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Available online at www.sciencedirect.com Waste Management 28 (2008) 776–794 www.elsevier.com/locate/wasman Municipal

Available online at www.sciencedirect.com

Available online at www.sciencedirect.com Waste Management 28 (2008) 776–794 www.elsevier.com/locate/wasman Municipal
Available online at www.sciencedirect.com Waste Management 28 (2008) 776–794 www.elsevier.com/locate/wasman Municipal

Waste Management 28 (2008) 776–794

www.elsevier.com/locate/wasman

Municipal solid waste characterizations and management strategies for the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas

Ni-Bin Chang a, * , Eric Davila b

a Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, USA b Llano Grande Center for Research and Development, Elsa, TX, USA

Accepted 10 April 2007 Available online 5 June 2007

Abstract

The Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV or Valley) in Texas, facing the big waste management challenge along the US–Mexico border today, is at the crossroads as a result of the rapid population growth, the scarcity of landfill space, the bi-nation’s trade impacts, and the illusive goal of environmental sustainability. This paper offers a unique municipal solid waste investigation with regard to both physical and chemical characteristics leading to illuminate the necessary management policies with greater regional relevancy. With multiple sam- pling campaigns conducted during the spring of 2005, this study holistically summarizes the composition of solid waste, the statistical distribution patterns of key recyclable items, and the heating value in an uncertain environment. Research findings indicate that high fractions of plastics and paper in the waste stream imply a strong potential for energy recovery. Incineration options are thus bolstered by mildly high heating values across 10 cities in this region, which may lead to save land resources required for final disposal and increase electricity generation in the long run. Additional regression analyses further identify the correlation between recyclable items and heating value, which show that current recycling programs permit no obvious negative impacts on the incineration option. Final statistical hypothesis tests for both the Brownsville–Harlingen–San Benito and the McAllen–Edinburg–Mission metropolitan regions help foster consistent management strategies across the Valley regardless of the trivial differences of waste characteristics in between. 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction

An integrated solid waste management system normally requires many management options. They may include source reduction, curbside recycling, material recovery, waste-to-energy (WTE), landfilling, and composting. A reliable waste characteristics database may provide an all- inclusive resource for comprehensive and informative eval- uation of management options in all waste management programs. It may aid in the quantification of pollution pre- vention impacts on one hand and support the planning and design of waste management facilities, such as composting and incineration plants, on the other hand. If organic mate- rials make up the bulk of the local municipal solid waste

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 407 754 7521. E-mail address: nchang@mail.ucf.edu (N.-B. Chang).

0956-053X/$ - see front matter 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/j.wasman.2007.04.002

(MSW) stream, composting facilities would be favored. However, high fractions of plastics and paper in the waste stream could indicate that choosing the incineration option may be bolstered by mildly high heating values. Such judg- ment may not only provide important advice about strate- gic choices for local waste management decision makers but also help examine the management strategies and pol- icies at federal, state, and local levels for MSW manage- ment. It also enables private sectors to reach a large, multifaceted, solid waste management (SWM) market cre- ating both operational value for the end-users and share- holder value for communities. Such demand facilitates a sustained value for waste characterization efforts. Gay et al. (1993) indicated that the results of such MSW characterization studies for metropolitan regions have large standard errors, and individual results often fall within the error bounds of reported national average val-

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ues. Yet the waste characteristics in association with local dynamics are often blurred by national and state averages in such a way that SWM solutions are difficult to tailor to actual community needs. As a consequence, the promotion of physical and chemical characterization of the MSW stream becomes one of the highest priorities in the waste management regulatory regime ( US EPA, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2002 ). Research linking local waste characteristics with reuse, recycling, and recovery potential focuses on both raw MSW ( Savage et al., 1985; Ojeda-Benitez et al., 2003; Kathirvale et al., 2003; Gidarakos, in press; Garcı´a et al., 2005; Lau et al., 2005 ) and its byproducts, such as synthesized fuel and energy ( Chang et al., 1998; Thipse et al., 2002; Sørum et al., 2001; Frey et al., 2003; Islam et al., 2004; Lo Mastro and Mistretta, 2004; Ruppert et al., 2004 ), incineration ash ( Iba´ n˜ ez et al., 2000; Forteza et al., 2004; Li et al., 2004 ), and compost (Hervas et al., 1989; Senesi et al., 1992; Villar et al., 1993; Schwab et al., 1994; Pascual et al., 1997; Hassen et al., 2001 ). Even the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for protecting human health and the environment from the potential haz- ards of waste reuse, recycling, recovery, treatment, and dis- posal needs the support of a waste characterization database ( Pascual et al., 1997; Iba´ n˜ ez et al., 2000; Forteza et al., 2004 ). Such a database is also supportive in advanced studies for systems analysis, which are designed to explore and screen deliberate interactions among countless man- agement alternatives in many integrated SWM systems ( Baetz et al., 1989; Chang and Wang, 1996; Chang and Chang, 1998, 2001, 2003; Huang et al., 2001 ). The Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV or Valley) in Texas, facing the big waste management challenge along the US–Mexico border today, is at the crossroads as a result of the rapid population growth, the scarcity of land- fill space, the bi-nation’s trade impacts, and the illusive goal of environmental sustainability. Decision makers in the Valley are considering management alternatives for the final waste disposal, which requires an understanding of the make-up of the MSW stream. Successful decision- making is inherently subject to risks and uncertainties. Waste characteristics can help capture much-needed trends in treatment and disposal based on material and energy recovery potentials. The aim of this study is thus to per- form a thorough waste characterization study in the Val- ley. The tests included in this study cover physical composition, ultimate, and thermal analyses across 10 major cities. The study also generates short-term and long-term management strategies with respect to the waste characteristics with greater regional relevancy of two metropolitan regions, including the Brownsville–Harlin- gen–San Benito and the McAllen–Edinburg–Mission regions. Based on current expectations and assumptions, the database created for the Valley may be applied for gen- erating cost-effective, forward-looking, and risk-informed waste management strategies leading to the solution of pressing SWM concerns along the US–Mexico border in the long run.

2. Background

2.1. Overview of the study area

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that was enacted in 1994 has increased trade throughout America. The Lower Rio Grande Valley is located in the southernmost tip of Texas along the US–Mexico border. It includes Cameron, Hidalgo, and Willacy Counties. Under the NAFTA impact, the Valley, with a total area of 9216 km 2 (3600 mi 2 ), has emerged as a warehouse and transportation center between Central America and the US ( TSHA, 2003 ). The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) ranks Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) according to their population and economic growth. Cam- eron County, at the tip of Texas, comprises 3266 km 2 (1276 mi 2 ) and includes the 28th MSA, Brownsville–Har- lingen–San Benito (MSA1 hereafter in this paper). Hidalgo County, the largest of the three Valley counties, covers the western half of the region with an area of 3963 km 2 (1548 mi 2 ). This county is mostly urbanized, containing the McAllen–Edinburg–Mission MSA, the 4th fastest growing area in Texas (MSA2 hereafter in this paper). Both of the Valley’s MSAs are experiencing a developmen- tal change due to their strategic location and economic ties with the US–Mexico borderland. However, with much less population, Willacy County shares emphasis in waste man- agement regime by providing some candidate sites for waste treatment and disposal. Increasing numbers of ‘‘maquiladoras’’ (twin plants), having manufacturing industries both in the MSAs of the Valley and in nearby Reynosa and Matamoros, Mexico, are positively influencing the economic development in the region. This has been a catalyst for further growth in other Valley cities located in between these two MSAs. The area’s population has increased by 39.8% in the last 10 years due to the economic impact of NAFTA. It is expected to continue growing at an estimated rate of 4% per yr in the coming years. The population is projected to be over 1.7 million people in 2022 ( TCEQ, 2002; LRGVDC, 2002 ). Consequently, solid waste generation, including domestic waste, yard waste, food waste, and biosolids, is increasing over time. Fig. 1 indicates the study area, along with the waste disposal sites. At present, land- fills satisfy almost all waste disposal needs, handling about 410,000 tons per year of waste for 16 major cities ( Davila et al., 2005 ). In addition to a few permitted landfills, the Lower Rio Grande Development Council (LRGVDC) has also inventoried closed and unauthorized landfills within the three-county area as part of a contract with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) (LRGVDC, 2006 ). Yet there have been some small-scale composting and recycling programs in the Valley. Within the MSA1, Brownsville’s composting operation is the only full-scale municipal composting operation in the Valley. It aims at minimizing waste that needs to be sent to the City’s active landfill area, thereby preserving

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Chang, E. Davila / Waste Management 28 (2008) 776–794 Fig. 1. LRGV study area. landfill space

Fig. 1. LRGV study area.

landfill space and extending the life of the landfill in com- pliance with the Regional Solid Waste Management Plan, while producing high quality compost, mulch, and wood chips as viable end products. Established in 1995, the com- posting program, located at the Brownsville Municipal Landfill, began as a way to divert the large amount of brush entering the landfill due to Brownsville’s year-round growing season. During its first year of operation, approx- imately 5000 tons of brush were diverted. In 2005, over 20,000 tons of brush and compostable materials have been diverted. This increase in waste diversion is due in large part to citywide clean brush pick-ups by the local residen- tial waste hauler, BFI. In addition to municipally collected brush, the composting facility receives animal manure from the Gladys Porter Zoo and fish packaging remains from local fish processing companies. The City of Brownsville currently sells compost and mulch at the landfill. The com-

post, Tierra del Cielo, is available at a bulk rate of US$45 per ton, Mulch produced by this plant can be purchased at a bulk rate of US$25 per ton in the Valley (Brownsville,

2006 ).

