Computer models have been used for almost a decade to model and analyze various aspects of solid waste management. Commercially available models exist for estimating the capital and operating costs of landfills, waste-to-energy facilities and compost systems and for optimizing system performance along a single dimension (e.g. cost or transportation distance).
An alternative to the use of currently available models is the more flexible macro material flow modeling approach in which a macro scale or regional level approach is taken. Waste materials are tracked through the complete integrated waste management cycle from generation through recycling and reuse, and finally to ultimate disposal.
Such an approach has been applied by the authors to two different applications. STELLA simulation language (for Macintosh computers) was used to model the solid waste management system of Puerto Rico. The model incorporated population projections for all 78 municipalities in Puerto Rico from 1990 to 2010, solid waste generation factors, remaining life for the existing landfills, and projected startup time for new facilities. The Pacific Northwest Laboratory has used the SimScript simulation language (for Windows computers) to model the management of solid and hazardous wastes produced during cleanup and remediation activities at the Hanford Nuclear Site.
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