The solid waste disposal problem has grown significantly in the last decades imposing a lot of pressure on disposal and treatment acts. In the past, incineration and landfilling were the common methods for disposing of products of municipal solid waste. With the increasing volumes of waste generation and the legislative restrictions of these treatment methods, reuse of bulk waste is foreseen as the best alternative to disposal. Due to the current widespread use of plastic products in daily life, post consumer plastics now contribute significantly to municipal solid waste generation rates with a contradicting low participation in waste minimization practices. The notable variation in composition and properties of these material in the waste stream together with the high sorting and separation costs has limited their reuse and recycling options to low value products with poor physical and mechanical properties. This thesis proposes an alternative recycling method to divert mixed post-consumer plastics away from dump sites through the production of an environmentally safe construction material. The engineering and service properties of the proposed new recycled plastic waste composite were evaluated and presented. Mechanical testing including compression, flexural strength and hardness were conducted on mixes with different sand contents, sand sieve size and different mixing temperatures in order to evaluate the effect of each variable on the investigated properties. Abrasion resistance, water absorption, chemical resistance and Vicat softening temperature were performed to assess the effectiveness of the composite material for the proposed application. In addition, investigation of heavy metals content by a water leaching test was carried out together with an air quality test of the produced emissions in order to assess the health hazards associated with the anticipated material use and production. The test results revealed that the new material is suitable for use as pedestrian and light traffic paving brick. The compressive strength was 7.25% higher than the ASTM limit. The composite material also revealed a high modulus of rupture compared to clay bricks and industrial floor bricks indicating its potential for use in structural service requirements. The abrasion resistance of the composite material was 70% higher than the Egyptian standard limit for cement tiles allowing for its use in tiling applications. The composite material exhibited very low density and water absorption rate in comparison to cement tiles and paving units. In addition, the material showed high chemical resistance to acidic and alkaline attack allowing for its use as industrial flooring. The softening temperature of the composite material was much higher than the maximum service temperature expected during summer. Finally, the recycled plastic waste composite demonstrated no health hazards or toxicity as revealed by the water leaching test.
School of Sciences and Engineering
Interdisciplinary Engineering Program
Date of Award
Online Submission Date
Salah El Haggar
Committee Member 1
Mounir Mohamed Kamal
Committee Member 2
Committee Member 3
Library of Congress Subject Heading 1
Library of Congress Subject Heading 2
Recycling (Waste, etc.)
The American University in Cairo grants authors of theses and dissertations a maximum embargo period of two years from the date of submission, upon request. After the embargo elapses, these documents are made available publicly. If you are the author of this thesis or dissertation, and would like to request an exceptional extension of the embargo period, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Abou Khatwa, M.
(2003).Utilization of municipal solid waste rejects in the production of a recycled plastic waste composite material [Thesis, the American University in Cairo]. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
Abou Khatwa, Mohamed Kamal. Utilization of municipal solid waste rejects in the production of a recycled plastic waste composite material. 2003. American University in Cairo, Thesis. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.