The city of Harlingen has both a transfer station and a recycling center. The Public Works Department in Harlin- gen is responsible for the operation of the city’s solid waste

disposal system and recycling center. All refuse generated in the city and surrounding communities is disposed of at the Transfer Station facility in compliance with the rules and regulations of the TCEQ. Solid waste streams deliv- ered to the Harlingen Transfer Station are routinely loaded into large aluminum transfer trailers and transported to a landfill in Donna. In addition, Harlingen has a volunteer recycling program. The recycling center is constantly open to the public to expand and implements programs that help divert the solid waste stream away from the landfill/trans- fer station to improve the quality of life (Harlingen, 2006 ). Recyclables that citizens drop off include newspaper, office

paper, white paper, cardboard, steel, plastics, used engine oil, car batteries, household batteries, etc. The current prices of recyclables in the secondary material market are US$90/ton for newspaper, US$85/ton for office paper, and US$75/ton for cardboard ( Nading, 2006 ). Besides, there are several small-scale recycling activities in the Valley. McAllen has a mandated curbside recycling program using 246 l (65-gal) containers for recyclables pickup from households. Yet it was found that 65% of the pickup is trash rather than recyclables. Brownsville has set up several drop-off sites having similar operation as McAllen. La Feria has two trailers for newspaper recy- cling in local communities. Edinburgh and Weslaco have new recycling centers in place in 2005 ( Nading, 2006 ). All of the cities involving recycling programs look for markets to sell recyclable materials; but the chance of success is slim except for recycled papers. Recyclers normally have to ship recyclables to Houston or somewhere else geographically far away from the Valley, for selling. Synonymous with the economic development in the Val- ley is an alarming rise in the solid waste generation that leaves the area with only 12 more years of landfill life (LRGVDC, 2002; Pierson, 2004 ). Most waste management issues stem from the difficulty in selecting new landfill sites. As the population explosion drains the existing landfill space available in the region, and with the introduction of Subtitle D regulations in the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), landfill facilities have become costly to construct. With receding landfill space and limited agents capable of meeting the SWM demands, public and private landfills compete for municipal clients to ensure capital to extend landfill life or apply for new permits. On the other hand, some city officials would like to con- sider recycling options if waste composition can be investi- gated and a secondary material market can be fostered. Some private sectors were trying to bring in other options,

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such as incineration with or without prior processing through material recovery facilities (MRFs). As the avail- able landfill space in the Valley becomes a limited commod- ity, future management strategies must be configured with respect to a complete compilation of waste characterization data in order to stay ahead of the issues ( US EPA, 1995 ).

2.2. The needs for waste characterization and policy analysis in the Valley

In 1997, 217 million tons of MSW were generated in the US, or 2 kg (4.4 lb) kg/cap-day. Paper and yard trimmings account for over 51% of total generation. Of the total of 217 million tons of MSW generated, 28% was recycled (including composting), 55% was landfilled, and 17% was incinerated (US EPA, 1999 ). However, a recent study sheds light on the differences in MSW composition among states and regions in the US. It shows 28% was recycled, 58% was landfilled, and 14% was incinerated in the New England region; 27% was recycled, 39% was landfilled, and 34% was incinerated in the Mid-Atlantic region; 19% was recy- cled, 69% was landfilled, and 12% was incinerated in the South region; 27% was recycled, 68% was landfilled, and 5% was incinerated in the Great Lakes region; 25% was recycled, 75% was landfilled, and 1% was incinerated in the Midwest region; 9% was recycled, 90% was landfilled, and 1% was incinerated in the Rocky Mountain region; and 38% was recycled, 59% was landfilled, and 3% was incinerated in the West region ( Kaufman et al., 2004 ). Still, the overwhelming majority of cities lean towards landfilling MSW in lieu of incineration, composting, and recycling at present in the United States. So does the Valley in Texas. In any circumstance, these statistics, revealing a heteroge- neous mixture of waste disposal options over the regions, reflect the actual needs for a local waste characterization study. Overall, the bottleneck in preliminary planning is a lack of clarity about the MSW underpinnings in the Valley. While the US government and the State of Texas publish their own MSW characterization data (see Figs. 2 and 3 ), differences in socio-economics, geographic location, and population growth in the Valley compared to the rest of the State make the Valley a prime location to study MSW characteristics ( US EPA, 1994, 2002; TNRCC, 2000; LRGVDC, 2002 ). Thus, the primary impetus for the solid waste characterization comes from a lack of local data to provide public decision makers with the best infor- mation on waste management options ( Pierson, 2004 ). The need to build a regional waste characterization database becomes desirable. Without a database outlining important engineering parameters, such as the physical composition, moisture content, and the heating value of the solid waste, it will take longer to initiate engineering alternatives before the planning and design processes can be performed. To address these regional concerns, the major questions in decision-making to be answered in this study include: (1) would the heating values of MSW be high enough in this

Textiles, 7%

Glass, 6%

Other, 3%

MSW be high enough in this Textiles, 7% Glass, 6% Other, 3% Yard, 12% Plastic, 11%

Yard, 12%

Plastic, 11%

Wood, 6%

Food, 11%

Metal, 8%

Paper, 37%

Fig. 2. US EPA estimated components in the US MSW stream by weight

(2002).

Other, 11%

Glass, 5%

stream by weight (2002). Other, 11% G l a s s , 5 % Yard, 20%

Yard, 20%

Plastic, 8%

Wood, 6%

Food, 9%

Metal, 5%

Paper, 36%

Fig. 3. TCEQ estimated components in the Texas (USA) MSW stream by weight (2000).

region to sustain a WTE program? (2) would the heating values of MSW be affected by concurrent recycling pro- grams region wide? and (3) would it be necessary to distin- guish management strategies between MSA1 and MSA2? The following sections are thus prepared to answer these questions.

3. Materials and methods

This study employs a three-stage analysis to achieve the study goal. The first-stage analysis involves physically sort- ing and classifying the heterogeneous mixture of solid waste samples collected from 10 cities in the Valley separately and summarizing the physical composition across the region. The second-stage analysis entails ultimate and thermal analyses for the same 10 cities using a certified laboratory in Texas. Two samples were collected and analyzed in each city in both stages to address the uncertainty across the Val- ley. Hence, the total sample size was 20. All analyses follow through ASTM and US EPA methods. To achieve the study goal, this study fully investigated high and low heating val-

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ues (HHV and LHV); eight parameters in physical compo- sition analysis; and six elements, including carbon, hydro- gen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, and chlorine, in ultimate analysis for waste characterization across 10 cities in the Valley. While a physical composition analysis may help sort through the larger-level questions related to material recov- ery potential, an ultimate analysis connected with the phys- ical composition analysis may focus on relating the energy content to physical composition in the MSW stream. Mak- ing such connections can help system designers to correlate reliable material flows to separate treatment processes that are sensitive to composition, moisture, and energy content. It also may help examine possible recycling impacts on treatment options, such as incineration. In the end, the third-stage analysis has to connect the important heating values to physical components and the chemical profile of the MSW stream for advanced engineering analyses. To achieve this goal, a series of rigorous statistical analyses were performed. While physical composition might suffice for certain concerns of MSW recycling, the ultimate and thermal analyses can yield important parameter values for planning waste-to-energy facilities. The statistical analyses in the third-stage magnify such accomplishment. With multiple sampling campaigns conducted during the spring of 2005, the percentage values of solid waste compo- sition collected, the statistical distribution patterns of key recyclable items (e.g., recyclables) identified, and the heat- ing value analyzed may provide operational expectations. Of course, when two samples are included in the analysis, another factor was involved (error in sampling). But the stratified random sampling scheme as required by the ASTM would help avoid this type of error. The interval val- ues based on samples collected across 10 cities in the Valley therefore highlight the variations of main components and heating values in an uncertain environment, which lie in making more flexible connections between the waste char- acterization and waste management strategies for the region. They are described sequentially as below.

