Flow analysis of metals in a municipal solid waste management system

Waste Manag. 2006;26(12):1337-48. doi: 10.1016/j.wasman.2005.11.018. Epub 2006 Jan 24.


This study aimed to identify the metal flow in a municipal solid waste (MSW) management system. Outputs of a resource recovery facility, refuse derived fuel (RDF) production facility, carbonization facility, plastics liquefaction facility, composting facility, and bio-gasification facility were analyzed for metal content and leaching concentration. In terms of metal content, bulky and incombustible waste had the highest values. Char from a carbonization facility, which treats household waste, had a higher metal content than MSW incinerator bottom ash. A leaching test revealed that Cd and Pb in char and Pb in RDF production residue exceeded the Japanese regulatory criteria for landfilling, so special attention should be paid to final disposal of these substances. By multiplying metal content and the generation rate of outputs, the metal content of input waste to each facility was estimated. For most metals except Cr, the total contribution ratio of paper/textile/plastics, bulky waste, and incombustible waste was over 80%. Approximately 30% of Cr originated from plastic packaging. Finally, several MSW management scenarios showed that most metals are transferred to landfills and the leaching potential of metals to the environment is quite small.

MeSH terms

  • Chromium / analysis
  • Environmental Pollution / analysis
  • Lead / analysis
  • Metals / analysis*
  • Waste Management / methods*


  • Metals
  • Chromium
  • Lead