Hazardous waste disposal, (UK and worldwide), can be a problem for the companies that generate the waste. For this reason most companies contract the work out to specialists who have the trained and experienced personnel, as well as the equipment and machinery, to deal with the problem.
Hazardous Waste Disposal
Hazardous waste collection and disposal becomes necessary as a result of spills, or because it is generated by a particular process (for example, rig decommissioning). Some industries, such as the oil and gas industry, as well as the chemical industry generate a lot of hazardous waste in the course of their business. All of it has to be properly and safely dealt with.
Industries who incur hazardous waste as a result of unexpected spills need to have specialist companies on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They must be able to deal with the matter in a prompt and responsible manner.
Most hazardous waste must be collected first. The collection of hazardous waste is onsite where it can be temporarily stored in receiving vessels for transfer to specialist storage facilities. Such storage facilities can usually accept large quantities of waste, and can separate mixed waste if required. Oily water, drilling mud and cuttings are typical of the kind of hazardous waste that might be collected from the oil industry. Oily water can be separated into oil and water. The two parts are dealt with differently. Oil contaminated soil also needs to be treated properly and any waste disposed of.
The companies who are contracted to deal with the waste are required to have licensed facilities where they can transfer and treat contaminated waste. They also need to have the proper trained and experienced personnel to carry out any collecting, cleaning and disposal operation that may be required. At the time of writing, if a company produces contaminated or hazardous waste in excess of 500 kilograms or 500 litres in any one year they are required to register with the Environment Agency in the UK. This means that they will also need the services of a registered waste disposal specialist on a contractual basis.
Should a company produce less than the stated amount of hazardous or contaminated waste, it still has to be dealt with in the appropriate manner; even though they don’t need to register with the Environment Agency. They are required to have a consignment note for the collection and movement of hazardous and contaminated waste. The consignment note identifies the type of waste being dealt with and it also tracks its movement. This ensures a greater degree of safety to all those involved, as well as to the general public.
In short, hazardous waste disposal (UK mainland or offshore), is big business. Our ever increasing demand for products that produce these wastes, as a necessary part of their production, shows no signs of letting up. This means that those who specialise in hazardous waste collection and disposal are likely to have plenty of work to keep them busy for a long time to come.
Energy generation and waste disposal are two of the most difficult tasks a nation needs to accomplish. Sufficing for both is such a huge challenge though because energy generation itself produces wastes. For decades, much research and development have been invested in searching for ways to generate electricity with little or totally no waste by-products. Such efforts lead to the boom of renewable energy and the rise of the sustainability industry.
The sustainability industry advocates the use of green energy technologies for power generation. Such technologies include solar power, wind power, geothermal power, hydro power, wave power, and other technologies that do little or no harm to the environment. These methods of energy generation, though much less harmful than the prevalent ones such as coal and petroleum, are being held back by the fact that they lack in terms of efficiency, as well as huge capital is needed if they are to be put in large scale processes. As the general use of green energy technologies seems to be very distant, a new discovery has been made that has the potential to revolutionize not only the sustainability industry but the whole energy market.
The biosphere gasification process not only solves the problem of clean energy generation, it also solves the problem of disposing of existing wastes. Biosphere energy, the latest addition to Waste-to-Energy technologies, converts solid wastes into green electricity. It involves the use of biosphere machines to heat the waste materials to extreme temperatures, transforming them into steam and later into electrical power. The entire process is done in oxygen limited chambers thus greatly limiting carbon emissions.
The biosphere gasification technology was developed by Dr. Chris McCormack, a world renowned author of several scientific and environmental books and also the CEO of Global Environmental Energy Corporation (GEECF). The said technology gave birth to the clean energy disposal system named The Biosphere MK-V. The Biosphere MK-V not only entails economic security through oil independence, it also completely eliminates the need for landfills thus freeing up land that can be utilized for other purposes. Not only are solid wastes eliminated with BMK-V, greenhouse gas emissions are also reduced by more than 90%, thus slowing the pace of global warming. It is believed that worldwide use of biosphere gasification will not only stop climate change, it will also provide enough room for things to reverse and world temperature to return to normal.
