Thermal degradation kinetics of real-life reclaimed plastic solid waste (PSW) from an active landfill site: The mining of an unsanitary arid landfill

S. M. Al-Salem*, H. J. Karam, M. H. Al-Wadi, S. Alsamaq, G. Jiang, J. Wang, G. A. Leeke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Landfilling is viewed nowadays as a serious threat associated with various burdens and stressors on the urban environment. To date, there is little information available on actual value of landfilled waste namely plastic solid waste (PSW) resulting from mining operations. In this work, PSW reclaimed from an active unsanitary landfill site (MAB) has been studied with the aim of determining its thermal profile and degradation behaviour for future utilisation in thermo-chemical conversion (TCC) processes. The materials were characterised by thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) in accordance with internationally approved test methods in a simulated pyrolytic environment. In addition, chemical analysis using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) was applied to study the nature of the materials reclaimed. The degradation kinetics of the reclaimed PSW were studied with the aim of determining the apparent activation energy (Ea) of the pyrolytic reactions. The Ea values determined ranged from 199 to 266 kJ mol−1 which is in-line with pyrolytic reactions applicable for future use in fuel recovery units. TGA showed a clear shift in thermograms indicating a clear change in the degradation mechanism. The physico-chemical studies conducted on the materials also favours TCC treatment over other conventional end of life options such as physical (mechanical) recycling or incineration. The degradation mechanism was also determined from the Criado method showing that Avarami-Erofeve was the model that best represents PSW degradation. Overall, this work points towards future intervention schemes for reclaimed municipal solid waste (MSW) and in particular PSW favouring TCC technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)983-993
Number of pages11
JournalAin Shams Engineering Journal
Issue number1
Early online date26 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

©2020 THE AUTHORS. Published by Elsevier BV on behalf of Faculty of Engineering, Ain Shams University. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (


  • Degradation
  • Kinetics
  • Mining
  • Plastic
  • Pyorlysis


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