Solid Waste Management

Module aims

 To provide detailed knowledge and skills in the management, treatment, disposal and recycling options for solid wastes and the role resource efficiency plays in conserving resources and contributing to a low carbon economy, while focussing on key engineering and technical aspects involved.  

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing this course unit, students will be able to: 

  • Explain and apply the basic scientific and sustainability principles behind waste management, for solving practical waste management challenges. 
  • Explain the role legislation and policy drivers play in stakeholders' response to the waste and resource management challenges within a circular economy. 
  • Explain the fundamental principles of existing and emerging technologies for the treatment of waste and recovery of value from waste. 
  • Make judgments on the increasing importance of resource management in achieving environmental sustainability. 
  • Describe how your knowledge and skills and contribute to "best practice" within the stakeholder environment. 

Module syllabus

The syllabus will include topics in: 

  • Waste management: the definition of waste, and its classification in the context of EU legislation, policy and other drivers for change, including climate change – a driver for renewable energy, and renewable energy a driver for waste and advanced thermal technologies. 
  • Circular economy as a driver for resource management and sustainability 
  • Waste treatment technologies including waste incineration and energy from waste, advanced conversion technologies of pyrolysis and gasification, anaerobic digestion, composting and mechanical biological treatment of wastes. 
  • Health considerations in the context of operation of facilities, handling of materials and impact of outputs on the environment. 
  • Advances in waste recycling and recovery technologies to deliver added-value products. 
  • Landfill engineering and the management of landfill leachate and the mining of old landfills. 
  • Specific waste streams including for example, healthcare wastes, food wastes, electrical and electronic wastes, hazardous wastes and producer responsibility wastes. 
  • Sustainability and resource efficiency with consideration for materials flow through the economy, steps towards designing out waste and maximising the value of outputs from waste treatment processes. 

Week No.  




Waste management legislation and drivers for change 

Circular economy 

Professor S. Grimes 

Professor N. Voulvoulis 


Waste incineration and energy from waste 

Professor C. Cheeseman 


Waste recycling and recovery 

Dr J. Parfitt 


Review of mechanical biological treatment of wastes 

Dr C. Velis 


Landfill, landfill leachate and landfill gas  

Dr J. Gronow 

Dr K. Knox 


Anaerobic treatment and composting of MSW 

Professor S. R. Smith 


Overview of hazardous waste management 

Dr G. Fowler 


Producer responsibility and sustainable products  

Jeff Cooper 


Pyrolysis and gasification for energy and resource management  

Dr G. Fowler 

Teaching methods

 The module is delivered as a suite of nine 2-hour lectures from academics, consultants and industry practitioners. 


Information will be provided separately.

Reading list

Module leaders

Professor Chris Cheeseman