanitary landfill in a way that meets its rigorous technical requirements.for digging and maintaining drainage ditches. a rigorous system controlling its use should be established not only in relation to the number of hours that machines are operating for. Factors that have to be taken into account when selecting machinery are: the availability of financial resources. In addition. Such definitions tend to focus on specific aspects of particular projects rather than providing a wider conceptual description.13. mechanical digger . in spite of all these obstacles it is necessary to deal with the problem of solid waste disposal as it has such serious consequences for sanitary and environmental conditions in cities. a type of landfill that is often misunderstood or badly defined even by the technical community itself.) to avoid it being scattered. The most appropriate definition of a controlled landfill is: “A controlled landfill is a modified version of a sanitary landfill where the rigorous technical requirements applicable to the latter are more flexible in order to facilitate urban solid waste final disposal on the ground. In Latin American and Caribbean countries the limited availability of public resources and the great demands made upon them create a situation in which it is very difficult to establish sanitary landfills. In this context the alternative “controlled landfill” option arises. with the waste duly isolated and covered. 13. As this equipment represents the most significant operational expenditure for a sanitary landfill. plastics. Solid waste final disposal ! ! ! mechanical loader . but also in regard to their correct operation during daily tasks in order to optimize their use and minimize unproductive procedures. and the wear and tear on their load trucks. Nevertheless. tank truck – to supply water for reducing dust on internal roads and dampening lighter waste (papers. etc. 233 . not only for installation but also for their ongoing operation in compliance with all the technical requirements and applicable regulations. specialized labour for maintenance and spare parts for immediate delivery. The sanitary landfill’s operational method is the principal factor that determines the selection and dimensions of machinery needed for landfill operations.

The cells of a controlled landfill are also built with compacted layers of waste but without necessarily using specialized machines (bulldozers. A controlled landfill offers municipalities with limited investment and budgetary capacity a relatively immediate opportunity to operate a low cost urban solid waste disposal system that eliminates the environmental and social aggression of refuse dumps. the principal characteristics of which should be: soil that is not very permeable (clayey) and a deep water table (at least 3 metres below the level of the natural land). and in doing so demonstrates the principle “the ideal can be the enemy of the good”. as they vary from very simple installations to ones that are similar to sanitary landfills. There is no exact definition of a “controlled landfill”. though it must be routinely covered with earth.0m Water table 234 . Of these systems it is the absence of effluent treatment that causes such municipalities most problems. a bulldozer exclusively and permanently allocated to final waste disposal. that is. waste can be manoeuvred using lighter equipment or manual tools.” The key to a successful controlled landfill project is therefore the choice of the land where it will be installed. for example. operate and maintain some of the systems required by the norms that regulate sanitary landfills. Upper waterproofing Controlled landfill Lower waterproofing Maximum water level Flow of underground water Impermeable soil Figure 134 .complying with minimum sanitary control requirements through the selection of a site. In this respect it is also important that the waste coverage layers are of clayey earth and particular attention should be paid to the top covering when the landfill reaches its maximum height. the natural characteristics of which minimize the risk of negative environmental impacts.Cross section of a controlled landfill h>3. self-propelled waste compactors). or to implement. as the more effective that system is the less effluent will be produced in the landfill. Consequently special care should be taken with the rainwater drainage system of controlled landfills. Where the soil type is not appropriate the controlled landfill project should make provision for the installation of an at least 50cm thick waterproofing layer of clayey soil brought from the nearest deposit. It is common for controlled landfills to be used in small cities that collect up to 50 tons of solid waste per day and where municipalities are not in an economic condition to maintain.

The ideal in such a case is a small dry natural hollow.for example those used for road maintenance . This is not a realistic possibility for most small-sized municipalities in Latin America and the Caribbean with their budgetary limitations and the significant under use of equipment that this would imply due to the relatively small amount of waste to be disposed of.Manual compaction of waste in a cell 235 . The covering of waste should be done at the end of each working day. When it is not possible to guarantee even the infrequent programmed availability of machines to do the heavier work involved in landfill routines (such as excavating earth). mallets.13. the selection of the site becomes fundamentally important for an effective functioning of the controlled the preparation of the weekly work face. Waste compacting can be done with mallets. The waste can be manoeuvred and the top surface and lateral sloped (1:1) surfaces can be levelled using hoes. In this case additional compaction can be achieved by collection vehicles being driven over filled areas as the cell advances. In such a case resultant material would be stored in a nearby place for later use in the covering operation. An entirely manual operation is recommendable only for a daily waste volume of up to 40m³ or approximately 10 tons. A mechanical digger for example could excavate trenches for future waste cells where the land type permits the employment of this method of solid waste landfill construction. Manoeuvring and coverage work is done manually as described below. Figure 135 . rakes. as well as the drain on equipment resources needed for other municipal services. compaction and covering of waste. A practical alternative for small-sized municipalities is to use easily obtainable manual tools for landfill operations. For such municipalities a controlled landfill allows for alternative solutions such as the periodic and programmed use of machines from other municipal sectors . pitchforks and forks. Solid waste final disposal One of the requirements for a sanitary landfill is the permanent presence of specialized machines for the manoeuvring.

It should be noted that the strategic context of a refuse dump environmental recuperation exercise can be: ! ! that the area will be recuperated after it is closed for the dumping of waste. An analysis of these alternatives is fundamental to appropriate planning for future solid waste final disposal. In this way the municipality can avoid generating negative impacts on a virgin site before exhausting the waste disposal capacity (useful life) of the area previously used as a refuse dump. technical-operational and economic results. subsequently recuperating the excavated area by filling it with natural soil from the region. shoes and gloves that guarantee their protection and safety. On rainy days they should wear plastic waterproofs. Often a municipality does not have access to sufficient finance for carrying out two works. so it will naturally opt for undertaking the latter and leave aside remedying the environmental liability incurred by the refuse dump. Another aspect to consider is the availability of resources. environmental.Where a landfill is manually operated it is indispensable that workers engaged in the manoeuvring and covering of waste have. 236 . in order to optimize the use of resources and maximize sanitary. that is.5 Environmental recuperation of refuse dumps As has been explained. Areas degraded by refuse dumps should therefore be recuperated by containing such impacts and re-establishing healthy conditions there. in addition to the appropriate tools. that investment in the environmental recuperation of a dump is combined with the creation of disposal service and environmental protection infrastructure in the same place. clothing. 13. Therefore whenever possible the refuse dump site or neighbouring land should be used to install a new final disposal system. especially in cities with restricted financial resources. In practice however this procedure is not usually economically viable and in most cases it is anyway impossible to implement due to the physical characteristics of the dump site. a refuse dump is an inappropriate form of urban solid waste disposal as it produces a series of negative environmental impacts and poses sanitary risks for the population. Theoretically the correct way to recuperate land degraded by a refuse dump is to collect all the waste inappropriately disposed of there and transfer it to a sanitary landfill. or that the area will be recuperated in such a way that it will be able to continue receiving waste but on a sound sanitary and environmental basis. thus allowing for the continued disposal of waste there but in sanitary conditions. the recuperation of the degraded refuse dump area and the installation of a new final disposal system on another site. It is always recommended.

cover the exposed waste surfaces with an at least 50cm thick layer of good quality clay. g) after they have been levelled. j) dig one or more storage pits for effluent collected by the leachate drainage devices. in general 1:3 (V:H). The recuperation of a refuse dump does not finish with the implementation of these procedures. b) delimit the affected area in situ. f) give the top surface an incline as indicated in the section on drainage. k) construct vertical wells for gas venting. h) recuperate the excavated area by filling it with natural soil from the region. Solid waste final disposal When a refuse dump is permanently closed. n) use three of the previously made probe holes to install water table monitoring wells: one on the upstream side of the area of the recuperated dump and two on the downstream side.13. l) spread a layer of top soil over the layer of clay on the top surface and slopes. Leachate that accumulates in the storage pits should be periodically recirculated in the mass of waste. through sprinklers (similar to those used for grass watering) or infiltration beds. including the lateral slopes. i) install rainwater and leachate drainage devices appropriate for the particular project. c) carry out probes to measure the thickness of the layer of waste throughout the degraded area. and the quality of underground water should be checked through the monitoring wells. d) remove the waste from the parts of the site where the layer of waste is thinner (in general less than one metre) and deposit it on the part of the refuse dump where the layer of waste is thickest. the basic procedures are: a) if there is no reliable cadastral data. e) form lateral slopes with an appropriate incline. and site recuperation is undertaken. as should the surface water in nearby bodies of water. previous urban cleaning personnel should be consulted to determine as precisely as possible the extent of the area affected by waste and the principal physical characteristics of the natural land. 237 . m) sow grass and native plant species with short roots. thus ending any type of waste disposal there. gas vents should be periodically checked so that those extinguished by wind or rain can be relit.

in addition to creating a serious risk of accidents involving the working machines and vehicles. which together with low work training levels leads people to seek any activity that at least provides a means of survival for themselves and their families. In this case. waterproofing it with good quality clay and installing underground pipes to collect leachate. Segregators tend to circulate freely in the operational area of a refuse dump. Refuse dump recuperation projects are therefore not limited to engineering issues but also have to solve a complex social problem that cannot and should not be the sole responsibility of the body providing urban cleaning services. but rather requires articulated action involving various governmental sectors. ! ! ! excavate one or more storage pits for effluent generated in new cells. whenever possible a recuperated dump site should continue to be used. as the landfill evolves build vertical wells for gas venting. compaction and covering as if it were a sanitary landfill. Even though recyclable waste segregation in refuse dumps and streets is an unhealthy activity. or because the children themselves are segregating materials in order to increase family income. either due to a lack of alternative options for parents who do not have anybody to take care of them while they are engaged in segregation work. together with collection trucks and scrap dealers. one upstream and two downstream from the future operational area. ! install a leachate recirculation system and (depending on the climatic conditions of the zone) an effluent treatment system with stabilization lagoons. and such activity hinders distribution. 238 . the sequence of procedures listed in the previous paragraph is modified after point “g” in the following way: ! prepare the excavated area to receive more solid waste. it has become an “alternative job” as a result of the now endemic large-scale social crisis. Even more serious is the presence of children at dumps. 13. but as a landfill.6 The situation of segregators In the present situation of Latin American and Caribbean countries there are not enough employment opportunities in the formal work market to allow universal entrance into it by a growing population. due to the difficulty of finding new sites appropriate for sanitary landfills. compaction and covering operations. ! dig water table monitoring wells.As has been previously explained. establish procedures for distribution. ! install the necessary rainwater drainage channels to stop rain water run off reaching future work faces.

