Waste Prevention and Recovery


The main objectives of this discipline is to supply to the students the basic concepts on policies on waste management, the waste management systems and the basic technologies of recovery and eliminate the solid wastes, and to enable them to the resolution of problems related with waste management.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Maria da Graça Madeira Martinho


Weekly - 4

Total - 80

Teaching language



None in particular


Martinho, M.G.; Gonçalves, M. G., Silveira, A. (2011). Gestão Integrada de Resíduos. Universidade Aberta. Tchobanoglous, G.; Kreith, F. (2002). Handbook of Solid Waste Management. Second Edition. McGraw-Hill International Editions.
Williams, P.T. (1998). Waste Treatment and Disposal. John Wiley.
Bilitewski, B.; Härdtle, G.; Marek, K.; Weissbach, A.; Boeddicker, H. (1994). Waste Management. Springer.
White, P.; Frank, M.; Hindle, P. (1995). Integrated Solid Waste Management. A Lifecycle Inventory. Blackie Academic & Professional.

Teaching method

This discipline it organized in theoretical lessons, distributed for 9 modules, and practical lessons. The practical lessons include 7 laboratory classes, 5 lessons for resolution of problems/exercises and 1 visit at waste management infrastructures. 

Evaluation method

1) Mandatory attendance

Attendance to the subject is obtained by attending 2/3 of the practical classes (including study visit, if any). The frequency is valid for the following year. Students who are unable to strictly comply with this criterion, necessarily, at the beginning of the semester, must clarify their situation with the teachers.

2) Continuous Assessment

- Theoretical-practical component - Two tests, previously marked in CLIP, with a duration of about 2 hours each, with equal weight in the theoretical-practical component grade, in which the average is equal to or greater than 9.5; there is no minimum grade on any of the tests.

- Summative component - set of reports to be carried out and delivered at the end of each practical class, whose global score will also be equal to or greater than 9.5.

3) Final Grade of UC

40% 1st test + 40% 2nd test + 20% practice grade.

The grade of each evaluation element (test and practice) is presented with one decimal place. The final UC grade is rounded to a whole number once.

4) Appeal Exam

Students who did not obtain a positive grade in one or both of the assessment components can go to the recourse exam. The final grade of the UC corresponds to 80% of the exam grade plus 20% of the practice grade.

5) Improvement Exam

The improvement of the grade is related to the subject of the 1st and 2nd test. The final grade corresponds to 80% of the improvement exam grade plus 20% of the practice grade.

Subject matter

Module 1. Introduction and perspectives in wastes (Profª Graça Martinho). 1. History and evolution of waste management; 2. Components of a waste management system; 3. Current situation: management systems entities and national plans; 4. Basic concepts; 5. Current areas of concern; 6. Integrated waste management (IWM).

Module 2. Production and composition of waste.(Prof Ana Silveira). 1. Definition and classification of waste. 2. Production by type of waste. 3. Variation in production. 4. Physical composition of the waste and its variation. 5. Physico-chemical characterization of the waste. 6. Methods for the quantification and characterization of waste. 7. Campaigns waste characterization.

Module 3. Waste collection and transport systems (Profª Graça Martinho). (CTS). 1. Introduction: Collection components; Importance of the CTS; Evolution; Basic aspects. Base data - Key factors for the development of the CTS. 2. Waste handling, separation, storage and processing at the source. 3. Storage of solid wastes: Definition; Types of containers; 4. Collection: Definition; Types of collection; Collection of waste separated at the source. 5. Vehicles; Crews. 6. Transport of solid waste: 6.1. Definition. 6.2. Types of transport systems. 6.3. Critical haul distances. 6.4. Transfer Stations. 6.5/6.6. Transport of solid waste in Portugal - General rules and transport documents (national legislation). 7. Analysis of collection routes. 7.1. Importance and concepts. 7.2. Routes components/unit operations. 7.3. Analysis Macro-route: hauled container systems and stationary container systems. 7.4. Collection productivity indicators: register and monitoring. 7.5. Micro-routes analysis: optimization. 8. Transfrontier movements of wastes (Shipment of Waste): Basel Convention - Convention on the control of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal (Council Decision 93/98/EEC); Supervision and control of shipments within, into and out of the European Community (Council Regulation (EEC) Nº 259/93). Notification and movement documents.

Module 4. Mechanical processing of waste (Prof. Graça Martinho). Objectives. Main processes: size reduction, separation and transportation densification. Examples of applications in the MRF and TBM stations in recycling industries.

Module 5. Recycling (Profª Graça Martinho). 1. Importance and concepts. 2. Components of a recycling system. 3. Main barriers to the recycling. 4. Options techniques for the recovery of the materials. 5. Material Recovery Facilities (MRF). 6. Key factors for the success of recycling programs. 7. Packaging waste. 8. Management of special wastes: Batteries and Accumulators; Used Tires; End of Life Vehicles (ELV); Waste Oils; Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE), constrution and demolion wastes (CDW). 9. Performance indicators for the collection systems. 10. Planning a program of selective collection.

Module 6. Biological recycling / composting (Prof Ana Silveira). 1. Fundamentals of composting. 2. Factors involved in the composting process. 3. Material balance. 4. Composting systems. 5. Control strategies of the composting process. 6. Quality criteria for compost. 7. Position and National Community in the field of organic recovery

Module 7. Energy recovery (Prof Ana Silveira). Incineration and other thermal processes.

Módule 8. Disposal of wastes – Landfills (Prof. Artur João Cabeças). Part I - Introduction: Concepts; National situation; EU and national politics - Directive 1999/31/CE; DL nº 152/2002 and ERB - National Strategy for the reduction of RUB destined to landfills. Part II - Landfill: General aspects; Types of landfills; Anatomy of one landfill; Basic reactions and processes; composition and production of leachate; Composition and production of landfill gases; Installations and infrastructures; Equipment; Landfill operation; Landfill closure and postclosure; Systems of environmental control: water and gases; Environmental quality monitoring at landfills.

Module 9. Social and economic issues of waste management (Prof. Graça Martinho). 1. Psychology of the reduction and recycling of waste: attitudes and behaviors towards waste; strategies for behavior change. 2. Economic instruments applied to waste: waste management fee; tariff waste; ecovalores; systems consignment.