The purpose of this study is the demonstration of the effectiveness of material flow analysis (MFA) for decision making in waste management in achieving an integrated solid waste management system. Solid waste generation is a universal human activity. The increase in the scale of economic activities in developing areas has led to a significant increase in the volume of waste generated. The eco-system has a limited capacity for waste absorption; hence inappropriately managed solid waste tends to cause health risks to humans and is associated with ecological degradation. This study analysed the material flows of the municipal solid waste deposited at Robinson Deep landfill situated in the City of Johannesburg (CoJ). Material flow analysis is the tool adopted in providing a holistic characterization of the municipal solid waste and also used as a means of generating optimized management solutions. MFA is based on mass balance principle which states that mass can neither be created nor destroyed. Mathematical modelling and simulations are carried out as the tool to performing the material flow analysis. A situational model (statusquo) which is the actual flow of materials through the landfill site was developed and compared to four scenarios developed in order to evaluate the performance of the waste management system regarding the waste management goals. The scenarios developed showed that they all comply much better with the waste management goals as compared to the status quo. Scenarios 4, comprising a mechanical biological treatment facility and a waste to energy technology and scenario 2 which ensures that all recyclable materials are recovered before landfilling showed to be the favourable options which significantly divert most of the hazardous and valuable materials to the appropriate sinks and recycling processes. Scenario 2 however ensures a more sustainable approach overall but it is an extensive approach. The cost implication of both scenarios are however high. This study was able to show that with the use of MFA, the sources of waste generation, composition of waste deposited on the landfill and the ratio of recycling and total volume of waste diverted from being landfilled can be tracked. This study however recommends further research in tracking the municipal solid waste right from the point generation to the point it is landfilled or recycled using MFA for the whole City of Johannesburg.

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