3.1. Field survey: MSW physical composition analysis

The cities selected for the analysis in the LRGV region should exhibit a diverse background of the area’s popula- tion, economic growth, and geographic location. In the LRGV, Hidalgo County houses the largest population, but Cameron County is equally important to SWM as it holds the largest city, Brownsville. After an initial screening with respect to the demographic data, 10 out of 46 cities selected for this study include Alamo, Brownsville, Edin- burg, Harlingen, McAllen, Mission, Pharr, San Benito, San Juan, and Weslaco. San Juan, Pharr, Alamo, Weslaco are major cities scattered in between these two MSAs. Because of their population, they stand out of the 46 cities in the pool. Table 1 shows the locale and the 2000 US Cen- sus population estimates to give an idea of the sampling conditions encountered by the sampling team. The MSW characterization in the LRGV region was performed at sev-

Table 1 Ten cities within the study area selected for physical and chemical composition of their MSW

City

County

Population a

Site Type b

Destination

Alamo

Hidalgo

14,760

WWTP

BFI LF

Brownsville

Cameron

139,722

LF

Brownsville LF

Edinburg

Hidalgo

48,465

LF

Edinburg LF

Harlingen

Cameron

57,564

TS

BFI LF

McAllen

Hidalgo

106,414

LF

Edinburg LF

Mission

Hidalgo

45,408

LF

Edinburg LF

Pharr

Hidalgo

46,660

LF

Edinburg LF

San Benito

Cameron

23,444

WWTP

BFI LF

San Juan

Hidalgo

26,229

LF

Edinburg LF

Weslaco

Hidalgo

26,935

REC

BFI LF

a US Census, 2005.

b Site type: WWTP-wastewater treatment plant, LF-landfill, TS-transfer station, REC-recycling center.

eral spots where they would allow the vehicles to download the mixed waste streams being collected in the different tar- get cities for analysis. In summary, the sites for processing the physical composition analysis are located at the Edin- burg and Brownsville landfills, the backyard of wastewater treatment plants in San Benito and Alamo, the open site of the recycling center in Harlingen, and the front gate of the Harlingen transfer station. Within the sampling campaign, the garbage trucks were selected from all routes in each of the 10 cities and directed to drop their loads at the designated sorting sites. Coordina- tion with various public works directors over the sampling schedule was a crucial step in providing readily available samples. This assured that the incoming waste originates from randomly selected residential/commercial trucks because waste from only commercial trucks may lead to a disproportionate amount of food and paper. In other words, sampling from commercial/residential trucks helped give the most representative cut of the heterogeneous mix- ture without a bias to commercial sources if only commer- cial trucks were examined. The effect of seasonality is not deemed influential on solid waste characterization in this subtropical region because the annual precipitation is nor- mally smaller than the evaporation in LRGV. One should not expect that there are some points during the year rainier or cooler than others resulting in higher moisture content or less yard waste in waste streams. In general, sampling peri- ods close to holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas were avoided because packaging waste might be higher than normal in those times, and thus not be representative. All baseline characterizations were performed according to the ASTM 5231-92 Standard Test Method for Determi- nation of the Composition of Unprocessed Municipal Solid Waste ( ASTM, 2003 ). While conducting the macro-scale characterization at these sampling sites, a 20 by 9.1 m (30 ft), 6 mil plastic sheet was placed in an area close to the working face of the landfill, or, otherwise, the most con- venient places on site. The working face is the open end of a landfill cell where dump trucks discard their loads and top- soil is applied throughout the day. Through the use of a

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781

front-loader, public works employees moved about 450 kg

for sulfur analysis. Oxygen content can then be determined

of

MSW onto the 6 mil plastic sheet. Ripping and opening

using an indirect calculation with respect to the other

of

the plastic bags and containers ensued with Exacto kni-

chemical elements. High heating value is determined from

ves, and mixing was achieved with shovels and rakes. Then the large sample was quartered so that approximately one-

a bomb calorimeter test (ASTM D240), moisture content ASTM D2216 M, and ash content ASTM E830.

fifth of the sample (91–136 kg, 200–300 lb) was left to form

a representative sample. Finally, manual sorting of the

waste was done according to ASTM categories, and differ- ent types of samples were placed into properly labeled 19 l (5-gal) buckets. Minor modifications were made to the stan- dard categories (i.e., ASTM is flexible in this regard) to include clothing and foam since they were present in a sig-

nificant fraction by weight (clothing) or occurrence (foam). The ensuing sampling process was basically set up to exert great care in weighing the sample, including that the sam- ples were weighed out of the wind and waiting until the Ohaus scale stabilized the quantity. A field log was made for every sample. However, the ASTM classification, which

is internationally acceptable, is not fully equivalent to the

method US EPA used to apply previously ( US EPA, 2002 ). For example, the US EPA study is based on a mate- rials flow methodology rather than the sample and sort methodology applied in this study (Kaufman et al., 2004 ). In addition, the US EPA study has a separate category for yard waste alone while the present study includes dia- pers and other organics in a combined organic category reflecting the unique situation in the Valley.

3.2. Laboratory work: MSW ultimate analysis

After 450 kg of waste was sampled, the sample for the ultimate and heating value analyses was taken at the same time as the sample for the composition analysis. About 1 kg of representative MSW was removed for ultimate analysis according to the physical composition without any bias. The laboratory analyses were performed only on certain combustible material categories (e.g., the mate-

rials that could be size reduced to the sizes required for lab- oratory analyses) rather than the entire mixture of materials of each sample. In other words, non-combustible components were removed from the collected sample of waste prior to grinding. The chemical inventory was per- formed by the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, Texas. The samples collected for ultimate analysis were held in sealable air-tight paint buckets, main- tained in a freezer at 20 C, and then transported on ice to maintain similar conditions until they reached the SwRI in San Antonio, Texas. Then the lab was in charge of per- forming moisture content, as well measuring the content of carbon, chlorine, sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, and heating value. The samples were dried while conduct- ing the moisture content test, and then they were ground

to a fine particle size so that ultimate and thermal analyses

could be performed. The study follows the methods of ASTM D5291 for carbon analysis, US EPA 351.2M for

nitrogen analysis, ASTM D5291 for hydrogen analysis, US EPA 300M for chlorine analysis, and ASTM D5291

3.3. Statistical analyses

Probability distribution of the waste composition per- centage is important to recycling programs. It reflects the distribution of waste components in an uncertain environ- ment. Twenty samples collected for addressing the uncer- tainty would be available in LRGV for the identification of the probability distribution associated with each waste component of concern. While paper and plastic fractions are two components connected to waste recycling, the organic fraction is connected to composting. At this stage, exploring whether the waste components may display a normal or other distributions, such as lognormal distribu- tion, using a goodness-of-fit test would become necessary. Within the goodness-of-fit test for continuous distribution, many test statistics, such as v 2 , can be used for statistical inference (Devore, 1995 ). In statistics, based on the empir- ical distribution function (ECDF), the Kolmogorov–Smir- nov goodness-of-fit test (often called K–S test) is often used to determine whether two underlying probability distribu- tions differ, or whether an underlying probability distribu- tion differs from a hypothesized distribution, based on finite samples. The K–S test has the advantage of making no assumption about the distribution of data (i.e., it is non-parametric and distribution free). The K–S test there- fore was conducted to determine if one can reject the null hypothesis that there is no relationship between the ideal- ized probability distribution and the assumed probability distribution (Boes et al., 1974 ). This study particularly reports if the data seem normal or lognormal for waste components of concern. To access the impact of recycling on incineration, a mul- tiple linear regression (MLR) model, which relates the heating value (response variable) to essential waste compo- nents (regressor variables), is required. Coefficient of deter- mination ( R 2 ) is a much-used measure of the fit of the regression, which was employed in this study. Yet the basic assumption made in a simple linear regression model is revolved around the nature of the regressor variable, which is deemed as a fixed value (non-random) ( Myers, 1990 ). In this study, it is noteworthy that all repressor variables (waste components) should also be random variables. The identification of probability density function (PDF) with respect to waste components involved in regression practice would be supportive for model formulation and calibration. If repressors are random variables, the least squares procedure under the condition that errors are Gaussian can no longer hold. Thus, the maximum likeli- hood estimator should be applied (Roussas, 1973 ). An important unified approach to linear models, in which the emphasis placed on a general family of error distribu-

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tions for fitting linear regression model, is the generalized linear model (GLM) (Nelder and Wedderburn, 1972 ). It

is known that the maximum likelihood estimator is one

of the well known estimators in the GLM regime. Finally, the waste component averages for MSA1 and

MSA2 might appear quite different in many cases. Are these differences statistically significant? If they are, is there

a policy implication with respect to different choices of

waste management strategies for the two MSAs? This con- sideration necessitates the conduct of a statistical inference test associated with waste components of concern leading to identification of a difference in means between MSA1 and MSA2 statistically.

4. Physical and chemical data analysis

Physical and chemical data can be analyzed to acquire the physical make-up and the chemical content of the MSW stream sequentially, providing important informa- tion for both the planning and the design of solid waste management systems. The field work in the first stage, con- ducted via multiple sampling campaigns during the spring of 2005, helped amass the physical characterization data. The ensuing laboratory analysis in the second stage com- pleted the chemical and thermal analyses. Data obtained and insights gained are described as below.