A biosphere process facility needs little initial investment compared to other energy generation technologies. No catalysts are also needed so the operating costs are greatly reduced. One biosphere facility is capable of recycling a maximum of 720 tons of solid wastes as well as destroying up to 172 tons of non-recyclable solid wastes per day.
The biosphere gasification process is already being utilized by developed countries all around the world such as the United States of America, United Kingdom, Germany, Beirut, China, Taiwan, Brazil, Libya, Italy, Canada, West Africa, Singapore, China, Japan, Russia, Canada, and soon in the Philippines. The said countries are already in the process of planning their transition towards making biosphere technology their primary means of generating electricity. Biosphere gasification has the potential to ultimately solve both the world’s need for energy and its problem on wastes.
Once, the management of waste would have meant the dustbin truck taking your refuse and transporting it to the local rubbish tip. Fortunately landfills are no longer regarded as an appropriate solution to dealing with waste; refuse, garbage, trash, rubbish, scrap, however you want to name it, is now being accepted as a valuable resource that shouldn’t only be land filled but found many valuable and resourceful uses for.
Governments and private companies aim to control waste by offering facilities to households and businesses to dispose of it, one of the main methods used are the provision of skip bins. Skip bins can be hired to collect a variety of waste including food, plastics, metal, furniture, timber and construction, garden and electronic waste. The kind of skip bin required will depend on the type of materials you are planning on disposing of. For example, green waste skip bins are used for anything from tree clippings to grass and hardfill skip bins for substances like concrete, soil, rubble and tiles.
Hazardous chemicals and contaminated waste can’t be put into skip bins due to the dangers involved and so for these materials it is necessary to call the local council and they will advise on how to dispose of them, hazardous substances include acids, solvents, cyanide waste materials, paints and oils. There are also bulk bins and skip bin hire solutions for the collection of refuse from businesses such as building and construction sites, large size developments and industrial companies. As well as skip bins, amenities are provided to safely dispose of and destroy private documents such as quarantine stock, computer hardcopy, tapes and microfiche and out of date products. Electronic waste is also recycled these days and includes components from disused computers and other IT equipment. Collection and treatment services exist for clinical and medical waste from businesses and industries such as laboratories, surgeries, veterinaries, dental surgeries, food processing plants and hospitals.
The skip hire industry and resource recovery facilities are particularly essential for the future of the environment as they create an awareness of how everyone can help in increasing the amount of waste recycled and thus reducing landfill. Nations all over the world are joining in the attempt to find ways of recycling waste, from using complicated methods to change the calorific content present in waste into electricity or sorting through landfills to remove recyclable materials and reduce the amount of waste that needs to be disposed of. Waste management is an ongoing problem for society, a problem that will never go away, but if managed effectively, can be controlled.
Waste management is important
Waste management is important since it has a major impact of human and community health. There could be chemical spills which could pose danger to water supplies. Poor landfills and incinerators could release cancerous carcinogen in the air and other pollutants. They could also be causes of pests, vermin, flies and other similar carriers of communicable diseases.
People would often associate that implementing waste management plans and policies is about protecting human health and the environment. Other than that, waste disposal could also have an impact on different environmental aspects such as climate change. Waste disposal can also be attributed in producing more greenhouse gases that makes the Earth’s climate warmer. Landfills in Asia, Latin America and Africa are to blame for about 40 % of methane emissions every year. That 40 % is equal to about 37 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
Experts approximate that developed and industrialized nations produce more waste compared to developing countries. In the United States, each American will produce an average of .75 tons of trash every year. Those in Europe are estimated to accumulate almost half a ton of trash annually. In Asia, an average person would produce .2 tons of trash annually.
