The development of a solid waste management strategy

  • P.C. Thomson

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This research is concerned with the application of operational research techniques in the development of a long- term waste management policy by an English waste disposal authority. The main aspects which have been
considered are the estimation of future waste production and the assessment of the effects of proposed systems. Only household and commercial wastes have been dealt with in detail, though suggestions are made for the extension of the effect assessment to cover industrial and other wastes. Similarly, the only effects considered in detail have been costs, but possible extensions are discussed.
An important feature of the study is that it was conducted in close collaboration with a waste disposal authority, and so pays more attention to the actual needs of the authority than is usual in such research.
A critical examination of previous waste forecasting work leads to the use of simple trend extrapolation methods, with some consideration of seasonal effects. The possibility of relating waste production to other social and economic
indicators is discussed. It is concluded that, at present, large uncertainties in predictions are inevitable; waste management systems must therefore be designed to cope with this uncertainty.
Linear programming is used to assess the overall costs of proposals. Two alternative linear programming formulations of this problem are used and discussed. The first is a straightforward approach, which has been .implemented as an interactive computer program. The second is more sophisticated and represents the behaviour of incineration plants more realistically. Careful attention is paid to the choice of appropriate data and the interpretation of
the results. Recommendations are made on methods for immediate use, on the choice of data to be collected for future plans, and on the most useful lines for further research and development.
Date of AwardApr 1978
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorW.G. Collins (Supervisor) & Mike Hussey (Supervisor)


  • solid waste
  • strategic planning
  • local government
  • operational research
  • linear programming

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