Characterizing Emissions from Open Burning of Military Food Waste and Ration Packaging Compositions

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Emissions from open burning of military food waste and ration packaging compositions were characterized in response to health concerns from open burning disposal of waste, such as at military forward operating bases. Emissions from current and prototype Meals, Ready-to-Eat (MREs), and material options for their associated fiberboard packaging were quantified to assess contributions of the individual components. MREs account for 67–100% of the particulate matter (PM), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and -furans (PCDDs/PCDFs) emissions when burned in unison with the current fiberboard container and liner. The majority of the particles emitted from these burns are of median diameter 2.5 µm (PM2.5). Metal emission factors were similar regardless of waste composition. Measurements of VOCs and PAHs indicate that targeted replacement of MRE components may be more effective in reducing emissions than variation of fiberboard-packaging types. Despite MRE composition variation, equivalent emission factors for PM, PAH, VOC, and PCDD/PCDF were seen. Similarly, for fiberboard packaging, composition variations exhibited essentially equivalent PM, PAH, VOC, and PCDD/PCDF emission factors amongst themselves. This study demonstrated a composition-specific analysis of waste burn emissions, assessing the impact of waste component substitution using military rations.


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© Springer Japan KK (outside the USA) 2017

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Material Cycles and Waste Management