Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) is a waste management process that combines mechanical and biological processes to treat mixed waste streams. MBT is employed within the framework of the circular economy to recover resources, reduce landfilling, and minimize the environmental impact of waste disposal. It involves several stages to sort, recover, and treat waste, aligning with circular economy principles:
Waste Sorting: MBT facilities typically begin by mechanically sorting waste to remove larger items and recyclable materials like plastics, metals, and paper. This sorting process enhances the recovery of valuable materials that can be recycled, reducing the need for new resource extraction.
Biological Treatment: After mechanical sorting, the remaining organic waste undergoes biological treatment. This can include composting or anaerobic digestion to break down organic materials and produce useful products like compost or biogas. These products can be used in agriculture or energy production, contributing to resource utilization and energy recovery.
Material Recovery: The sorted recyclable materials are further processed to improve their quality and suitability for recycling. This step aligns with the circular economy’s focus on producing high-quality recycled materials for reuse in manufacturing.
Landfill Diversion: MBT aims to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills. By recovering materials and treating organic waste, MBT facilities divert significant portions of waste from disposal, promoting sustainable waste management practices.
Energy Recovery: Anaerobic digestion of organic waste during the biological treatment process can yield biogas, which can be used for energy generation. This contributes to energy recovery and reduces the reliance on fossil fuels.
Closed-Loop Systems: The recovered materials can be reintroduced into production processes, forming closed-loop material cycles that characterize the circular economy. This reduces the need for new raw materials and minimizes environmental impact.
Environmental Benefits: MBT facilities can reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with landfilling by capturing biogas and promoting organic waste degradation in controlled conditions.
Regulation Compliance: MBT processes often align with waste management regulations and waste diversion targets set by governments, helping regions move towards more sustainable waste management practices.
It’s important to note that the effectiveness of MBT depends on factors like waste composition, facility design, and local regulations. While MBT offers significant benefits, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution and should be integrated into a comprehensive waste management strategy tailored to each region’s needs.
In summary, Mechanical Biological Treatment is a waste management approach that aligns with the circular economy’s goals by promoting resource recovery, waste reduction, energy generation, and environmental protection. It demonstrates a more holistic and sustainable approach to handling mixed waste streams compared to traditional landfill disposal.