Disclaimer: This is an example of a student written essay.
Click here for sample essays written by our professional writers.

Any scientific information contained within this essay should not be treated as fact, this content is to be used for educational purposes only and may contain factual inaccuracies or be out of date.

Impacts of the Incineration of Municipal Solid Waste

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Studies
Wordcount: 1371 words Published: 18th May 2020

Reference this

Incineration of municipal solid waste


As the growth of population in cities is constantly increasing, it causes the amount of waste generated to rise at a rapid rate as illustrated by figure 1 [1]. If the waste generated is not managed and treated appropriately and safely, it can have significant impacts on the environment and public health.  Municipal solid waste mainly consists waste obtained from households, hospitals, industries, businesses, educational institutions, construction and demolition sites [2]. Clothing, plastic, metals, furniture, paint, batteries and e-waste like old computers are examples of municipal solid waste [3]. Figure 2 shows how the composition of municipal solid waste has changed between 1960 and 2015. Plastic waste has increased by 12.7% and is the largest-scaling pollutant today [4]. Incineration is a waste treatment process used to dispose solid waste.

Figure 1: A graph showing increase of waste generation due to population growth from 2000 to 2030 [5].

Figure 2: A chart representing the composition of municipal solid waste between 1960 and 2015 [4].



The incineration process

An incinerator is a unit or facility used to burn waste material in the presence of oxygen at high temperatures between 750-1100°C [6]. It can also be referred as a thermal treatment. This temperature is used to ensure optimal combustion, complete removal of odours and protection of the walls of the incinerator [7].

Incineration is considered as the best alternative option for disposal of solid waste compared to any other disposal method [8].

An incinerator burns wastage and converts the wastage into ash, flue gas and heat [9]. During the process of incineration, the waste material is oxidised to produce ash and heat along with water vapour, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and oxygen [10]. In addition, other gases such as carbon monoxide, hydrogen chloride, sulphur dioxide and dioxins are also produced depending on the nature of waste and availability of oxygen [11]. At the end of incineration, bottom ash remains as the inorganic constituents of combustion. Incinerators are fitted with electrostatic precipitators to remove particulate matter in the flue gas [12] to reduce air pollution. Electrostatic precipitator is a highly efficient filtration device that is capable removing more than 99% small particles like smoke, mist and fly ash using force of an induced electrostatic attraction [13].  It charges the smoke particles inductively with an electric field causing the particles to become negatively charged. The negatively charged particulates are attracted to positively charged metal plates. The particles are collected by the collecting plates and then removed by a brushing mechanism in a process called rapping [14].






Figure 3: Annotated diagram of how an electrostatic precipitator works [15].



Although waste incineration increases CO2 emissions, even environmentalist agree waste incineration is safer for the environment than waste dumping that has been used for getting rid of garbage so far. **Change some words



[Online]. Available: https://populationmatters.org/sites/defaConserve Energy Futureult/files/waste_in_the_uk_and_the_world.pdf. [Accessed 26 October 2019].


“Conserve Energy Future,” [Online]. Available: https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/sources-effects-methods-of-solid-waste-management.php. [Accessed 26 October 2019].


“ThoughtCo,” [Online]. Available: https://www.thoughtco.com/municipal-waste-and-landfills-overview-1434949. [Accessed 27 October 2019].


“The Conversation,” [Online]. Available: http://theconversation.com/is-burning-trash-a-good-way-to-handle-it-waste-incineration-in-5-charts-118665. [Accessed 27 October 2019].


“Research Gate,” [Online]. Available: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Population-growth-Vs-estimated-Waste-generation-rate-in-the-study-area_fig4_333797308. [Accessed 27 October 2019].


J. Petrlík, “English.arnika.org,” [Online]. Available: https://english.arnika.org/ipen-cee/waste-incinerators-accidents. [Accessed 27 October 2019].


“Air Clean s.r.l.,” [Online]. Available: https://aircleansrl.com/en/applicazioniDettaglio/271/odor_removal_in_the_municipal_solid_wastes_incineration_arrival_pits_using_activated_carbon_systems.html. [Accessed 27 October 2019].


P. Brown, “The Guardian,” 7 May 2004. [Online]. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2004/may/07/sciencenews.greenpolitics. [Accessed 27 October 2019].


P. G. Nidoni, “INCINERATION PROCESS FOR SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT AND EFFECTIVE UTILIZATION OF BY PRODUCTS,” International Research Journal of Engineering and Technology (IRJET) , vol. 4, no. 12, pp. 378-382, 2017.


” Randd.defra.gov.uk,” [Online]. Available: http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Document.aspx?Document=11561_PS2808Incineration.pdf. [Accessed 27 October 2019].


“Eea.europa.eu,” [Online]. Available: https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/EMEPCORINAIR/group09.pdf. [Accessed 27 October 2019].


R. L. Bump, “The Use of Electrostatic Precipitators on Municipal Incinerators,” Journal of the Air Pollution Control Association, vol. 18, no. 12, pp. 803-809, 1968.


“Energyeducation.ca,” [Online]. Available: https://energyeducation.ca/encyclopedia/Electrostatic_precipitator. [Accessed 27 October 2019].


C. Woodford, “Explain that Stuff,” [Online]. Available: https://www.explainthatstuff.com/electrostaticsmokeprecipitators.html. [Accessed 27 October 2019].


“Pinterest,” [Online]. Available: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/387028161697130543/. [Accessed 27 October 2019].


T. Taner, 9 May 2018. [Online]. Available: https://www.intechopen.com/books/proton-exchange-membrane-fuel-cell/introductory-chapter-an-overview-of-pem-fuel-cell-technology. [Accessed 5 July 2019].


Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

DMCA / Removal Request

If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have your work published on UKEssays.com then please: