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CODE 108886
SEMESTER 1° Semester


The topics addressed in the present course are related to environmental protection and sustainable development. The course aims to provide the theoretical and practical knowledge essential for the design and management of solid waste treatment and disposal plants in view of circular economy principles. Basic knowledge of both national and European waste legislation will be provided considering also the recent updates. The different plant configurations will be presented and the collection models for sustainable waste management will be analyzed. The main issues and criticisms will be also discussed through case studies analysis.



The teaching focuses on sustainable waste management models and the application of the principles of circular economy, closing cycles, and recovery of material and energy from waste. A further aim is to compare different technologies and treatment systems to identify the least impactful operational solution among those applicable


At the end of the teaching, students will be able to:

- Understand the basic concepts of sustainable development and circular economy.

- Describe the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda related to waste management and treatment.

- Know European and national regulatory framework on waste and the most recent updates.

- Understand the waste classification and the integrated solid waste management principles.

- Illustrate the treatment options applicable to the specific product fractions of waste.

- Sketch out the different configurations of integrated management and waste treatment processes.

- Describe the most recent approaches and research in the field of solid waste management and treatment.

- Understand the issues related to waste management and evaluate the optimal management strategies.


Basic knowledge related to mathematics, chemistry, and physics is advised, but it is not formally mandatory.


The teaching consists of frontal lessons, classroom exercises, small group activities, and a technical visit to a solid waste treatment plant. Self-assessment tests will be eventually carried out during the course to encourage the learning process of the students.

Students who have valid certification of physical or learning disabilities on file with the University and who wish to discuss possible accommodations or other circumstances regarding lectures, coursework and exams, should speak both with the instructor and with Professor Federico Scarpa ( ), the Polytechnic School's disability liaison.


The teaching program includes the presentation and discussion of the following topics:

- Introduction to the concept of Sustainable Development, the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (17 SDGs). Description of Goal 12 and related sub-goals for sustainable waste management.

- Principles of the linear economy and transition towards the circular economy. Circular economy criteria.

- European and national waste framework directives. "Circular economy" and "Green Deal" Directives. Italian National Program for waste management.

- Waste classification and CER code, quantitative aspects related to waste production, and notes on hazardous wastes.

- Composition of municipal solid waste (MSW). MSW integrated management systems. Measures for waste production prevention.

- Separate collection of waste. Types of collection systems. Municipal collection center.

- Multifunction platforms for waste separation and pre-treatment. 

- Materials recovery and recycling. National packaging consortium and supply chain consortia. Recycling of paper, plastic, and glass.

- Management and treatment of waste from electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).

- Organic fraction of MSW: origin and characteristics.

- Biological treatments: anaerobic digestion, composting. Presentation and discussion of case studies.

- Mechanical biological treatment (MBT) and secondary solid fuel (SSF).

- Energy recovery technologies form waste. Incineration. Presentation and discussion of case study.

- Landfilling: design and management. Collection and treatment of biogas and leachate.

- Gaseous effluents collected at waste treatment plants: general description and treatment technologies.

- Notes on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA): general framework and application to waste management.

Some specialized seminars will be taught by leading experts, while a technical visit to a waste treatment plant will be organized during the course.

At the beginning of the course, a detailed teaching program will be provided to the students.


The teaching materials (slides and exercises) will be available to students on Aulaweb.
The following textbooks and legislations are suggested for deepening the topics covered in the course:

  • De Feo, De Gisi, Galasso. “Rifiuti solidi. Progettazione e gestione di impianti per il trattamento e lo smaltimento” Flaccovio.
  • Thomas H. Christensen, “Solid Waste Technology & Management”, 2011, Wiley.
  • D’antonio. “Trattamento dei rifiuti solidi urbani. Tecniche di smaltimento finale”. Maggioli Editore.
  • Rapporto periodico ASviS (Alleanza Italiana per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile), e.g., anno 2022 (ISBN 979-12-80634-15-3)
  • Rapporto periodico Rifiuti Urbani (Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale - ISPRA), e.g., anno 2022 (ISBN 978-88-448-1145-7)
  • D.Lgs. n. 152 del 2006, Testo Unico sull’ambiente.




Lessons will start according to the academic calendar of Master Degree.

Class timetables are posted on the EasyAcademy portal.

Class schedule

The timetable for this course is available here: Portale EasyAcademy



The final examination consists of an oral exam on the topics discussed during the lectures.

The case studies analyzed and the exercises carried out in the classroom will be part of the exam topics.


The oral exam aims to ascertain the ability to understand the topics covered in the teaching and to apply the learned concepts to broad or particular cases by critically analyzing the advantages and disadvantages. The ability to synthesize and present will be evaluated along with the accuracy in describing the topics, and the proper use of technical lexicon. Critical reasoning skills will also be judged.

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals
Quality education
Quality education
Clean water and sanitation
Clean water and sanitation
Affordable and clean energy
Affordable and clean energy
Sustainable cities and communities
Sustainable cities and communities
Responbile consumption and production
Responbile consumption and production
Climate action
Climate action