7. the ideal destiny for construction rubble is recycling. cooperation with non-governmental institutions and private companies. Solid waste final disposal Some of the initiatives that should be implemented to gradually change this situation are the development of alternative income and employment programs (such as segregator cooperatives. for example).1 Construction rubble disposal As has been explained in the chapter on solid waste treatment. Disposing of construction rubble in a sanitary landfill is not economical as it is inert waste that is being deposited in a specialized system surrounded by technical resources designed to protect the environment. it is disposed of at the bottom of a landfill. 239 .13. Figure 136 – Recycling plant operated by a segregator cooperative 13. programs that provide children with integral fulltime places in schools or sports and recreational centres and a compensatory system for parents whose children cease to engage in segregation work. with effective management. the provision of technical training for segregators so that they can engage in other activities in the formal labour market.7 Special domestic waste disposal 13. However when a municipality does not have this option. when it could be disposed of in more simple landfills at a lower cost. could be used for the recuperation of excavations resulting from the extraction of materials used in the construction industry. Depositing this type of waste in a sanitary landfill is also not economical from an environmental perspective as the useful life of the landfill will be diminished by waste that.

3 Disposal of fluorescent tubes Often small pieces of broken tubes are accidentally discarded together with common waste in sanitary landfills.2 Disposal of batteries As used batteries constitute hazardous waste. 13.7.7. as there is mercury in them the appropriate final disposal of such waste. In this case too the “polluter pays” principle applies. dealers and other players in this economic sector. Batteries collected in this way would be removed once a month and taken to a treatment or recycling site. Two initiatives are presented below as examples of measures that the private sector can adopt for the collection and final disposal of batteries. with a view to recycling or another form of treatment and final disposal. ! establish an agreement with mobile phone producers under which they set up a discarded battery collection program that includes the provision of a telephonic information centre providing the location of places where there are special containers for used batteries. This waste should be regarded as waste from the industrial process of its producers. its use for the temporary covering of urban waste when there is a scarcity of the usual covering material in the zone. ! develop a project together with associations of authorized technical service providers for the installation of battery collection containers on their premises. who should be responsible for financing such a process. their final disposal should be managed with the same criteria as are applied to industrial waste that carries the same type of risk. who should therefore be responsible for its collection. is in a landfill designed specifically for industrial waste with this risk classification. particularly due to the presence of heavy metals in their composition. the body responsible for urban cleaning should ensure the participation of producers. especially in large amounts. 13. 240 . Corresponding regulations should be brought into force in support of this type of model to avoid the risk that the municipality will be left with responsibility for costs associated with production process waste from private sector enterprises.The only appropriate types of rubble disposal in a sanitary landfill are: ! ! its use as base material for internal roads and unloading areas. However. Before organizing a system for battery separation at source. treatment and final disposal.

4 Disposal of tyres When it is not possible to recycle used tyres or use them in cement industry furnaces. Finally it is necessary to pay attention to the import of used but still usable tyres as together with these goods the companies of exporter countries are also exporting the problem of disposal when they are of no further use. waste barrages and other forms of disposal are commonly used for industrial waste. 241 . repeating the same steps. The treatment consists of mixing and homogenizing waste with the upper layer of soil (to a ploughing depth of 15cm to 20cm). The body responsible for urban cleaning should not have to take on the problematic final disposal of used tyres.8 Disposal of waste from special sources 13. 13. Once the micro organisms complete the degradation work. they can be disposed of in sanitary landfills after being ground so that they do not cause structural problems in the landfill. The following figure shows an outline cross section of a bio-regeneration area. a new layer of waste can be treated in the same soil. Solid waste final disposal 13.1 Industrial waste disposal Soil bio-regeneration (land farming). industrial landfills. and so on. for example.7. This treatment is very much used for the final decomposition of oil by-products and organic compounds. SOIL BIO-REGENERATION Soil bio-regeneration (land farming) is a biological treatment through which the organic part of waste is decomposed by the micro organisms that live in the upper layer of soil. Although the same land can be used repeatedly the disadvantage of this method is its need for large areas of land as the layers are not thick. In support of this current perspective on the problem national legislation is needed to facilitate a progressive reduction in the quantity of such waste through a policy that fosters recycling by the industry and suppliers.8. which should be the responsibility of producers and distributors as it is their economic activity that generates this waste.13.

