Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Dirk P. Yamamoto, PhD.


U.S. military forces have relied primarily on open burning as an expedient method of volume reduction and treatment of solid waste during the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. This study is the first effort to characterize a broad range of pollutants and their emission factors during the burning of military waste and the effects that recycling efforts, namely removing plastics, might have on emissions. Piles of simulated military waste were constructed, burned, and emissions sampled at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Open Burn Testing Facility (OBTF), Research Triangle Park, NC. Three tests contained polyethylene terephthalate (PET #1 or PET) plastic water bottles and four did not. Emission factors for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter (PM10, PM2.5), polychlorinated and polybrominated dioxins/furans (PCDD/F and PBDD/F), and criteria pollutants were determined and are contained within. The average PCDD/F emission factors were 270 ng-toxic equivalency (TEQ) per kg carbon burned (ng-TEQ/kg Cb), ranging from 35-780 ng-TEQ/kg Cb. Limited testing suggests that targeted removal of plastic water bottles has no apparent effect on reducing pollutants and may even promote increased emissions.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number