Technology research, development and diffusion
In general, the waste sector is characterized by mature technologies that require further diffusion in developing countries. Advances under development include:
- Landfilling: Implementation of optimized gas collection systems at an early stage of landfill development to increase long-term gas collection efficiency. Optimization of landfill biodegradation (bioreactors) to provide greater process control and shorter waste degradation lifetimes. Construction of landfill ‘biocovers’ that optimize microbial oxidation of CH4 and NMVOCs to minimize emissions.
- Biological processes: For developing countries, lower-technology, affordable sustainable composting and anaerobic digestion strategies for source-separated biodegradable waste.
- Thermal processes: Advanced waste-to-energy technologies that can provide higher thermal and electrical efficiencies than current incinerators (10–20% net electrical efficiency). Increased implementation of industrial co-combustion using feedstocks from various waste fractions to offset fossil fuels. Gasification and pyrolysis of source-separated waste fractions in combination with improved, lower-cost separation technologies for production of fuels and feedstocks.
- Recycling, re-use, waste minimization, pre-treatment (impro-ved mechanical-biological treatment processes) Innovations in recycling technology and process improvements resulting in decreased use of virgin materials, energy conservation, and fossil fuel offsets. Development of innovative but low-technology recycling solutions for developing countries.
- Wastewater: New low-technology ecological designs for improved sanitation at the household and small community level, which can be implemented sustainably for efficient small-scale wastewater treatment and water conservation in both developed and developing countries (high agreement, limited evidence) [10.5; 10.6].