Flow of water in a landfill In order to reduce the amount of effluent to be treated. non-inert waste.Soil bio-regeneration outline INDUSTRIAL LANDFILLS Industrial landfills are classified according to the hazard presented by the waste to be deposited there. those for Class II. 242 . as demonstrated in the following figure. absorption and adsorption in the upper layer Figure 137 . the first step is to avoid. by means of barriers and drainage ditches. In Brazil. the incursion of rainwater falling outside the limits of the landfill that would otherwise increase the volume of effluent percolating inside the landfill. for example.Periodic application and mixing of waste and soil Containment of rainwater that falls on the treatment area Evaporation Diversion of rainwater that falls outside the treatment area 200 m Infiltration Water course Aerobic decomposition. and those for Class III. In any type of industrial waste landfill a rainwater drainage system and bottom waterproofing are essential to avoid soil and water table contamination from rainwater that has percolated through the waste. only inert waste. landfills for Class I waste can receive hazardous industrial waste. Rain Evaporation Superficial drainage Leaching Waste landfill Leaching Percolation Maximum water level Flow of underground water Non-saturated zone Wastewater Impermeable soil Figure 138 .

When operating an industrial landfill special precautions have to be taken to control the type of waste unloaded there as only chemically compatible wastes can be disposed of in any given landfill. Consequently. that is. Solid waste final disposal The second step is waterproofing the bottom of the landfill with a plastic membrane in order to stop leachate contaminating the soil and the water table.Industrial landfill for Class I waste . The operational cost varies according to the waste’s degree of toxicity.13.000 tons requires an initial investment of approximately two million dollars and involves operational costs of 50 to 150 dollars per ton.5mm h > 3m Leakage detection layer (t = 25cm) Figure 139 .typical cross-section 243 . Industrial landfill for Class I waste Final coverage layer I = 2% Rainwater drainage Drainage layer t = 25cm h = 4 to 6m Waste t = 0. The main disadvantage of an industrial landfill as a means of final waste disposal is that it requires a large area of land in order to be economically and operationally viable and it should be taken into account that the waste continues to be potentially dangerous until it can naturally incorporate itself in the environment.0 to 2.60 to 1. fire or explosion. on the reduction of waste production and its treatment so that only unusable refuse is deposited in industrial landfills. production of smoke and gases that are toxic and inflammable. that is. The most common phenomena produced by the mixture of incompatible wastes are: heat generation. An industrial landfill with a capacity of 15.00m Intermediate coverage (soil – t = 25cm) Plastic membrane t = 20 to 30cm Waste Waste Vegetation coverage Pumping unit Blind drainage I = min 0. dissolution of toxic substances and violent polymerization.5% Physical protection layer t = 30cm Waste Storage pit Maximum water level To the effluent treatment unit PVC tube Plastic membrane (double layer) t =1. wastes that do not react in contact with each other or with infiltrated rainwater. In this context the best course of action is to concentrate efforts on earlier stages. before waste is unloaded at the landfill the list of compatible wastes published by environmental control bodies must be consulted.

physical protection for the plastic membrane.7cm/s). top waterproofing layer.00m Vegetation coverage Pumping unit Blind drainage Waste Storage pit Maximum water level t = 20 to 30cm Waste Waste I = min 0. a top waterproofing layer of plastic membrane or good quality clay (k = 10 . thickness > 50cm) is recommended. percolates drainage system. layers of waste (from 4.Industrial landfills for Class I waste require more rigorous waterproofing than those for Class II and III.0m thick) with 25cm thick layers of soil between them.8 to 1.0m to 6.6cm/s. A minimum water table depth of three metres is required and the following layers are compulsory: ! double layer of bottom waterproofing: PEAD membrane and clay protection layer (k < 10 . drainage layer on top of the top waterproofing layer (t = 25cm).5m Figure 140 . Beginning at least 1.5% Physical protection layer t = 30cm To the effluent treatment unit PVC tube Plastic membrane t = 0.Industrial landfill for Class II and Class III waste – typical cross-section Industrial landfills for Class II and Class III waste are similar to domestic waste sanitary landfills but do not usually have a gas venting system. 244 .5mm h > 1. ! although it is not obligatory.5m above the highest level of the water table and going from bottom to top this type of landfill usually consists of the following layers: ! ! ! ! bottom waterproofing with PEAD membrane. ! ! ! leakage detection layer between the bottom waterproofing layers.60 to 1. Industrial landfill for Class II and Class III waste Final coverage layer I = 2% Rainwater drainage Drainage layer t = 25cm h = 4 to 6m Waste t = 0. ! 25cm thick sand drainage (necessary only where there is top waterproofing).

245 .2 Radioactive waste disposal There are three final disposal processes for nuclear waste. The percolated liquid. when the top layer of waste has solidified. These landfills are not deep and cover an extended area. preferably underground. all very expensive and sophisticated: ! construction of special shelters with double walls of high resistance concrete. Solid waste final disposal ! ! organic soil (thickness > 60cm). OTHER FORMS OF DISPOSAL Highly hazardous waste can be disposed of in underground saline or calcareous caves. ! encapsulation in an impermeable concrete covering followed by dumping in the deep ocean (this process is very much criticized by environmentalists and in some countries is prohibited). collected through a drainage system similar to the one in the previous figure. or can be injected into exhausted oil wells. WASTE BARRAGES Waste barrages are used for the disposal of liquid waste as well as sludgy waste that has a humidity content of more than 80%.8. vegetation coverage with short root plant species. Such barrage systems use a double layer of waterproofing only on the bottom. the surface is waterproofed with a layer of clay to reduce rainwater infiltration and thus the need for ongoing treatment of percolated liquids. After the closure of the landfill. A top waterproofing layer is not required as the surface serves to evaporate off part of the liquid content.13. followed by a conventional biological process (stabilization lagoons or activated sludge). 13. The type of treatment depends on the characteristics of the waste deposited in the landfill but usually a complete physicochemical process is applied. They have a filtration and drainage system at the bottom (flute) to collect and treat the liquid part while containing the solid matter inside the barrage. should be led to a treatment unit.

