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Module DXX-3402:
Waste Management & Utilisation

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Prysor Williams

Overall aims and purpose

Overall Aims and Purpose • To enable students to appreciate the importance of waste management and utilisation in the context of sustainable development. • To provide students with an understanding of the drivers governing materials consumption and disposal in the past, present and future. • To allow students to generate and develop ideas and take part in class discussions on materials utilisation and end life issues (cradle to grave). • To allow students to consider the implications and impact of waste disposal and recycling strategies from scientific and socio-economic perspectives.

Course content

The world is using natural resources at an unprecedented rate, often with little thought given to the efficient use of those resources or the consequences of disposal. The current trend has led to generation of significant volumes of waste. This often represents a loss of potentially valuable product, in addition to causing a wide range of issues related to pollution and health, greenhouse gas emissions, and limited landfill availability. Governments and society now have to meet increasingly stringent targets for reducing waste volumes; indeed, effective waste management and utilisation is now regarded as an inherent part of sustainable development. This module will explore the implications of our present behaviour around waste generation and materials utilisation, will look at the options and issues surrounding different strategies for dealing with waste, and will consider the changes needed to manage and utilise waste and materials in a sustainable manner.

Assessment Criteria


Good (C- to B+) A good grasp of the subject matter, evidence of some supplementary reading, few errors of facts, evidence of misunderstanding of some of the subject matter. Statements supported by factual information, but not in a fully consistent and comprehensive manner. Essays having structure, but not being structured in a fully logical or consistent manner. Use of diagrams to support concepts where appropriate and where they add to the understanding of the points being made, but not always used appropriately. Very Good (60-70%) A very good understanding of the subject matter, evidence of a moderate amount of supplementary reading, with very few errors of facts, little misunderstanding of the subject matter. Statements supported by factual information in a largely consistent and essentially comprehensive manner. Essays structured in a logical or consistent manner, but with some inappropriate development of thought or arguments. Use of diagrams to support concepts where appropriate and where they add to the understanding of the points being made.


Excellent (A- to A**) Excellent grasp of subject matter and knowledge of subject, evidence of substantial supplementary reading with no errors of facts, no misunderstanding of the subject matter. Statements supported by factual information in a consistent and comprehensive manner. Essays structured in a logical or consistent manner. Imaginative and appropriate use of diagrams to support concepts where they add to the understanding of the points being made.


Threshold (D- to D+) Fundamentals of key points covered, some serious inaccuracies, misunderstandings and misconceptions, no evidence of supplementary reading. An adequate but low understanding of the concepts presented in the course. Little provided in the way of factual information to support statements. Little evidence of a structured approach to essay writing. No attempt to use diagrams to support the concepts introduced in the essay, where such use would be of benefit.

Learning outcomes

  1. Have an understanding of the drivers of materials consumption and waste generation in both developed and developing countries.

  2. Understand the various problems associated with end of life disposal of materials.

  3. Have knowledge of the various legislative procedures concerning disposal and recycling.

  4. Appreciate the benefits and problems (scientific and socio-economic) associated with different waste management strategies.

  5. Be able to consider the criteria that should be used to determine the environmental credentials of materials usage (LCA's, renewable energy generation, etc.).

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Student Presentation 30
Examination 70

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study

Private and guided self-study


22 h of lectures


A visit to a waste management facility taking in multiple streams of different wastes. This will enable students to see and discuss the practicalities of waste management, "upcycling", communication and education, and the social / community benefits from appropriate utilisation of waste streams.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting

Subject specific skills

  • Recognize and apply appropriate theories and concepts from a range of disciplines.
  • Consider issues from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives.
  • Apply subject knowledge to the understanding and addressing of problems.
  • Awareness of the concepts of spatial and temporal scale in understanding processes and relationships.
  • Appreciation of the reciprocal nature of human-environmental relationships.
  • Understand the provisional nature of information and appreciate competing and alternative explanations.


Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: