The recovery of valuable constituents from currently discarded waste materials is part of the Bureau of Mines efforts to develop technology for conserving the nation's mineral supply by increasing recycling of metals and minerals. An essential part of the research for total resource recovery from municipal solid waste (MSW) is the evaluation of the combustible fraction as a possible fuel supplement. The prospect of trace metal emissions to the atmosphere from the combustion of total MSW in municipal incinerators has raised some resistance to the use of even the combustible fraction as an alternate fuel supply. If the total MSW is burned, as in municipal incinerators, the emitted metals may come from one or both of the two major components of MSW--the combustible fraction (paper, cardboards, plastics, fabrics, etc.) and/or the noncombustible fraction (ferrous metals, nonferrous metals, glass, ceramics, etc.). The purpose of this Bureau of Mines study was to determine if separation of the combustibles from the total MSW will result in lower concentrations in the fuel supplement of elements that are objectionable from environmental considerations. Available data from municipal incinerator studies and from analyses of the combustible fractions of MSW, although not originally intended for source identification, are used to identify elements and sources.
Proc. 6th Miner. Waste Util. Symp., Chicago, Illinois, May 2-3, 1978, PP. 164-169