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Development and validation of a new direct sampling method for coarse mono- and mixed waste fractions bound in bales

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Sampling of coarse waste materials is considered to be a particularly challenging task and is at the same time the most crucial step in the overall data acquisition process. Despite this fact, research work on new sampling methods or new scientific approaches to sampling has been rather limited over the last decades. This paper focuses on a completely new sampling procedure for coarse two-dimensional materials similar to municipal solid waste or packaging plastics. The developed method is especially suitable for materials with particle sizes >100 mm and is based on the ‘press-and-drill method’ introduced by researchers from Fachhochschule Nordhausen. The basic idea is to sample the material in its compressed form (e.g. as bales) with a drilling tool in order to gain increments. The study presented in this paper shows the results of two extensive test series applying this new sampling technique to a middle-calorific fraction produced from packaging material (mainly plastics, textiles and paper). In parallel, the state-of-the-art approach was also applied on the same materials to gain valuable reference data. Results from both approaches are used for the extensive validation of the new sampling method. The verification of accuracy was realised by doping the material with defined pieces of foil containing molybdenum sulphide (MoS2) which acted as a tracer in the bale. The results obtained by the new direct bale sampling showed not only good accordance with the actual tracer content in each bale but also with results derived from the state-of-the-art approach. In this study, homogeneously distributed parameters (e.g. loss of ignition) were included just as inhomogeneously distributed elements (i.e. Cu). It is shown that sufficient representativeness for coarse materials (d 95 > 300 mm) is obtained despite relatively small sample amounts and without previous comminution of the material.
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Keywords: Environmental sampling; bales; heterogeneity; sampling design; sampling solid waste

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Chair of Waste Processing Technology and Waste Management, Montanuniversitaet Leoben, Leoben, Austria

Publication date: December 8, 2015

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