During incineration of municipal solid waste (MSW), various environmentally harmful elements and heavy metals are liberated either into bottom ash, or carried away with the off-gases and subsequently trapped in fly-ash. If these minor but harmful elements are not properly isolated and immobilized, it can lead to secondary environmental pollution to the air, soil and water. The stricter environmental regulations to be implemented in the near future in the Netherlands require a higher immobilization efficiency of the bottom ash treatment. In the present study, MSW incinerator bottom ash was vitrified at higher temperatures and the slag formed and metal recovered were examined. The behaviour of soluble elements that remain in the slag is evaluated by leaching extraction. The thermodynamics of slag and metal formation is discussed. The results obtained can provide a valuable route to treat the ashes from incinerators, and to make recycling and more efficient utilization of the bottom ash possible.

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