4.1. Physical characteristics and composition

Table 2 displays average values and other descriptive sta- tistics for the physical characterization. The eight major cat- egories, including paper, plastic, glass, metal, food, wood, textile, and organics, were deemed sufficient to describe the majority of the waste materials in the stream. It also shows that some waste categories can be classified into sub-categories for the purpose of applications. This implies that, for example, breaking down plastics by type into those that have a market for recycling and those that do not may gain further insight in source reduction and recycling pro- grams. This would apply also to glass. In Table 2 , ‘‘avg’’ stands for the average value of a specific label. The standard deviation (stdev) represents variation in the values of a var- iable, whereas the standard error of the mean (SEM) repre- sents the spread that the mean of a sample of the values would have if one kept taking samples. So the ‘‘SEM’’ gives us an idea of the accuracy of the mean, and the ‘‘stdev’’ gives us an idea of the variability of single observations. The two are related: SEM = stdev/(square root of sample

size); ‘‘ n ’’ is the sample size associated with each category

or component. Descriptive statistics, such as t -test statistics, may help show the 95% confidence interval of the incidence

of a particular waste component in the stream as shown in

Table 2 . The column containing [–, +] represents the 95% confidence interval that is comprised of both lower and upper bounds of each corresponding component. Inert materials like glass and metals occur over a small interval across the physically sorted samples. Ferrous cans

and other ferrous material (e.g., discarded appliances) pre- vail in the metal category. Textiles, on the other hand, form

a wide range of interval numbers indicative of the uncer-

tainties. It can be further evidenced that certain samples contained significant amounts of textiles in some instances,

while it was scant in others. Plastic, paper, and food account for a substantial portion of the MSW in the Valley. Mixed paper ranged from moist food containers to shredded unclassifiable tidbits, while other plastics accounted for wet containers that had no material designation like HDPE or PET. Organic material accounts for about 20% of the waste stream composition, on average, and is comprised of brush and grass clippings, diapers, and other miscella- neous items. A surprising amount of brush was found after

a few of the characterizations. This was an unexpected find-

ing since brush collection should occur at the municipal level or through a private collector, but the data points stand out abruptly showing an excess amount of brush due to the year-round growing season and/or lack of brush pickup. In general, municipal SWM programs typically support roll-off trucks rather than conventional residen- tial/commercial garbage trucks for picking up yard waste. Also, diapers were included in the organic category as opposed to foam since the standard method allows for the material to be classified according to the majority weight. Figs. 2 and 3 recall national and state averages of phys- ical composition of waste streams on a wet basis, respec- tively. Fig. 4 showcases how the component percentage

intervals shift in comparison to national and state averages. The areas within a pie chart indicate their relative contribu- tion to a specific category such as glass, plastic, paper, and metals on average. Each waste category in Fig. 4 is further split into its components (sub-categories) on a wet basis to provide a more indepth insight of recycling potential. The relative percentages of all categories are further expressed as interval numbers based on upper and lower bounds of all MSW samples collectively. The LRGV interval value for paper, for instance, is [20.4, 40.2]%. When comparing and evaluating the Texas waste composition percentages in Fig. 3 with the LRGV percentages in Fig. 4 , all of the percentages of the state average, except plastics, fall within the confidence intervals associated with the matching waste categories in the LRGV. The higher plastic content permits both the recycling potential and incineration option such that the trade-off in between needs to be examined further.

It can be summarized that the average values of waste com-

position percentages in the Valley have quite a different waste profile when compared with those in the national and state-by-state estimates even though the interval values in the Valley encompass both national and state averages. Furthermore, the organics category in Table 2 , which unfortunately did not have its own exclusive category from the onset, except yard waste, is not comparable with the other national, state, and local values. Yard waste seemed to make a significant contribution to the organics category for the Valley, indicating inadequate brush collection at the municipal level. As a result, the percentage interval of the

 

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783

Table 2 Summary statistics for the physical MSW characterization (%) except n (Unitless)

 

Component

Lower Rio Grande Valley area

 

MSA2 b

MSA1 a

Average

Standard deviation

n

SEM

t-Stat

[–, +]

Average

Average

Glass

7.7

4

11.3

8.85

4.82

Clear

2.4

2.2

16

0.6

2.13

1.2

3.6

2.79

0.93

Brown

4.2

3.8

17

0.9

2.12

2.3

6.1

4.86

2.89

Green

1.1

0.5

6

0.2

2.57

0.5

1.6

1.20

1.00

Plastic

19.3

13.2

25.3

20.87

16.6

HDPE

3.7

1.6

20

0.4

2.09

2.3

3.9

4.00

1.85

PET

3.1

3.4

19

0.8

2.10

2.0

5.3

3.43

5.35

Foam

2.4

2.5

20

0.6

2.09

1.2

3.6

1.72

1.59

Other

10.1

5.0

20

1.1

2.09

7.7

12.5

11.72

7.81

Paper

30.3

20.4

40.1

25.8

29.87

Mixed paper

12.7

5.0

20

1.1

2.09

10.4

15.0

13.31

10.08

Computer print

2.2

1.7

9

0.6

2.31

0.9

3.5

0.93

1.23

Office paper

2.5

1.9

7

0.7

2.45

0.7

4.2

0.40

0.97

Newsprint

4.9

3.3

20

0.7

2.09

3.4

6.5

5.95

5.40

Corrugated

8.0

6.3

20

1.4

2.09

5.0

10.9

5.21

12.19

Metal

7.5

3.8

11.2

11.52

6.61

Ferrous cans

2.0

1.3

20

0.3

2.09

1.4

2.6

3.00

1.44

Other ferrous

3.2

3.1

15

0.8

2.14

1.5

4.9

5.38

3.25

Aluminum cans

1.5

1.3

20

0.3

2.09

0.9

2.1

2.01

1.34

Aluminum foil

0.3

0.5

7

0.2

2.45

0.0

0.7

0.44

Other aluminum

0.5

0.4

6

0.2

2.57

0.0

0.9

0.69

0.58

Food

10.3

6.0

20

1.3

2.09

7.5

13.2

6.88

7.73

Wood

3.9

5.1

17

1.2

2.12

1.3

6.5

5.46

3.68

Textiles

8.6

8.0

20

1.8

2.09

4.8

12.3

4.97

11.57

Organics

19.6

12.1

19

2.8

2.10

13.8

25.4

18.90

23.29

a MSA1 – Brownsville, Harlingen, and San Benito.

b MSA2 – McAllen, Mission, and Edinburg.

organics fraction is [13.8, 29.0]% in the Valley reflecting yard waste production at the local level, which shares sim- ilar percentages with national and state averages, which are is 12% and 20%, respectively. As the management options or technology metrics have extended from landfilling toward incineration, recycling, and composting at the local scale, the differences in plastic content and organics frac- tion among local cities, state, and national averages are important enough to warrant the costs associated with the conduct of a local waste characterization study.

4.2. Chemical characteristics and profile

The chemical characterization study was performed on a dry basis since the samples involved measuring moisture content. It was therefore necessary to adjust the percent- ages back to the corresponding levels on a wet basis since all MSW treatment and disposal processes should consider its moist natural state. As seen in Tables 3 and 4 , the ulti- mate analysis covers six elements, including carbon (C), hydrogen (H), nitrogen (N), chlorine (Cl), sulfur (S), and oxygen (O). Information on moisture content and C/N ratio may contribute to the assessment of composting potential, while the ash content and LHV may be used to assess the appropriateness of incineration. High heating value can then be estimated based on the measurements of LHV and moisture content.

Tables 3 and 4 also show some dissonance in the chem- ical content, moisture, and heating value among the 10 cit- ies, as well as between the MSA1 and MSA2. Because a great portion of the waste stream is combustible, it is no surprise that the largest elements found are carbon and oxygen, at 45.4% and 32.7%, respectively. Sulfur, chlorine, and nitrogen form approximately 2% of the sub-sample on a wet basis in totality. Applying the t -statistic with respect to the ultimate analysis data would enable us to develop a 95% confidence interval for the average values. Both tables also portray the 95% confidence intervals. They include moisture [14.7, 21.6]%, ash [4.9, 7.1]%, C[37.9, 43.3]%, H[5.4, 5.9]%, S[0.5, 0.6]%, N[0.2, 0.5]%, Cl[0.3, 0.9]%, and O[30.1, 36.0]% in this analysis. Lastly, LHV ranges from 3257 to 5846 kcal/kg, with an average of 4142.4 kcal/kg. Moisture content is slightly lower than the national average, and significantly lower than what can be seen in Asia and some European countries ( Chang et al., 1998 ). This could result from the long-term drought conditions that prevail in the South Texas region. Tables 3 and 4 also list an important design parameter – heating value. The laboratory data was originally reported on a dry basis, meaning the energy content entailed a HHV since it represents the energy content that is available for extraction after the samples were dried. It is worthwhile mentioning that the waste stream in MSA2 has a relatively higher energy content than that in MSA1. On average, the

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N.-B. Chang, E. Davila / Waste Management 28 (2008) 776–794

Chang, E. Davila / Waste Management 28 (2008) 776–794 Fig. 4. MSW characterization 95% confidence interval

Fig. 4. MSW characterization 95% confidence interval material percentages of 10 LRGV cities.

Table 3 Laboratory results for the cities of San Juan, Pharr, Edinburg, McAllen, and Mission (%) except LHV (kcal/kg) on a wet basis

Analysis

San Juan

Pharr

Metropolitan statistical area (MSA)

 
 

McAllen

Edinburg

Mission

Avgerage

 

1212121212–

Carbon a

42.38

33.98

40.93

42.44

43.31

39.49

40.70

45.60

38.16

43.60

41.81

Hydrogen b

6.18

5.02

5.92

5.88

6.27

5.62

5.92

5.99

5.79

5.67

5.88

Nitrogen c

0.80

0.15

0.16

0.63

0.60

0.09

0.54

0.25

0.26

0.15

0.31

Chlorine d

0.18

0.10

0.35

0.77

0.25

0.10

0.66

0.42

0.86

1.58

0.65

Sulfur e

0.62

0.50

0.60

0.60

0.65

0.57

0.57

0.61

0.58

0.58

0.59

Oxygen f

32.71

34.25

30.48

38.22

22.25

29.58

26.84

27.38

26.04

26.47

26.43

Moisture g

9.82

16.50

15.60

5.48

18.90

17.90

20.20

12.30

20.00

16.80

17.68

Ash h

7.31

9.50

5.95

5.98

7.77

6.66

4.56

7.45

8.30

5.15

6.65

LHV i

4393

3470

3808

3910

4724

3257

4461

4667

3648

3580

4056

a ASTM D5291.

b ASTM D5291.

c US EPA 351.2 M.

d US EPA 300 M.

e ASTM D5291.

f Calculation.

g ASTM D2216 M

h ASTM E830.

i ASTM D240.

 

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785

Table 4 Laboratory results for the cities of Harlingen, Alamo, San Benito, Brownsville, and Weslaco (%) except LHV (kcal/kg) on a wet basis

Analysis

Alamo

Weslaco

Metropolitan statistical area (MSA)

 
 

Brownsville

Harlingen

San Benito

Avgerage

 

1212121212–

Carbon a

37.90

54.34

46.30

39.76

39.71

30.39

42.49

41.58

41.87

26.79

37.14

Hydrogen b

5.76

5.74

6.05

5.41

5.81

4.51

5.67

5.90

5.80

4.00

5.28

Nitrogen c

0.23

0.16

1.08

0.59

0.08

0.77

0.11

0.26

0.11

0.31

0.27

Chlorine d

0.16

0.13

0.06

0.59

0.10

0.46

2.89

0.22

0.67

1.74

1.01

Sulfur e

0.58

0.58

0.57

0.52

0.59

0.45

0.56

0.61

0.54

0.37

0.52

Oxygen f

25.53

22.75

24.77

25.23

25.89

24.46

31.71

28.04

35.24

23.33

28.11

Moisture g

26.40

12.50

17.90

22.50

22.90

26.60

11.30

16.50

13.50

39.80

21.77

Ash h

3.43

3.80

3.26

5.40

4.93

12.37

5.27

6.89

2.27

3.66

5.90

LHV i

3902

5294

4676

5846

4481

3201

3932

4384

3621

3590

3868

a ASTM D5291.

b ASTM D5291.

c US EPA 351.2 M.

d US EPA 300 M.

e ASTM D5291.

f calculation.

g ASTM D2216 M.

h ASTM E830.

i ASTM D240.

MSW moisture content in MSA1 is 4% higher than that in MSA2. Hence, the difference in moisture content might par- tially account for the difference in HHV (i.e., 190 kcal/kg) between these two MSAs. The implication here is that Hidalgo County might benefit the most from an incineration plant if the trends of low moisture and slightly higher paper content hold consistently. Under typical operating condi- tions, an incinerator or a refuse-derived fuel (RDF) combus- tion plant would be faced with a moist MSW feedstock in the sense that LHV should be used for both the planning and the design of the engineering processes. Thus, there is a need to convert HHV into LHV by the means of a calculation that can be found in Rhyner et al. (1995) . It states below:

LHV c ¼ HHV ð MJ = kg Þ

ð1 Þ

In Eq. (1) , Moisture and Hydrogen are two parameters representing percentages of the water and elemental hydro- gen on a dry basis, respectively. LHV c represents the LHV of combustible material by carrying a subscript ‘‘c’’. Con- verting Eq. (1) into kcal/kg requires 239 kcal per 1 MJ, and the final step is to adjust its value to the original sam- ple that held inert material. The key assumption is that inert material will not add or remove heat in the combus- tion process. Eq. (2) was thus used to normalize its value to the sample weight and obtain a more accurate represen- tation of LHV in the waste stream as follows:

LHV ¼ ð LHV c Þð% Combustible Þþð LHV I Þ

ð2 Þ

where ‘‘%Combustible’’ stands for the fraction that is not inert, while ‘‘%Inert’’ stands for the fraction of inert mate- rials, such as glass and metal, present in the waste stream. By using the aforementioned assumption that inert materi-

0 : 0244 ðMoisture þ 9 Hydrogen Þ MJ = kg

ð % Inert Þ= 100 % kcal = kg

als do not provide any energy content (LHV I = 0), the LHV is reduced by the total fraction of combustible mate- rial available in each sample. The laboratory analysis also conforms to the fact that the inert materials would not yield any heating value since temperatures in a bomb calo- rimeter could be insufficient to oxidize the inert materials. In fact, inert materials represent items that would prove difficult to be ground into a powder-like substance for lab analysis. As a consequence, the HHV was attained from a mass representing the combustibles in the sample only. Following a rigorous laboratory analysis, the HHV and LHV averages for the LRGV were 4551.5 and 4142.4 kcal/kg, respectively. However, the national average places the heating value of MSW around 3100 kcal/kg, although it is not specified whether it is HHV or LHV (GAA, 1997 ). If it is the LHV, the final LHV average in the Valley is 1000 kcal/kg, which is higher than the national average. These differences of energy content among local cities, state, and national averages also show the impor- tance of conducting a local waste characterization study. In order to test the validity of the LHV data, alternate empirical formulae were utilized to generate HHVs and LHVs for comparison (Khan and Abu Ghrarah, 1991 ). They are as below:

HHV ¼ 0 : 399 Carbon þ 1 :44 Hydrogen

ð 3 Þ

HHV ¼ 0 : 3279 Carbon þ 1 :504 Hydrogen

0 :139 Oxygen þ 0 : 105

Sulfur

0 :1383 Oxygen 0 : 1484 Chlorine

ð 4 Þ

where HHV is in MJ/kg and total Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxy- gen, Chlorine, Sulfur, and Nitrogen represent percentage values on a dry basis. When Eqs. (3) and (4) were derived, elemental composition and thermochemical principles were

þ 0 :09262 Sulfur þ 0 : 02419 Nitrogen

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N.-B. Chang, E. Davila / Waste Management 28 (2008) 776–794

used to isolate possible lab instrumentation error ( Rhyner et al., 1995 ). This increases credibility of these formulae. According to Eqs. (3) and (4) , the LHV averages in the Valley are 4191.5 and 4121.8 kcal/kg, respectively, when using the ultimate analysis data obtained in the laboratory analysis as the statistical model inputs. This implies that there were no measurement errors of bomb calorimeter operation in this ultimate analysis, and it reflects a physical reason, such as low moisture and high plastic content, for the presence of such high LHVs in the Valley. This finding leads to an answer to the question: ‘‘would the heating val- ues of MSW be high enough in this region to sustain a WTE program?’’ In general, WTE plants receiving a waste stream with an LHV of 2390 kcal/kg, can produce approx- imately 550 kWh per ton of waste, which is equivalent to a saving of 190 l (50 gal) of gasoline per ton of waste ( Chang, 2000 ). As a consequence, the incineration option is there- fore favored in the Valley.

5. Statistical analysis

More statistical analyses may be performed to answer the rest of the questions: ‘‘would the heating values of MSW be affected by concurrent recycling programs region wide?’’ and ‘‘would it be necessary to distinguish manage- ment strategies between MSA1 and MSA2?’’ The following statistical regression analyses exploring correlations between the heating values, the physical composition, and the chemical content would provide a firm basis to answer the above two questions.

