Unit weight of municipal solid waste

Dimitrios Zekkos, Jonathan D. Bray, Edward Kavazanjian, Neven Matasovic, Ellen M. Rathje, Michael F. Riemer, Kenneth H. Stokoe

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

212 Scopus citations


The unit weight of municipal solid waste (MSW) is an important parameter in engineering analyses of landfill performance, but significant uncertainty currently exists regarding its value. A careful review of reliable field data shows that individual landfills have a characteristic MSW unit weight profile. Based on in situ unit weight data and trends observed in large-scale laboratory tests, a hyperbolic relationship was developed to represent this characteristic MSW unit weight profile. Within the context of this characteristic profile, landfill-specific values of MSW unit weight depend primarily on waste composition, operational practices (i.e., compaction, cover soil placement, and liquids management), and confining stress. Guidance is provided for developing landfill-specific MSW unit weight profiles, including procedures for performing large-scale tests for in situ measurement of MSW unit weight at a landfill.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1250-1261
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2006


  • Density
  • Landfills
  • Municipal wastes
  • Waste management
  • Waste sites
  • Weight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Environmental Science(all)


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