Can the New Waste Morphology Method Predict Sorting Plants Operational and Financial Challenges? A Case Study in Sharjah




Waste, Morphology, Recovery, Sorting, avoidance, recycling.


This article presents a new approach to analysing municipal waste (MSW) composition, which makes it possible to envisage sorting process efficiency and predict valuable secondary raw material (SRM) losses during sorting. The study also enables to foresee financial losses related to the quality recyclables that are reclaimed from MSW. In this article, samples from MSW delivered to Bee’ah site in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were analysed to define their composition. The novelty in this research was the mechanical and physical property analysis for the MSW components and the prediction mechanism used to foresee the possible recovery rate of a potential mechanical sorting process. The results were compared with those that would be obtained from traditional composition analysis to end up with shocking results. It was concluded that any mechanical sorting process, designed based on traditional analysis data, is mostly to face tremendous operational and financial challenges in the UAE. This is due to the input material shape, size, moisture content and other factors that change the way SRM components respond to sorting mechanisms. The study was able not only to explain the challenges faced by all the UAE sorting facilities, but also to show how to prevent such unsatisfactory performance in the future. The study concluded the reasons behind the MSW component deterioration and provided additional recommendations to extract more benefits from the new waste morphology approach.