5.1. PDF identification with K–S test

When dealing with the uncertainty, it would be worth- while to know, once and for all, the probability density function (PDF) for some waste components with recycling potential, such as paper, plastic, and food waste. This may help characterize the patterns of waste components individually in the MSW stream region wide. In essence, whether or not a particular waste component may exhibit a normal, lognormal, or other distribution by way of good- ness-of-fit procedures, such as the Kolmogorov–Smirnov goodness-of-fit test (K–S test), may be important for waste management in several aspects. They may aid in a simula- tion analysis, such as Monte Carlo simulation, leading to support some engineering designs of waste management facilities, such as MRFs, with respect to its reliability on one hand. They may be used to formulate a meaningful source reduction and household recycling program with respect to the inherent uncertainty on the other hand. It may affect all of the regression practices down the road if the repressors in relation to these three recyclables are proved statistically different. Environmental data is often found to be lognormally distributed ( Powers et al., 2003 ). The focus now is whether the solid waste data is lognormal or normal distribution. Fig. 5 shows the log transformation of the percentage value

of plastic, paper, and food plotted against an assumed nor- mal distribution. The null hypothesis is that the lognor- mally transformed food, paper, and plastic data do not follow the normal distribution. In the goodness-of fit test for the identification of PDF, the K–S test was conducted to determine if one can reject the null hypothesis that there is no relationship between the idealized normal distribution and the lognormally transformed solid waste data set. This implies if the log transformations of the data were used in the K–S test, and if a non-significant test result was found, then the log-transformed data would not have a normal distribution and the original data would not have a lognor- mal distribution. This rationale would be consistent when using different assumed probability distribution for trans- formation (i.e., other than lognormal distribution). The field data showed a skewed-to-the-left tendency that gave the first indication that the data was lognormal. After running the K–S test, the critical D-statistic was used to determine how closely related the data was to a normal dis- tribution. The critical D statistic for n = 20 is 0.294. Since all D-statistics for the datasets are below the value, all appear to adhere to a normal distribution based on a log- normal transformation of the original dataset ( Sheskin, 2000 ). Table 5 suggests that while all D-statistics reject the null hypothesis, the probability p suggests that the plas- tic and paper are lognormally distributed. But the food borders between normal and lognormal distributions since the D-statistics shows relatively weak evidence in full sup- port of the lognormal distribution. Uncertainty surrounding the food parameter can be attributed to the fact that the log-food parameter has a lar- ger standard deviation and hence a higher variance than the other log-parameters. However, since the food closely exhibits lognormal tendencies, it will be considered to have a lognormal distribution along with the plastic and paper, which exhibit strong lognormal tendencies. The fact that p > 0 : 05 suggests that the results are not statistically signif- icant, meaning the larger the probability the less the null hypothesis might be true. Overall, in comparison to other solid waste characterization studies in the literature, the current study shares the finding that lognormal distribu- tions prevail for some physical solid waste characterization parameters (Chang et al., 1998 ).

5.2. Multiple linear regression analyses-LHV model derivation

A multiple linear regression (MLR) model using plastic, paper, and food as independent variables (regressors) and low heating value (LHV) as a dependent variable helps determine the component contribution towards predicting the LHV of the LRGV solid waste. In order to fully under- stand and appreciate the regression model, one must con- centrate on what properties of the estimators are dependent on which assumptions. In the simple or multiple linear regression models, the random error term must be a random variable, assumed to be normally distributed with

N.-B. Chang, E. Davila / Waste Management 28 (2008) 776–794 787 Fig. 5. Histogram and
N.-B. Chang, E. Davila / Waste Management 28 (2008) 776–794
787
Fig. 5. Histogram and normal curve used for determination of (a) plastic, (b) paper, (c) food random variable distributions.
Table 5
Kolmogorov–Smirnov test results for the plastic, paper, and food parameters in the LRGV
Var
Normal parameters
Most extreme differences
z -Stat
p
Mean
r
D-Stat
Positive
Negative
Plastic
19.1
6.7
0.158
0.158
0.088
0.707
0.700
Paper
27.5
10.5
0.145
0.145
0.065
0.650
0.793
Food
10.3
6.0
0.132
0.132
0.078
0.589
0.878
ln plastic
2.90
0.341
0.127
0.127
0.082
0.568
0.903
ln paper
3.25
0.379
0.111
0.072
0.111
0.495
0.967
ln food
2.17
0.637
0.135
0.079
0.135
0.602
0.862

n (number of samples) = 20.

an expected value of zero and homogeneous variance. Tra- ditional linear regression models assume that all of the inde- pendent variables are non-random so that least square estimators are unbiased when performing the minimization of the residual sum of squares. As a result, the maximum likelihood estimators of the regression coefficients are the least squares estimators if one is willing to make the normal theory assumption. The findings through PDF identifica- tion for three designated independent variables, however, would affect regression analysis. The PDF identification,

to which we eluded in advance, outlines all independent variables (regressors) as random variables rather than fixed values, and thus the error terms should not be random vari- ables with normal distribution in the regression analysis. It is noteworthy that the properties of the least squares estima- tors are stronger (uniformly minimum variance unbiased) when the errors are normal than when they are not normal. If the independent variables in this study do not follow the distributional properties in normal theory, then non-stan- dard conditions have to be taken into account. An impor-

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N.-B. Chang, E. Davila / Waste Management 28 (2008) 776–794

tant unified approach to the linear model, and hence regres- sion, was introduced by Nelder and Wedderburn (1972) . The emphasis was placed on a general family of error distri- butions for fitting linear regression models, such as the GLM, which would allow for considerable ease in identify- ing unbiased estimators. Since the presence of outliers might result in the failure of the normality assumption, outlier detection could be influential. While heterogeneous vari- ance and multicollinearity are highly unlikely to occur in this regression practice, measurement errors in the repressor variables are not considered owing to the rigorous Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC) procedures in both the sampling and laboratory analysis. In summary, further investigation of the selection of estimators and out- liers detection is therefore needed. Although the physical composition analysis may directly support the assessment of material recovery, curbside recy- cling, and composting, the energy content (i.e., heating value) derived from bomb calorimeter tests may greatly support the investigation of incineration potential. Because the energy content is affected by moisture and component composition of the MSW, the general question becomes ‘‘how does one inform the other.’’ Finding the functional relationship between energy content and physical composi- tion, especially for recyclables, is crucial from an operating standpoint since it connects the thermal content to the recycling operation of the waste. To answer this question, MLR analysis is used to determine how energy content and waste components are related. The process begins with the detection of outlier points in the data. As previously stated, the HHV (and thus LHV as well) in the Valley is higher than the US average MSW heat value This gives an indication that some points might exert a strong influence towards the high end of the energy content scale. Given that the MLR analysis attempts to connect the

LHV to a number of regressors, such as plastic, paper, and food content, the 20 LHV values are evaluated for outlier detection using the box approach. Table 6 lays out the pro- cess by which the box diagram is built in order to set up fences within suspected outliers. This exercise leads to Fig. 6 , which allows for a graphical insight of the location of the LHV outliers. By referencing Table 6 and Fig. 6 together, two values (3200.7 and 5846.4 kcal/kg) are identi- fied as suspect outliers and none of them are highly suspect outliers. While the tabular data identifies the values and the box diagram shows the relationship of the data to the fence values, it takes a scatter plot to pinpoint and eliminate another two likely outliers. The spread in Fig. 7 shows a gen- eral trend toward a gradual increase in LHV as plastic con- tent increases in the samples. Following the general trend line and its 95% confidence interval bands, one can confirm that the points corresponding to LHVs of 3257.4 and 5294.1 kcal/kg can be eliminated possibly by inspection. Finally, we would like to explore the recycling impacts of paper, plastics, and food on LHV. The effect of the remaining items, which are not included as regressors, will have a synergistic effect on the intercept term in such a regression analyses. The final dataset prepared for regres- sion practice is summarized in Appendix B. The maximum likelihood procedure can be generalized to cover all of the distributions that fall into the exponential family of distri- butions. The software package SPSS was used as a com- puter solver. The final MLR models used to predict LHV in the LRGV waste stream is as follows:

LHV ¼ 4809 : 5 Plastic 568 : 4 Paper 2205 : 9 Food

ð 5 Þ

where Plastic, Paper, and Food refer to their respective fraction in the MSW stream. Table 7 summarizes the fitting of the model parameters alongside analysis of variance

þ 3510 :7 kcal = kg

Table 6 Box and whisker approach for detection of outliers in LHV dependent variable

n

LHV

n

LHV

Var

Name

Equation

Value

1

3200.7

11

3932.4

Median

3921.4

2

3257.3

12

4384.4

LQ

Lower

quartile

Median

N = 1–10 N = 10–20

3605.9

3

3469.8

13

4393.0

UQ

Upper

quartile

Median

4573.8

4

3579.7

14

4460.6

IQR

Inter quartile range

LQ IQ IQR 1.5 · LQ IQR + 1.5 · UQ IQR 3 · LQ IQR+3 · UQ 1st Val above LIF 1st Val below UIF

967.9

5

3590.3

15

4480.8

LIF

L. inner fence U. inner fence L. outer fence U. outer fence L. whisker U. whisker

2154.0

6

3621.4

16

4666.7

UIF

6025.6

7

3648.3

17

4676.5

LOF

702.2

8

3808.0

18

4724.2

UOF

7477.4

9

3902.2

19

5294.1

LW

3200.7

10

3910.4

20

5846.4

UW

5846.4

LW 3200.7 10 3910.4 20 5846.4 UW 5846.4 Fig. 6. Box and whisker plot for LHV

Fig. 6. Box and whisker plot for LHV outlier detection.

N.-B. Chang, E. Davila / Waste Management 28 (2008) 776–794

789

Chang, E. Davila / Waste Management 28 (2008) 776–794 789 Fig. 7. Scatter plot approach to

Fig. 7. Scatter plot approach to outlier detection verification on plastic independent variable.

