EC.716 | Fall 2015 | Undergraduate

D-Lab: Waste


Second Reflection Paper: Material Stream

Second Reflection

Subject: Difficult Waste Streams

The goal of this paper is to explore a difficult waste stream by either looking at it through: A specific waste stream and the types of processes / disposal that can be used or evaluating a case study on how a difficult waste stream is disposed in an area.

Difficult wastes are those which can be harmful to human health or the environment, or where the physical properties of the wastes can create serious handling problems.


  • E-waste
  • Medical Waste
  • Plastics
  • Nuclear waste
  • Sanitary waste (diapers, sanitary napkins, etc.)
  • Human waste

Material Stream

Choose one material that is difficult to handle and compare / contrast the different processes / disposal options for that waste streams

City / Case Study / Area / Jurisdiction

Choose one city / country / etc.; outline and evaluate the processes / disposal mechanisms employed to handle a difficult waste stream. For example: Look at Ghana’s e-waste disposal in one housing settlement and dumpsite or Japan’s disposal of nuclear waste.

Paper Requirements

  • 4–5 pages
    • At least 4 pages of writing
    • 5 pages with charts / graphs, etc.
  • Font: Helvetica: 12 font; 1.5 spacing
  • Graphs and charts go into the Appendix
  • Graded on:
    • Scope of paper
    • Synthesis of material presented in paper
    • Integration of class content (for example: ISWM, LCA, etc)
  • Paper Structure
    • Background (Scope of paper)
      • If material stream:
        • Why did you choose the material?
        • How much of the material is being consumed?
        • LCA of handling, processing and disposing of this material
      • If case study:
        • Why did you choose this case? What material stream will you focus on and why?
        • Introduce the case (population, location, socioeconomics, any other pertinent details)
        • LCA of existing handling, processing, disposal of waste stream
    • Detailed analysis and synthesis of researched material
      • If material stream:
        • What are the current handling, technologies, processes and disposal options for this material? How do they compare in economic cost, scale, and pros / cons?
        • Use LCA to describe the human and environmental cost for each of the handling and disposal options
        • Compare the cost of the different technologies / processes / disposal options
        • Introduce some of the legislation around control of this material. For example: Choose one or two countries and outline how they regulate the handling, processing and disposal of this material or give us a general outline of what legislation can be used to regulate this material.
      • If case study:
        • What does the current system of WM for this stream entail? Process from A to Z, economic cost, scale, pros / cons?
        • Use LCA to describe any human and environmental cost for each of the handling and disposal options
        • Compare the city / country’s current WM with that of other city / country
    • In conclusion: Propose an actionable outcome from research that either you (the student) or some other actor could move forward
      • For example:
        • What gaps need to be filled in the existing research?
        • What actions could propel further movement in the space of your research?
        • What other innovations (system, technology, policy) could help the space of your research?

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2015
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Projects with Examples
Written Assignments
Instructor Insights