Mechanical-Biological Treatment

Guidelines for integrated waste management with the incorporation of mechanically/biologically pretreated waste

The concept can be implemented in a decentralised and modular way and is thus flexible enough to be adapted to changing conditions. The mechanical/biological treatment of waste can be carried out very cost-efficiently in this case, using simple but labour-intensive methods that still meet the normal ecological standards.


The mechanical/biological treatment of waste offers multiple options for the specific treatment of different material streams.
The aim of the project was to develop an optimised concept for mechanical/biological waste treatment adapted to Brazilian conditions. A pilot-scale sorting system and a total waste composting facility were already available in Novo Hamburgo. However, the system capacity was insufficient for processing the total waste stream created by domestic and business waste.

The recommended concept fulfils the requirements for sustainable waste and resource management:

  • The first step was the mechanical processing of domestic and residual waste. Sack openers and a drum sieve are used to sort the waste into a coarse fraction containing recyclable materials and a fine fraction containing organic substances.
  • The coarse fraction is manually sorted for recyclable materials in the sorting facility. The remaining waste consists mainly of biologically non-degradable substances and can be directly deposited to the landfill or used to make secondary fuels.
  • The fine fraction passes through a biological treatment process. For example, rotting in triangular windrows or intensive rotting in static windrows can be recommended for this purpose, when the windrows are covered with a semi-permeable membrane. Measures must, however, be taken to minimise and deal with possible odorant emissions and seepage water. The rotted products may be deposited on landfills once the material has stabilised, with only minor gas emissions and a little seepage water still to be expected at this stage.

More Project Informations

Project title: The application of mechanical/biological residue treatment in Brazil: guidelines for integrated waste management with the incorporation of mechanically/biologically pretreated waste including observations on landfilling, the treatment of seepage water and the treatment of longstanding landfill sites

Project number: 02WA0531

Project period: 01.04.2002 - 01.04.2007

Project contact::

Herr Prof. Dr.-Ing. Fricke

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Source: German National Library of Science and Technology Hannover (TIB)