Solid waste is a key part of a potential IRM system.
Historically solid waste has been largely handled by
landfills but these generate considerable amounts of leachate
pollution and are one of the largest contributors to many
communities' GHG emissions. Efforts are thus being made to
reduce or eliminate them altogether.
Solid waste can be processed to capture and generate heat and
power, but can also generate fertilizers, chemicals and
bio-fuels, amongst other things. Liquid waste biosolids can also
be processed to produce the same range of energy. This means
that solid waste can, if managed carefully, generate benefits.
An international engineering group studied solid waste
management options for three communities and concluded the best
option would cost $119m. We reviewed the recommended system and
found that if optimized using IRM, the systems could be
structured differently with taxpayer benefits of +/-$340m, with considerably better ecological and
We also reviewed the proposed organics recycling plan. The
proposed system will result in 63% reuse and recycling. An IRM
approach and optimised system would be capable of reusing and
recycling up to 97% with reduced costs and risks (see also the
recycling and technologies