It is therefore essential that an effective and safe solid waste storage.8. When the septic trench is annexed to a municipal landfill. Top waterproofing should begin as soon as the volume of waste reaches its final height and should progress at the same rate as the filling of the trench. 13. trenches should be excavated with dimensions appropriate for receiving waste generated over a pre-determined period (a month. There are two types of septic trench: individual ones such as may be used by large hospitals and ones that are annexed to a municipal sanitary landfill. Port and airport waste not at risk of being contaminated by contact with waste generated in boats or planes arriving from areas with endemic diseases can be disposed of in sanitary landfills. In recent years the sanitary vigilance authorities of several countries have begun to implement measures that increase controls in ports and airports out of a concern for the potential economic impact of diseases such as foot-and-mouth or mad-cow disease being “imported” from other countries or regions.4 Medical waste disposal The only final disposal process for this type of waste in the ground is the septic trench. 246 .8. which involves the daily covering of waste and obligatory waterproofing but no leachate collection. This plot should be fenced and isolated from the rest of the landfill. a distinct plot should be separated for medical waste disposal. In the first type. Conceptually a septic trench is in reality a Class II industrial landfill. is a viable option for cities with budgetary limitations. However. as described in 13. in many of these countries only some ports and airports comply with such environmental legislation while in the others no special attention is paid to waste disposal. 13. due to its low investment and operational costs. six months or a year). handling and internal transport system is implemented in order to avoid contact between common waste and waste that is contaminated or represents a potential sanitary risk.8.3 Port and airport waste disposal In some countries it is required by law that port and airport waste is disposed of by incineration. The bottom and sides of the excavated trench are then waterproofed and waste begins to be deposited there. the surfaces of which should be covered daily.! disposal in saline underground caves that are sealed so as not to contaminate the biosphere.1. a method that is very much questioned by most professionals but.

surface and underground water and represent a potential source of epidemics and fires as well as being susceptible to disintegration. in spite of spectacular promotional offers by equipment manufacturers.Septic trench installed in a sanitary landfill 13. provided they are well built and correctly 247 . auditing tribunals and public prosecutors for poor urban cleaning management.13.9 Sanitary landfills and carbon credits: Opportunities to help resolve environmental problems The environmental damage resulting from refuse dumps and irregular dumping always causes significant problems for municipal administrations. both of which are beyond the capacity of municipalities that lack financial resources and specialized personnel. From an environmental perspective dumps are a real calamity as they contaminate the soil. the atmosphere. The simplest and cheapest option for solving the problem of refuse dumps is undoubtedly the installation of sanitary landfills. Final coverage Drainage layer Plastic membrane Fence Waste 3m to 4m Waste Waste Top coverage Lateral slopes coverage Plastic membrane Figure 141 . Solid waste final disposal The procedures for waste disposal and waterproof layer installation are similar to those previously described. The unpleasant appearance and the bad odour that they emit discredit city administrations where waste is not appropriately disposed of. especially in relation to the final disposal of waste. Many mayors have been held directly accountable by environmental bodies. they require significant financial investment and their operation involves a high level of complexity. Attempting to resolve urban solid waste final disposal problems through the installation of recycling or incineration plants is often not feasible as.

in which case they should be replaced by a sanitary landfill elsewhere that will then receive the city’s domestic waste. This combustible gas can be used to fuel boilers.1 Greenhouse effect: causes and consequences This phenomenon is similar to the one produced by the glass panels of a greenhouse that retain heat produced by the sun. carbonic gas and methane. the average 248 . Refuse dumps can be eliminated either by transforming them into sanitary landfills or by eradicating them altogether in an environmentally sound way. approximately 50% of which is methane. for example. as established in the Kyoto Protocol the objective of which is to reduce the proportion of gases that provoke the greenhouse effect in the earth’s atmosphere.9. Consequently. principally due to the intensive use of fossil fuels such as coal and oil in domestic and industrial activities and in transport. In this chapter we will try to clarify the question of carbon credits as the recovery and use of biogas for fuel has already been dealt with in many technical publications. As with the glass panels of a greenhouse. One potentially positive economic factor being studied with increasing attention as a solution to this problem is the exploitation of biogas naturally produced during organic waste anaerobic decomposition processes. which is then reflected outwards.operated. furnaces and vehicle internal combustion engines or to generate electricity. As a result of this situation the problem of solid waste disposal in Latin America is far from being solved. which are offering resources and information for the installation of sanitary landfills with systems that recover and exploit “waste biogas”. while if it existed to a greater degree the Earth would be similar to Venus. our planet would be as cold and sterile as Mars. principally water vapour. Over recent decades the concentration of these gases in the atmosphere has increased. sterile and with an extremely high ambient temperature. the presence of certain gases in the atmosphere. Sanitary landfills do not contaminate or emit unpleasant odours and after their final closure they can be used for the construction of sports complexes or public parks. The naturally occurring “greenhouse effect” is a phenomenon of the Earth’s particular type of atmosphere that ensures climatic conditions favourable for life as we know it. impedes the release into space of heat generated by the incidence of the sun’s rays on the Earth’s surface. This new opportunity is beginning to receive support from the World Bank and other international development bodies. However such initiatives involve investment and operational costs that in general are beyond municipalities’ financial means. as is revealed by PAHO reports on basic sanitary services (see chapter 1). 13. according to which the percentage of cities that still have refuse dumps is very high. If this phenomenon did not exist. with the additional advantage that its producers will receive Certified Emission Reductions (CERs).

