Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

W. Brent Nixon, PhD


The maximum recovery of recyclables from municipal solid waste (MSW) using material recovery facility (MRF) technologies is determined. Two waste streams at Spangdahlem AB, Germany are analyzed; stationary container wastes and commingled recyclables. Three schemes are considered, one for each waste stream, and one for both. Multi-criteria decision making is the methodology. The criteria are recovery and annual benefit minus cost (B-C). Recovery is determined using the recovery factor transfer function of Diaz et al. (1982). Each technology, or unit operation, in a sequence is independent because particle size distribution of each waste component is considered. B-C is based on revenue from sold recyclables, tipping fees saved by not landfilling separated waste, and manual labor and amortized equipment costs. Six unit operations are considered: eddy current separator (ECS), magnet, air classifier, screen, manual sort, and shredder. Sequences one to six operations long are considered. Three heuristics eliminate 42,179 of 55,986 potential sequences as infeasible. The result is domination by a MRF to process both wastes and a tradeoff between 35.7% recovery of the total at an annual B-C of $0.95 million and recovery of 35.6% at an annual B-C of $1.02 million. Hand sort recovers the most, and is economical.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number



The author's Vita page is omitted.