(ANOVA) and associated significance of regressors on these MLR models. The R 2 value (=0.545) shows a moder- ate correlation among the parameters, and the adjusted R 2 value (=0.568) shows that approximately 56.8% of the var- iation is explained by the model. Using the significance for the predictor column values, the most striking observation is that the plastic regressor plays a more significant role in the final model while the paper regressor holds the least sig- nificance to the model. Overall, the variance in the MLR model is largely attributed to plastic content. From an operations standpoint, the plastics component offers a dry fuel when compared to paper and food. Food by virtue has a moisture level near or above 50%, while paper would likely absorb or retain more water on its surface than plas- tics. Yet the negative sign of paper cannot be justified appropriately in the model. The sign convention in MLR models is inherently a long-standing issue in statistical the- ory so that the paper content had better be treated as an average value in the analysis. If we plug in the correspond- ing average value of paper content (i.e., 22.95%), making the predictive capacity of paper collapse back to the inter- cept term, the modified model would become:

LHV ¼ 4809 : 5 Plastic 2205 : 9 Food

ð6 Þ

By the same token, the following equation may be used for the assessment of recycling impact with respect to plastic

þ 3380 : 2 kcal= kg

content only given that the average value of food content (i.e., 9.83%) in the waste stream can be used.

ð 7 Þ

LHV ¼ 4809 : 5 Plastic þ 3163 : 4 kcal= kg

5.3. Recycling impact assessment

Plastic products may be accessed by employing all ele- ments of resource conservation through their entire life cycle to optimize their utility. Yet plastic recycling is still a rela- tively new and developing field of recycling. For instance, cities may develop, promote, and implement the original use and subsequent recovery, reuse, and recycling of poly- styrene loose fill, commonly known as ‘‘packing peanuts.’’ Cities may also foster a variety of opportunities for post- industrial Low Density Poly Ethylene (LDPE), High Den- sity Poly Ethylene (HDPE), and Polypropylene (PP) plastics reprocessing. Recyclers can buy clean scrap in all forms (bales, film, regrind, parts, etc.), then repelletize, post-blend pellets, package in lined gaylords, and sell to manufacturers of plastic products. For instance, HDPE #2 plastic used to make milk jugs and detergent bottles can be recycled by a pretty simple process. The bales are broken apart and the material is ground into small flakes about 1 cm; these flakes are then washed and floated to remove any heavy contami- nants which are sinkable. This cleaned flake is then dried in a stream of hot air, and may be boxed and sold in that form. More sophisticated plastic plants may reheat these flakes, add pigment to change the color, and run the material through a pelletizer to form little beads of plastic that can then be reused in injection molding presses to create new plastic products. If the plastic recycling program can be pro- moted and implemented in the Valley, the recycling impact on heating value would be of concern. But the question left is, ‘‘would the heating values of MSW be affected by concurrent recycling programs region wide?’’ Without new equations derived and tailored to fit in the local situation n the Valley, such as Eqs. (6) and (7) , however, an impasse in quantitative recycling assessment looms. Based on Appendix B in this paper, it is known that the average plastic content in the waste stream is around 20% of the total in the Valley. Assume that the inorganic fraction increases and all the other percentages of combus- tible fractions remain when recycling of plastic takes place. With the aid of Eq. (7) , Table 8 lists the simulation outputs that compare the increasing recycling effort against the decreasing trend of LHV. Pushing further into the mind is that the recycling efforts would not diminish the potential

Table 7 Multiple linear regression analysis results

Model review

Unstandardized

Standardized

R 2

Adjusted R 2

Predictor

Coefficients, b

Standard error

Coefficients, b

t -Stat

Significance

0.545

0.432

Constant

3510.65

329.56

10.65

0.000

ANOVA

Plastic

4809.47

1296.78

0.767

3.71

0.003

F

Significance

Paper

568.40

805.70

0.146

0.71

0.494

4.80

0.020

Food

2205.86

1532.96

0.291

1.44

0.176

790

N.-B. Chang, E. Davila / Waste Management 28 (2008) 776–794

Table 8 Impact of recycling on heating value

Scenario Recycling

Resultant recycling content (%)

LHV (kcal/

effort

kg)

1 10

18

4029.1

2 20

16

3932.9

3 30

14

3836.7

4 40

12

3740.5

5 50

10

3644.3

of incineration option significantly since the lowest LHV might still be up to 3644.3 kcal/kg. With the prior knowledge of C/N ratio between 86 and 189 based on the 95% confidence interval statistically, a composting program would also become a feasible option. On the other hand, recycling of food content can be prac- ticed by a simulation approach using the equations above with the inclusion of food content. This is also true for the other recyclables, such as plastics. Recycled food waste can be delivered to the existing compost plant in Browns- ville if a MRF or an independent household and/or com- mercial food waste recycling channel can be properly designed and operated to support this activity. Such recy- cling projects by nature weaken the waste disposal crisis in the long run, albeit there is a long way to go.

6. Management strategies

At present, almost 100% of waste is landfilled, while a small portion of the waste stream is recycled (preferably by material type) and composted in the Valley. If there are no recycling programs in place in the LRGV cities, then it is important for waste managers to know what percent- age of recyclables is in the waste stream and what percent- age of these recyclables is marketable – this might mean breaking down plastics, for example, by type into those that have a market for recycling and those that do not. The breakdown in Table 2 with respect to glass, plastic, and paper would help in designing a new recycling program and estimating costs and revenues for those cities which are not yet involved in recycling. If cities, such as Harlingen and McAllen, have had recycling programs in place already, such a waste characterization study could provide valuable information by identifying the capture rates in recycling centers (e.g., the amount of recyclable paper that is left in the mixed waste stream compared to the amount of paper being collected for recycling). This will help in determining whether education campaigns or other mea- sures are needed to improve the capture rates in the Valley. Given that regionalization may be a cost-effective man- agement policy, the waste characterization study for both MSAs groupwise may contribute to the generation of insightful management strategies on a regional scale ( Baetz et al., 1989; Chang and Wang, 1996; Huang et al., 2001 ). The MSAs in Cameron and Hidalgo counties are used as reference points for discussing specific differences in the waste stream characteristics. Table 2 also shows the com-

ponent average in each of the MSAs in question. Compar- isons between the local MSW database built from the physical characterization and data provided by higher lev- els of government show that the local data falls around established trends. While this provides a much needed ver- ification of the findings, regional planners would hope to contrast neighboring trends. Variations of some waste materials, such as paper, glass, metal, and plastics between these two MSAs in the Valley are significant when compar- ing those average values. This reflects the difference in terms of recycling potential at least. Yet the power of devel- oping interval numbers at the local sub-category level to describe the general regional patterns in this study shapes the notion that there are no major differences between the metropolitan areas in terms of composition, except when it comes to corrugated cardboard and textiles. Cloth- ing, however, was more prevalent in the MSA1, than the MSA2. This is indicative of the local second hand clothing market that exports large volumes of used clothing to ready markets in Mexico and deposits the residues in the local waste stream. This process involves bringing bales of cloth- ing from distributors across the US to warehouses where distribution occurs. As a byproduct of stagnant inventory, some of this used clothing finds its way into landfills. In fact, field operators in the Brownsville landfill expressed a deep concern that many municipal trucks with routes in the metropolitan downtown area carry a noticeable volume of textiles that end up in the landfill. The question left is, ‘‘are these differences statistically significant among these two MSAs?’’ If they are, is there a policy implication with respect to different choices for the two MSAs in their selec- tion of waste management strategies? Accordingly, the z statistical inference test was con- ducted with regard to paper, plastic, and food content across these two MSAs for answering the above questions. The hypothesis-testing procedure involves the means, pro- portions, and variances of two different population distri- butions. Suppose both sample population distributions are normal after log transformation and that the values of both corresponding variances after log transformation are known, the z test procedure can be applied. Because the sample population distributions after log transforma-

tion are normal, both log X and log Y have normal distri- butions (i.e., X and Y could be paper, plastic, or food content in the waste stream). This implies that

log X log Y is normally distributed, with expected value

log l 1 log l 2 (i.e., an unbiased estimator of log X

q

ffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi

log Y Þ and standard deviation r

r

m

2

1

þ r 2 where

2

n

log X log Y ¼

r r m 2 1 þ r 2 where 2 n log X log Y ¼

m and n are sample size of log X and log Y and r 2 and r 2

1

2

are variances of log X and log Y . Table 9 lists the informa- tion and outputs of the z test for all waste contents involved. In the hypothesis-testing problem, the null hypothesis is, ‘‘there is no difference of solid waste streams in these two MSAs.’’ In the end, the hypothesis-test shows there is no strong evidence to support a separate treatment of waste streams in the MSA1 and the MSA2.