disappeared when a layer of dust was raised by the impact of a meteorite on the surface of the Earth provoking a drastic fall in global temperatures. thus endangering the delicate balance that makes our environment liveable. or at least reduce. Rio 92. The Protocol defined a baseline criterion separating the group of surplus emission producing countries (credit buyers) and the group of sub-baseline producing countries (credit sellers).00 per ton of CO2. 13. such as Latin American and Caribbean countries. In developed countries these costs can reach to values higher than US$ 500. or is captured. Global carbon markets have therefore begun to form and several international funds have been created to support the development of projects that reduce anthropogenic 6. Out of a concern to stop. the Kyoto Protocol came into force on 16th February 2005. according to the most accepted theory. Consequently commitments were established that defined greenhouse gas emission reduction goals for developed countries listed in Annex 1 of the Protocol and a program of reduction quota commercialization.php 249 . the acceleration of this process the UN called a summit. Countries not included in Annex 1 of the Protocol. A dramatic example of what a change in the Earth’s climate can imply is the extinction of the dinosaurs that once lived all over the planet and.00 per ton of carbon while in countries not included in Annex 1 of the Protocol they vary from US$ 1. The Kyoto Protocol established that between 2008 and 2012 countries listed in its Annex 1 (developed countries) should reduce their emission of green-house gases (GHG) to a level approximately 7 % below that of 1995.13. Solid waste final disposal temperature on Earth is increasing. Following its ratification by Russia in November 2004.9. which established the “Framework Convention on Climate Change” that finally became the Kyoto Protocol 6 signed in 1997 in the Japanese city of that are not obliged by the Protocol to reduce emissions but rather can transfer to Annex 1 countries credits corresponding to emission reductions produced by projects implemented for that purpose that qualify as what are called CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) projects. the moment at which the timeframe for commitments taken on in that international agreement became applicable. is approximately US$ 10. As a result of these cost differences the Emissions Reduction Market was created where the current value of a ton of CO2 or equivalent that is not emitted. Available on the Convention on Climate Change website http://unfccc.00 to US$ 30.00.2 The “logic” of carbon credits The interest in buying Certified Emission Reduction credits is due to differences between countries in the cost of emission reduction through processes applied to installations.

has been put to tender with the support and assistance of the World Bank. whether emission reductions are additional to those that would take place if the project was not implemented (baseline). The first CDM project approved by the Executive Council is in Brazil: an electricity generating station fuelled by methane from landfill biogas in Nova Iguaçu (Rio de Janeiro). In relation to the greenhouse effect it should be noted that each ton of methane is equivalent to 21 tons of CO2.carbon emissions. Latin American cities are beginning to invest in urban waste treatments that reduce methane emissions and generate income through CERs linked to sanitary landfill projects implemented in accordance with CDM. Each ton of CO2 that a developing country does not emit or captures (that is.5 million tons of carbonic gas (US$ 4. Buenos Aires. that is. transforms for example into vegetable matter. it is not required by law. In Argentina for example. The project is expected to capture the equivalent of 2. taking into account: ! ! ! whether the project is entered into voluntarily. Another Brazilian project for implementation in the Salvador Centre Metropolitan sanitary landfill (Bahia). implementation and operation of a project should be certified and audited by independent bodies authorized by the UN. is aligned with public policies for the improvement of sanitary and environmental conditions and results in a better quality of life for the urban population by contributing to the transformation of refuse dumps into sanitary landfills.5 per ton) and its first client is the government of the Netherlands. The application of CDM to sanitary landfills is very effective for emission reduction. In consequence CERs are generated to the degree that the combustion of methane takes place and the emission of CO2 equivalent is therefore diminished. whether there are real measurable long term benefits. To take advantage of this new economic opportunity. already approved by the Brazilian government through the Inter- 250 . a process called fixation in plants) can be traded on the global market in the form of the above mentioned CER credits. the planning. the concession for the collection and treatment of methane produced by the large sanitary landfill at Villa Dominico. requires low investment. For CERs to be issued. This is the first Argentinean project that has been presented to the Kyoto Protocol Executive Council as a CDM.

