Technologies for the Recycling of Agricultural Wastes in Intensive Crop Production Systems Developed so Far in the Mediterranean Countries

Population growth, an increase in quality of life and changes in behavioral patterns have caused an increase in the quantity of waste produced by modern society. Possible treatment methods include:

  • 1. Landfilling.
  • 2. Waste incineration or combustion to produce energy.
  • 3. Recycling.

The most common waste treatment method used today throughout the world is landfilling. The advantage of this method is that up until the last decade, its cost was low. However recently with an increase in environmental awareness, the desire to move waste disposal sites far away from population centers, the problems of finding new sites and the consideration of external costs, landfilling costs have increased significantly. The second waste treatment alternative - waste incineration or combustion to produce energy - is an effective method, however the costs of establishing and operating incineration plants are very high. In addition, air quality laws and regulations are limiting the incineration of waste due to the serious concern of air pollution. An increase in the quantity of municipal, industrial and agricultural waste simultaneously with a reduction in the volumetric capacity of incineration sites and an increase in incineration costs are encouraging the recycling of the organic component in waste. For example, composting yard waste is a common waste stabilization process in many American states and in Western Europe (Germany) where its products are recycled for use in agriculture and domestic gardening. After years of research in the United States, the EPA determined that the controlled decomposition of organic waste (composting) is one of the best solutions proposed for treating organic waste and is the most effective longterm treatment methods.

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