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Chapter 2.

1 Definition and classification


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General definition
A hazardous waste has the potential to cause an unacceptable risk to:

PUBLIC HEALTH THE ENVIRONMENT

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Why definition is difficult


The hazard associated with a waste depends on: COMPOSITION PHYSICAL FORM

HAZARDOUS WASTE

CHEMICAL PROPERTIES

PHYSICAL PROPERTIES

BIOLOGICAL PROPERTIES
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Examples of hazardous waste definitions: Basel Convention


45 categories of wastes that are presumed to be hazardous.

PLUS ...

These categories of waste need to exhibit one or more hazardous characteristics: flammable, oxidising, poisonous, infectious, corrosive, ecotoxic

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Examples of hazardous waste definitions: UNEP


Wastes other than radioactive wastes which, by reason of their chemical activity or toxic, explosive, corrosive or other characteristics cause danger or are likely to cause danger to health or the environment

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Examples of hazardous waste definitions: USA


UNDER US EPA REGULATIONS: 1 The waste is listed in EPA regulations 2 The waste is tested and meets one of the four characteristics established by EPA: Ignitable Corrosive Reactive Toxic 3 The waste is declared hazardous by the generator
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Examples of hazardous waste definitions: European Waste Catalogue

A core list of 850 types of waste Of these, around 420 are classified as hazardous wastes These are divided into 19 main categories

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The objective of definitions


Why define wastes? To decide whether or not that waste should be controlled - this is important for the generator as well as the regulator Why create a list? Clear and simple No need for testing

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Different methods of classification


Lists eg Basel Convention Annex I, Basel List A, EU European Waste Catalogue, US EPA list Origin eg processes, Basel Convention Annex II Hazardous characteristics eg toxicity, reactivity, Basel Convention Annex III Chemical and physical properties eg inorganic, organic, oily, sludges Need to match classification to objectives No method will suit all cases

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Methods of waste classification: by origin

Waste streams eg Basel Convention Miscellaneous or ubiquitous wastes eg contaminated soils dusts redundant pesticides from agriculture hospital wastes

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Example of waste classification by origin: Basel


The Basel Conventions List of Hazardous Waste Categories (Y1-Y18) identifies wastes from specific processes eg Y1 Clinical wastes Y6 Wastes from the production and use of organic solvents Y18 Residues from industrial waste disposal operations

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Methods of waste classification: by hazardous characteristics


Main characteristics: Toxic Corrosive

Ignitable Reactive

UN Committee on the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road or Rail (ADR) lists waste characteristics. These have been adopted by Basel Convention - Annex III gives 13 characteristics, based on ADR rules, including: Explosive Flammable Toxic and eco-toxic Represented as codes H1-H13
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Hazardous characteristics: Toxicity


Toxic wastes are harmful or fatal when ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin

Examples: Spent cyanide solutions Waste pesticides

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Hazardous characteristics: Corrosivity


Acids or alkalis that are capable of dissolving human flesh and corroding metal such as storage tanks and drums

Examples: acids from metals cleaning processes eg ferric chloride from printed circuit board manufacture liquor from steel manufacture

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Hazardous characteristics: Ignitability


Ignitable wastes: can create fires under certain conditions or are spontaneously combustible Examples: Waste oils Used solvents Organic cleaning materials Paint wastes

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Hazardous characteristics: Reactivity


Reactive wastes are unstable under normal conditions They can cause: explosions toxic fumes gases or vapours Examples: Peroxide solutions Hypochlorite solutions or solids

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Hazardous characteristics: Eco-toxicity


Eco-toxic wastes are harmful or fatal to other species or to the ecological integrity of their habitats

Examples: Heavy metals Detergents Oils Soluble salts

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Methods of waste classification: by chemical, biological and physical properties

Inorganic wastes eg acids, alkalis, heavy metals, cyanides, wastewaters from electroplating Organic wastes eg pesticides, halogenated and non-halogenated solvents, PCBs Oily wastes eg lubricating oils, hydraulic fluids, contaminted fuel oils Sludges eg from metal working, painting, wastewater treatment
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Relative composition of hazardous waste types by region

Source: INTERNATIONAL MARITIME ORGANISATION Global waste survey, final report 1995

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Exclusions from control systems

Some wastes may be excluded from the legal definition of hazardous wastes, and thus not subject to controls. These vary, but may include:

Hazardous waste from households - outside the controls in many countries Small quantity generators - often placed outside the system, at least initially Aqueous effluents discharged to sewer or treated on-site controlled separately from hazardous wastes in most countries Sewage sludge - excluded in some countries Mining wastes - often excluded Agricultural waste - often excluded Nuclear waste - always excluded
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Chapter 2.1 Summary


This chapter sets out the need for definitions, and why definition is difficult It provides examples of definitions: Basel Convention, UNEP, USEPA, European Waste Catalogue It gives the objective of definitions It describes classification methods: by origin, by hazardous characteristics, by chemical, biological and physical properties It covers exclusions from definitions

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