there are requirements that have to be met. Here we present some of the essential conditions that the various sectors involved in the operation of an urban cleaning system should fulfil in order to achieve the established objective. the company operating the sanitary landfill where that service is subcontracted. with the objective of capturing 18. as well as a specific annual budget allocation to municipal solid waste management large enough to cover the system’s investment and operational costs. and national. an organizational agreement should be established between the different institutions involved in the project such as the municipality. 13. To achieve these objectives there must be a separate management unit within the municipal administration with sufficient training to carry out these functions. Finally. is at present awaiting the evaluation of the Kyoto Protocol Executive Council.9. headed by the Science and Technology Ministry. Maldonando province. Institutional The mayor and secretaries of departments related to municipal solid waste management and the environment should clearly and unequivocally demonstrate their intention to implement a permanent program of domestic waste collection and final disposal that covers the entire urban population (universal coverage) in order to ensure healthy conditions for everybody and the protection of the local environment. with its consequent reduction of methane emission into the atmosphere.962 tons of methane over the course of 15 years. the electricity distribution company or gas consumer company where there is energy or gas generation using biogas. 251 . There should also be a national policy for solid waste management establishing minimum service provision standards and requiring the implementation of final waste disposal systems that are both sanitarily and environmentally sound. It is therefore clear that the carbon credit market is rapidly expanding and adapting to the CDM principles established by the Kyoto Protocol. The first pilot project in Latin America was implemented in Uruguay at Las Rosas sanitary landfill.3 Circumstances in which biogas from a sanitary landfill can be utilized For an effective implementation of a biogas recovery and utilization project. provincial or municipal environmental conservation bodies.13. Solid waste final disposal ministerial Climate Commission.

with a view to the possible allocation of public resources or investment by the private sector at a national or international level. in order to avoid the difficulties involved in the implementation of a new landfill in an urban area even when it will be operated on a sound basis.000 tons of waste (corresponding to 25. the resources needed to solve them and the responsibilities that each party has in the process. where relevant. that is. and there is a regular reception of at least 50 tons of domestic waste per day. by the national body responsible for climate change issues. If the site is not operated in a sanitary way. Social A public awareness raising program should be instigated focusing on the issue of urban cleaning with a view to informing all citizens about sanitary problems in their region. by a 10m high prism with sides of 60m). considering a density of 0. the waste is not covered with clay and there is no leachate and biogas collection. the surface of the landfill and its slopes are covered with clay except for the work face where trucks unload. the layer of waste is at least 10 metres deep.4 Requirements for the implementation of GHG emission reduction projects in solid waste landfills The implementation of emission reduction programs for methane produced in urban waste landfills should comply with CDM requirements.7t/m³. urban zoning and minimum environmental conditions are appropriate. Disposal operations should preferably continue on the site of the old refuse dump.200 cubic metres. Consequently the formulation of a table of conditioning factors is recommended that can be filled in according to the specific characteristics of each project and subsequently analyzed to determine if a given project can receive preliminary approval from the national body responsible for the environment and later.9. so that they can be analyzed and given different degrees of priority by the Interministerial Commission on Global Climate Change. to give an idea. the possibility of recuperating the land at the same time as sanitary or controlled operations begin on it should be examined. In addition guarantees are required not only for an effective collection of the biogas and the transformation of its methane into carbon dioxide (CO2) but also for the long term continuity of the process as biogas continues to be produced during a period of more than 15 years after the closure of a landfill as a waste disposal site. 252 . provided that the ownership. 13.Physical and operational The existence of a sanitary landfill principally dealing with the disposal of domestic waste with a high organic matter content that has already received a minimum quantity of 15. which occupies a volume that can be represented.

where applicable.9. Solid waste final disposal The following is a list of project related characteristics that will facilitate the analysis of a given project prior to a decision on whether or not basic CDM requirements are met: ! ! ! ! ! ! an urban population of more than 30. a landfill operation that is ongoing and functions in a regulated way: a sufficiency of machines. ! ! a sub-contraction of the landfill operation. Even though income from CERs is not received immediately after the transformation of a refuse dump into a sanitary landfill. a daily waste collection delivered to the site of at least 50 tons. ! an existing or planned public awareness raising campaign on environmental issues in general or urban cleaning in particular. involving burning and transformation into CO2. a waste collection system coverage of at least 80% of the population. a municipal budgetary allocation specifically for urban cleaning services that is big enough to maintain the quality of those services at an appropriate level. the compaction of waste and its regular coverage with a layer of clay. ! no depositing of industrial waste in the landfill. a collection and either treatment or recirculation of leachate. more than 10 metre thick layers of waste. are less onerous than other GHG emission reduction options. ! a political decision on the part of the mayor to recuperate the existing refuse dump.13. a qualified technical team within the responsible body. the existence of a body responsible for urban cleaning in the municipality. 13.000 inhabitants. in the medium term it can represent real financial assistance for municipalities enabling them to ensure the correct operation of urban 253 . ! an effective body of municipal regulations applicable to urban cleaning that may be part of a general body of municipal regulations. ! a municipal urban cleaning or waste collection rate that covers more than 40% of service costs. ! the existence of land owned by the municipality that meets the environmental conditions necessary for installing a sanitary landfill. Such sanitary landfill projects are therefore likely to be of interest to large international corporations as a way of obtaining cheaper CERs.5 General considerations The relation between sanitary landfills and carbon credits is based in the fact that landfill biogas capture and utilization projects. and install a new sanitary landfill. a landfill growth plan that is followed.

reducing leachate generation and avoiding methane emissions. 254 .solid waste final disposal installations. This is of interest as it can facilitate the viability of projects that add this form of waste treatment to the operation of sanitary landfills thus extending their useful life. This offers municipalities a definitive and low cost way of fulfilling their constitutional and moral duty to appropriately dispose of waste produced in urban concentrations and provide basic sanitary conditions for the inhabitants of the city they administer. Finally it should be noted that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has recently approved a new methodology for calculating the emissions avoided by composting processes. which can lead to CER income.