Although, Asia has the lowest waste average, it does not mean that they have better waste management system. There are studies and surveys conducted in Asia about waste disposal procedure. According to World Bank, China’s whopping 190 million tons of waste every year is not totally properly disposed. Only less than 50 % of China’s solid waste are treated properly, whether it is through landfill or incineration. China is not alone. Other Asian countries, like India, Indonesia and the Philippines also have poor waste disposal methods.
Regardless of territories and boundaries, pollution affects everybody. Environmental problems in Asia could still affect North America, Europe and Africa. This is why there are efforts among different countries in helping each other resolve environmental and waste problems.
An example would be the efforts between European and Asian countries. Europe is leading in environmental technologies, about 60 % of environmental discoveries and technologies came from them. They would play a major role in helping Asian countries become aware of different environmental damage happening in their nations. Asian countries mostly would have to deal with issues of water and air pollution, waste management for both households and industries, deforestation and loss of biodiversity.
Countries, like the United States and Canada, are encouraging more individuals to go back to the basics of waste reduction: reduce, reuse and recycle. The government are passing laws, state regulations about trash disposal that would help homeowners to start smart and proper waste management at home.
The practice was carried on to war periods until it became a significant part in the modern approach to waste management. But unlike before, recycling efforts today are not pushed by the scarcity of resources; rather, they are a decent response to environmental issues. Waste management and recycling, specifically, are attempts to preserve the environment and protect all living things. And as the environment is continuously being threatened by massive waste production, recycling is hoped to be a global endeavor.
Recycling, why is it important?
Landfills and incinerators are the most common destinations of collected waste. Although proven helpful in waste disposal, these two have been widely criticized for their environmental effects. Burying waste in landfills particularly allows for the release of methane gas, a type of greenhouse gas that is even more dangerous than carbon dioxide. Aside from that, landfills can leach other hazardous materials and may cause water pollution. And because waste materials are known to take many years to decompose, with some requiring hundreds to thousands of years, more landfill space are needed, which are becoming expensive and scarce. Incinerators, meanwhile, similarly emit greenhouse gas and other toxic chemicals that endanger human health and trigger global climate changes. Recycling responds to these problems by decreasing the volume of waste sent to landfills and incinerators. Rather than disposed of, waste materials are turned into something more useful.
By making new products out of used products, recycling contributes to the conservation of energy. Generally, it takes less energy to process an already processed material. For instance, the production of paper using recycled materials uses 40% less of the time needed to make the same product from virgin materials. This energy conservation also provides small openings for water and air pollution. In the same way, recycling significantly reduces the consumption of raw materials, which naturally contributes to the conservation of resources. Recycling a ton of newspaper, for instance, saves 12 trees.
But aside from the environmental benefits, the economical benefits of recycling are also one reason it has been practiced in many countries. On a national scale, recycling can create a lot of jobs that offer decent wages. And with the recycling industry becoming even more successful, more businesses are expected to grow and provide more job opportunities. Individuals, on the other hand, can make small business through recycling projects. They can create new products, such as bags and cards, from scraps and sell them for a small price. Selling scrap materials to certain organizations and individuals, who in turn will make recycled items for reselling, is as well a good way to earn money.
Buying recyclable and recycled products is also encouraged to support the recycling industry and as a whole to protect the environment. The symbol of three moving arrows on a product signifies it is recyclable. Such arrows represent the process of recycling: from becoming a waste to reprocessing to reselling. And this symbol coined the term “close the loop,” an accurate representation of waste management and recycling.
The plan should detail the production and management of waste, including accurate details showing quantities to be disposed of and recycled. From April 2007 in England, Site Waste Management Plans. have been required on almost every site. But his is no matter as most local authorities are already requesting these as a part of planning permission procedures.
Waste Management Site Plans a UK Government Initiative
SWMPs might just be the latest in a long line of UK government initiatives, but since most of the industry has clearly failed to tackle site waste voluntarily, it’s another piece of red tape to comply with. It might not be a popular move, but products and materials are expensive – as is landfill – so getting it right should benefit both the planet and UK contractor’s pockets. (This regulation will be broadened to cover the whole of the UK in due course of time.)
