Insights into metals in individual fine particles from municipal solid waste using synchrotron radiation-based micro-analytical techniques

Yumin Zhu , Hua Zhang , Liming Shao , Pinjing He


Received February 21, 2014,Revised May 10, 2014, Accepted , Available online January 19, 2015

Volume 27,2015,Pages 298-308

Excessive inter-contamination with heavy metals hampers the application of biological treatment products derived from mixed or mechanically-sorted municipal solid waste (MSW). In this study, we investigated fine particles of < 2 mm, which are small fractions in MSW but constitute a significant component of the total heavy metal content, using bulk detection techniques. A total of 17 individual fine particles were evaluated using synchrotron radiation-based micro-X-ray fluorescence and micro-X-ray diffraction. We also discussed the association, speciation and source apportionment of heavy metals. Metals were found to exist in a diffuse distribution with heterogeneous intensities and intense hot-spots of < 10 μm within the fine particles. Zn-Cu, Pb-Fe and Fe-Mn-Cr had significant correlations in terms of spatial distribution. The overlapped enrichment, spatial association, and the mineral phases of metals revealed the potential sources of fine particles from size-reduced waste fractions (such as scraps of organic wastes or ceramics) or from the importation of other particles. The diverse sources of heavy metal pollutants within the fine particles suggested that separate collection and treatment of the biodegradable waste fraction (such as food waste) is a preferable means of facilitating the beneficial utilization of the stabilized products.

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