M.S. Thesis: Materials and Energy Recovery from the Dry Stream of New York City’s Municipal Solid Waste

By Mark H. Brady

Advisors: Profs. Nickolas J. Themelis and A.C. (Thanos) Bourtsalas

Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering
Fu Foundation School of Engineering & Applied Science
Columbia University

March 2000

This study advocates a new system for New York City’s waste. Separation of organics by the citizen would allow for aerobic or anaerobic digestion to produce a compost product. The rest of the waste would be sent to modem material recovery facilities to recover recyclables. These modern designs would most likely lead to higher recovery percentages than the present methods and would allow for the combustible residue left after this recovery to be processed into a fuel. The fuel could then be used in a dedicated waste to energy facility or as a co-fuel in a coal-fired power plant. It could even be combined with shredded tires before energy recovery. This plan would leave a manageable amount that must be sent to a landfill. New York City has the two-headed problem of high levels of waste and low levels of land for disposal that make developing a waste management plan difficult. Therefore, it must fully embrace the ideas of integrated waste management if it is to develop a sustainable plan for dealing with its waste. This study is a step in that direction.

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