Solving the problems of waste disposal touches many vendors involved in the construction project including the owner (client), designers, contractors, etc. It starts from making it a concern already at initial stages of the project planning and continuing it through the design phase. Construction waste planning and the laborious process of site waste characterization and volume prediction must now be done in earnest.
For the production of an SWMP for the largest detailed plan will require familiarity with waste profile preparation and compliance with waste acceptance criteria compliance is required, as well as DOT transportation shipper certification. To make this easier there is a template, which supports standard, good and best practice in general construction, housing and civil engineering projects, and this has been developed by Halcrow, Costain, C4S, the NHBC Foundation and the BRE to support the industry in developing their plans.
The template comprises a series of 14 steps, which follow the construction lifecycle from pre-design to project completion and review. Using the template will enable contractors to develop key performance indicators (KPIs) for waste and materials, and monitor performance throughout the project. So the needs of the product override the ideals of the project and thus this plan came together.
Ideally, you should draft your Site Waste Management Plan at the pre-planning stage of a project. This allows you to extend the plan to include design and buying of materials. There will be a large number of smaller-scale economic and social projects implemented by the PA. Many will begin immediately.
The contractor must consider all aspects of creating, implementing and reviewing a Site Waste Management Plan. A robust tool is said to be available by the originators of the ‘SMARTWaste Plan’. This helps to forecast waste generation and using the integrated measurement system can help to identify the type and amount of waste generated on site, and the associated costs.
Section 54 of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 provided the necessary powers for regulations to be made to require developers and contractors of construction and demolition projects to prepare site waste management plans. These plans must set out the arrangements for managing and disposing of waste created in the course of the project. The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill, published on 8th December 2004, provides the UK’s Secretary of State with powers to make regulations to require developers and contractors to produce a written site waste management plan for construction and demolition projects. A voluntary code of practice for developers and contractors promoting SWMPs for all construction projects is already in place, but regulations are expected in due course. From October 2007, almost every site will require a SWMP; indeed many local authorities already encourage these when granting planning permission. SECBE and other organisations have managing series of workshops for building contractors and their clients across the region to explain the new rules.
Site Waste Management Plans (SWMPs) are a good way to help businesses be careful about how they use, store and dispose of materials. It will also benefit the environment by reducing the waste generated from construction sites. Our experience in the waste management and construction industries means we are well placed to provide quality training in how to produce Site Waste Management Plans.
Hazardous Waste . The word seems to conjure a threatening feeling and is sometimes automatically associated with death. Even when using hazardous to describe waste, it is done so not with relative ease. The picture of poisonous chemical-waste materials then comes to mind, whose warnings—often represented by the proverbial skull and bones—are even more threatening. But the truth is, these kinds are not the only hazardous waste people have to deal with. There are, in fact, safe materials (such as household products) that, after use, can qualify as hazardous waste. Hazardous waste is anything that has potentially dangerous ingredients and properties, and that which may put to great risk public health and the environment if an effective hazardous waste management system is not in place.
With that description in mind, hazardous waste can be anything from the oil generated by factories and industries to the cleaning chemicals used at home and the pesticide used by gardeners. Generally, these are the products that are corrosive, flammable, radioactive, explosive, toxic, and reactive. As products, careful use is necessary, and as waste materials, proper storage and disposal is likewise important. Failure to establish hazardous waste management may result in health problems and, in some serious cases, death.
Managing hazardous waste
Because of the associated risks, the government in general and households and companies in particular should institute appropriate hazardous waste management. And every effort should begin with distinguishing which products end up as hazardous waste. This is important to properly separate them from all the other waste materials and to have a secure place for storage. Hazardous waste is usually stored in containers—some use drums—and should be labeled. Pouring hazardous waste down the sink is not encouraged as doing so can contaminate the groundwater and may harm surface plants, animal life, and the water systems at large.
