BMW Surveys for Environmental Protection Agency
National Campaign of Biodegradable Municipal Waste Surveys for EPA
In 2009, the EPA reviewed all operational landfill licenses and inserted conditions limiting the acceptance of Biodegradable Municipal Waste (BMW) for disposal. This required a mechanism for the determination of the biodegradable content of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW). RPS was appointed by the EPA to develop this mechanism through a national campaign of waste characterisation surveys, which measured the BMW content of the various streams including residual waste, organic fines and SRF / RDF arising from pre-treatment facilities.
RPS carried out surveys over a twelve month period on twenty-two facilities representing 85% of mechanically treated municipal waste. This led to the development of seventeen generic BMW factors that could be applied to the various residual waste streams to calculate and report BMW tonnages.
Through the campaign, RPS also produced a protocol for measuring site specific BMW tonnages. The EPA subsequently published a guidance document in 2011 entitled ‘Protocol for the Evaluation of Biodegradable Municipal Waste sent to Landfill’. A joint paper by the EPA and RPS on Ireland’s approach to measuring the diversion of BMW from landfill was presented at the Sardinia 2011 Symposium on International Waste Management.