N.-B. Chang, E. Davila / Waste Management 28 (2008) 776–794

Table 9 Impact of recycling on heating value

791

 

Paper (%)

Plastic (%)

Food (%)

LHV (kcal/kg)

MSA1 ( X )

MSA2 ( Y )

MSA1 ( X )

MSA2 ( Y )

MSA1 ( X )

MSA2 ( Y )

MSA1 ( X )

MSA2 ( Y )

Mean value log (Mean value)

29.87

25.8

16.60

20.87

7.73

6.88

3,868

4,056

1.47

1.41

1.22

1.32

0.88

0.84

3.59

3.61

log X log Y

Variance of log ð X Þ and log ð Y Þ Sample size

0.06

r 1 = 0.18 mn

r 2 = 0.16

0.10

r 1 = 0.52 mn

r 2 = 0.11

0.04

r 1 = 0.33 mn

r 2 = 0.12

0.02

r 1 = 0.05 mn

r 2 = 0.06

66666666

r log X log Y

z -Test statistic value Reject null hypothesis at level 0.01

0.09

0.21

0.14

0.03

0.61

0.46

0.28

0.63

no

no

no

no

7. Policy analysis

The analysis indicates that the incineration option is bol- stered by mildly high heating values across 10 cities in this region, which may lead to save landfill space required for final disposal and increase net electricity generation in such a rapidly-expanding region. Waste incineration programs may be configured for the MSA1 and the MSA2 separately because of the shipping distance in between. The stand alone incinerator in each MSA can be used to directly support any local industry that needs less costly electricity because of the rising energy prices. The physical and ultimate analyses can provide better information for alternate disposal options such as MRFs and composting facilities, while the WTE potential becomes evidently clear due to mildly high heating values of MSW in the LRGV. However, overall technical and economic feasibility needs to be further analyzed in future research. This means the ‘‘potential’’ of WTE would not be limited to the HHV/LLV and ash content analyses and their effect on combustion. Due to the economy of scale, however, a common MRF shared by these two MSAs could be encouraged in the future if more mandatory recycling programs and drop-off centers are sited across the Valley. Yet education campaigns or other measures are needed to improve the capture rate. Although various forms of incin- eration are widely used for waste management, there has been increased public debate in the last several decades over the expected benefits mentioned above and the potential risk to human health that might result from the emission of pol- lutants generated by the incineration process. A compatibil- ity assessment between recycling and incineration must be performed in the future if both alternatives are to be included in the integrated solid waste management system ( Chang and Chang, 2003 ). Advanced analyses of the expected benefits and the potential health risk of waste incineration through such compatibility studies may lead to avoid substantial polarization of opinions with respect to regulatory decisions about incineration facilities. Some might be concerned that the chemical characterization study did not include a breakdown of heavy metals in the waste stream (mercury, lead, etc.) since these are known to be some of the most serious pollution problems associated with incinerators. The drop-off station in Harlingen, however, has a battery recovery program that can be enlarged to meet the battery recovery needs throughout the Valley and pre-

vent the sources of heavy metals from entering the waste stream directly. Nowadays, the semi-dry plus fabric filter process for air pollution control is able to remove most of the mercury in the flue gas. Advanced gasification processes for waste management may even help reduce the pollution impact and increase energy recovery potential simulta- neously ( Bjo¨ rklund et al., 2001; Malkow, 2004 ). Besides, operation of municipal solid waste landfills as bioreactors offers significant economic, environmental, and societal benefits (Price et al., 2003; He et al., 2005; Berge et al., 2006; Olivier and Gourc, in press ). However, guide- lines for the design, operation, and monitoring of bioreactor landfills are scant. When this option becomes mature, future option should include this alternative to conserve more land- fill space over time. Bioenergy production, considering input materials such as solid and liquid residuals from domestic, industrial, or agricultural origin, may be encouraged to pro- mote environmental sustainability. Research to examine and advance both fundamental process understanding and engi- neering applications of bioenergy production and bioreactor landfill systems should be promoted in the future. The solid waste database created will be beneficial to many companion studies in the Valley (Chang and Davila, 2006 ). It will also make this region a logical place for a scientific examination of the linkages between waste management, the regional population growth, and the policies that might govern them in the future.

8. Conclusion

This analysis provides local decision makers with an opportunity to weigh alternate MSW options alongside important solid waste management strategies and policies for the LRGV region. For the first time in the South Texas region, local governments have the results of a critical anal- ysis of the MSW properties at their disposal sites. The reli- ance of national and state data can skew local dynamics, which can be best captured by site-specific solid waste char- acterization studies. This was made possible by providing the necessary field survey data with an effective sampling campaign and laboratory analysis to build a fundamental understanding of the physical and chemical properties in the waste stream. A series of models describing the linear correlation between plastic, paper, and food indicators and predicted heating value of the MSW stream were dem-

792

N.-B. Chang, E. Davila / Waste Management 28 (2008) 776–794

onstrated to be helpful for the assessment of the impact of recycling on incineration projects. In the end, the hypothe- sis-test shows that there is no strong evidence to support a separate treatment of waste streams in the MSA1 and the MSA2. With such a thorough waste characterization and systems analysis, planners and decision makers would be able to relate waste composition to cost and benefit trade- offs supporting situation assessment, conducting short-term and long-term planning, and creating effective management strategies.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support from the Cities of Edinburg, Harlingen and Mis-

sion who made this study possible. We would also like to thank the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, Texas for its chemical analysis and data report- ing, especially Mike Dammon and Radonna Spies. The physical characterization would also not be possible with- out the intense effort put forth by: Annette Hernandez, Ja- vier Guerrero, Gomathishanker Parvathinathan, Srilakshmi Kanth Ramaraju, Preetham Thotakuri, Surya Phalaguna, Aloke Mohanlal, Andi Setiady Ko, Rajendra Kondapalli, and William Prasad Arya. The authors also thank the seven other cities and their public work staffs in the Valley for their support in coordinating this great undertaking. The authors also are grateful for the invalu- able comments presented by anonymous referees of this paper.

Appendix A. Sample characterization log for the city of San Juan, Texas (USA)

Day/Date:

4/13/2005

Collection Co: San Juan Vehicle type: Automatic residential Route No: N/A Recorded By: Ahernandez

Site:

Ed LF

Weather:

Hot

Component

Weight in lbs

Percent of total (%)

Gross

Tare

Mixed paper

58

37

17.90

High grade paper Computer printout Other office paper

11.8

8.8

4.26

5.8

2.8

1.35

Newsprint

6.6

3.6

1.74

Corrugated

62.2

41.2

19.93

Plastic

PET bottles

11.2

5.2

2.52

HDPE bottles

5.4

2.4

1.16

Foam

43.6

22.6

10.93

Other plastic

61.2

43.2

20.90

Food waste

38.2

32.2

15.58

Wood

Other organics

Ferrous

Cans

0.97

0.47

Other ferrous

3

1.45

Aluminum

Cans

0.37

0.18

Foil

0.00

Other aluminum

0.37

0.18

Glass

Clear

Brown

0.81

0.40

Green

Clothing

5.2

2.2

1.06

Totals

309.2

206.73

Notes: Lab sample taken? Yes: X

No:

Day/Date:

4/15/2005

Collection Co: San Juan Vehicle type: Automatic residential Route No: Truck 12 Recorded By: Eric Davila

Site:

Ed LF

Weather:

Hot/Windy

Component

Weight in lbs

Percent of total (%)

Gross

Tare

Mixed paper

53.9

4.7

21.83

High grade paper Computer printout Other office paper

6.0

4.3

2.15

Newsprint

11.3

8.3

4.15

Corrugated

30.0

21.5

10.74

Plastic

PET bottles

11.4

6.3

3.15

HDPE bottles

4.0

2.3

1.15

Foam

9.7

4.6

2.30

Other plastic

19.7

13.7

6.84

Food waste

28.5

25.5

12.74

Wood

1.8

0.3

0.15

Other organics

41.5

35.5

17.73

Ferrous

Cans

4.2

2.27

1.35

Other ferrous

4.2

2.7

1.35

Aluminum

Cans

6.7

2.2

1.10

Foil

Other aluminum

Glass

Clear

5.0

2.0

1.00

Brown

4.9

1.9

0.95

Green

Clothing

25.7

22.7

11.34

Totals

268.5

200.2

Notes: Lab sample taken? Yes: X

No:

N.-B. Chang, E. Davila / Waste Management 28 (2008) 776–794

793

Appendix B. Dataset for regression practice

Set Cities

Paper Plastic Food Wood LHV

(%)

(%)

(%)

(%)

(kcal/

 

kg)

1 San Juan

45.15 35.49

15.51

0

4393

2 San Juan

38.83 13.41

12.73

0.15

3470

3 Pharr

23.46 19.09

9.59

3.44

3808

4 Pharr

24.08 15.47

13.66

3.54

3910

5 McAllen

27.23 27.12

4.94

3.93

4724

6 a McAllen

27.58 22.7

7.97

0.95

3257

7 Edinburg

20.30 13.60

4.72

4.97

4461

8 Edinburg

36.87 21.06

7.80

0.99

4667

9 Mission

31.20 21.80

5.69

0.13

3648

10 Mission

11.56 15.41

10.15 21.78

3580

11 Alamo

14.53 16.89

25.3

0.00

3902

12 a Alamo

23.76 13.21

21.92

0.13

5294

13 Weslaco

19.14 27.63

8.33

2.56

4676

14 Weslaco

25.65 20.04

12.12

5.28

5846

15 Brownsville 34.58

28.64

15.58

0.00

4481

16 Brownsville 19.02

14.05

11.73

0.31

3201

17 Harlingen

53.78 15.12

3.25

5.29

3932

18 Harlingen

23.93 20.87

1.86

2.85

4384

San Benito

19 31.03

9.56

5.60

7.99

3621

San Benito

20 16.84 11.25

8.32

1.96

3590

a These two dataset are deemed outliers that could be excluded for the regression practice.

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