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Brazil EIS – Environmental Impact Study EMS – Environmental Management Secretariat. Brazil COD – Chemical Oxygen Demand COMLURB – Rio de Janeiro Urban Cleaning Company CONAMA – National Commission on the Environment.GLOSSARY OF ACRONYMS ABNT – Brazilian Institute of Technical Standards ASCE – American Society of Civil Engineers BOD – Biochemical Oxygen Demand CEPIS/PAHO – Pan American Center for Sanitary Engineering and Environmental Sciences CER – Certified Emission Reduction CDM – Clean Development Mechanism CNEN – National Nuclear Energy Commission. Brazil TGW –Total Gross Weight UN – United Nations VDC – Voluntary Drop-off Centres WCR – Waste Collection Rate 258 . 1992) SISNAMA –National Environmental System. IDRC GHG – Green-House Gas HDI – Human Development Index HDPE – High Density Polyethylene IADB – Inter-American Development Bank IBAM – Brazilian Institute of Municipal Administration IDRC – International Development Research Centre of Canada IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPE – Individual Protection Equipment ISWM – Integrated Solid Waste Management ISWMP – Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan LAC – Latin America and the Caribbean Region LDPE – Low Density Polyethylene MoU – Memorandum of Understanding NGO – Non-Governmental Organization PAHO – Pan-American Health Organization PET – Polyethylene Terephtalate PVC – Poly Vinyl Chloride Rio 92 – United Nations International Conference on Environment and Development (Rio de Janeiro.

Domestic waste: residential waste and waste from small commercial generators. replicating on a planetary scale an effect similar to the one observable in a greenhouse. Final disposal: the final process applied to solid waste resulting in its ultimate placement. laboratories. clinics. Compensatory measures: measures to compensate communities or social groups for the use of non-renewable environmental resources. Integrated solid waste management plan: a technical planning instrument for activities linked to urban cleaning. Governing plan: a fundamental legally binding policy instrument for the development and organization of the municipal territory aimed at guaranteeing an appropriate social functioning of the city. Healthcare institutions: public and private hospitals. This phenomenon stops heat from the sun leaving the atmosphere and returning to space. which implies a reduced financial income for segregators. Indivisible service: a public service available to all tax-payers that cannot be measured on the basis of the amount used by individual citizens. Greenhouse effect: the absorption by the Earth’s atmosphere of infrared radiation emitted by its surface.GLOSSARY Biogas: combustible gas naturally generated during the organic matter putrefaction process. Environmental impact assessment: a procedure aimed at identifying and interpreting the effects of public or private actions or projects that may cause environmental impacts or alter the quality of life. Intermediary agents: agents involved in the commercialization of recyclable materials in general as intermediaries in sales by segregators to recycling companies. 259 . resulting in increased heat on the Earth’s surface and thus an increase in the average temperature of the planet. or for unavoidable negative environmental impacts. treatment or rehabilitation. Composting: procedures for the transformation of biodegradable organic municipal solid waste into organic compounds. diagnosis. veterinary clinics. medical centres and all other establishments where any level of human or animal healthcare is practiced with a view to prevention. Clean technology: technology that does not produce secondary effects or impact on the environmental balance or natural systems.

Refuse: all waste produced by human activity that is not reused. also called scavenger or waste picker. Organic law: a municipality’s foundational law defining the areas of jurisdiction and responsibility for its executive. commercial or institutional origin. works and added features. Solid waste management: all technical and administrative activity. transport.Leachate: liquid that drains through solid waste. Master plan: a document containing all of the necessary elements for the complete implementation of a project in accordance with relevant technical regulations. Plant: a solid waste processing site including the land. Recycling company: a company specializing in the recycling of material. Urban cleaning service: all activities relating to solid waste management: preparation and storage. recyclable material recovery. healthcare institutions. or from markets. of residential. legislative and judicial branches. Segregator: a person engaged in the separation of recyclable material from refuse. that is related to appropriate solid waste management. Municipal Treasury: the resources of a municipality out of which the municipal budget is financed. contains materials in solution or in suspension and results from the decomposition process plus the infiltration of rainwater. including planning. 260 . street cleaning. treatment and final disposal of solid waste. collection. design and evaluation. Medical waste: all waste generated by healthcare institutions. structures. small industries and the sweeping and cleaning of public spaces. transfer. Refuse dump: a place where waste is indiscriminately dumped in the open air without the application of any sanitary treatment. Municipal waste: solid or semisolid waste generated by activities in population centres.

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