Businesses, especially those that are big hazardous waste generators, hire agencies and individuals to help them manage, transport, and dispose of their hazardous waste. Households, on the other hand, normally rely on the services and facilities established by local governments. In some cities, for instance, collection programs are enacted where hazardous waste materials are picked up door-to-door. The core principle here is that every entity, whether a household or a company, is responsible for its own waste and is taking every measure to properly manage and keep it from harming the environment and many lives.
Once collected and transported, hazardous waste materials would be then disposed of. One common method of disposing them is through incineration. Commonly done with medical waste, incineration involves burning the waste. Another method of hazardous waste disposal is waste injection, which means depositing the waste deep down the ground.
The success of hazardous waste management lies in the enactment of legislations, which gave way to the creation of facilities and agencies that would ensure proper hazardous waste management is taking place. Assuming individual responsibility also plays a big role. Although compliance is a major factor, concern for lives and the environment usually encourages accountability.
This is because in waste minimization, control and management would go back to the waste producers themselves (individual persons, companies, manufacturers, factories) and not only on the waste materials.
Waste Managment Minimization
Traditionally, waste management processes the waste material after it had been created. From there, other waste management systems take place: re-use, recycling, composting, incineration, energy conversion, etc.
Waste minimization takes the process one step further back. It actually is one system that includes the process itself and the policy of simply reducing the amount of waste generated to the barest minimum by the primary producer itself – a single person or a company.
The main sources of waste vary from country to country. In developed countries in Europe, most waste comes from the manufacturing industry, agriculture, construction and demolition industries. In developing or under-developed countries, a big part of waste comes from the households and society at large.
Waste minimization processes
The following are some of the waste minimization processes at work these days.
• Both waste minimization and resource maximization of products can begin at the design stage. A product’s number of components can be reduced to make it easier to take apart for repairs or recycling. At the design stage, a product may be steered away from using toxic materials, or reduce its volume.
• Minimization of waste and maximization of resources again go hand-in-hand in optimizing the use of raw materials. Patterns for a dress can be cut in such a way that there is a minimum of unused portions in the clothing materials.
• Another way is the reuse of scrapped materials back into the production process. In industries like paper manufacture, damaged rolls and other scraps are returned and incorporated again to the paper-making process. In plastics manufacture, cut-offs and other scraps are re-incorporated into new products.
• This is for products specifically designed for its intended use. Packaging materials will be a waste if for reasons of, say cost-cutting, the quality is reduced and the food it is intended to protect is spoiled instead.
• Through improved quality control and monitoring, the number of product rejects is kept to a minimum. Increasing inspection frequency and the number of inspection points via automated and continuous monitoring equipments is now integrated into existing systems.
• Shipping raw materials directly to the places of manufacture reduces accidents, less protective wrappings and enclosures and other safety measures and devices designed for long circuitous handling and shipment.
Benefits and other considerations
Waste minimization is related to the efforts of minimizing the use of resources and energy by way of fewer materials and efficient designs, for instance.
This also entails thorough knowledge of the production process, continuous tracking of the material’s life cycle from cradle (extraction/creation) to grave (waste). This is feasible in large manufacturing industries starting from the plants to the stores all the way to the consumer.
Today, waste management is employing waste minimization as yet another reliable ammunition in the fight against pollution and environmental hazards in the complex business of waste disposal and management.
When rainfall soaks into waste in a garbage tip it slowly drains through the waste under gravity. As it does so it picks up soluble contaminants from the waste itself. This produces a very strongly organically contaminated liquid which is called leachate. Most of the contamination is biological (organic) in nature, but whatever soluble contaminants are present in the landfill, the leachate will probably also contain them in small quantities. The leachate will also have dissolved methane in it if it comes from a gassing (biogas producing or “methanogenic”) landfill.
If there is no base lining the leachate will drain away through any reasonably permeable material which exists under the landfill. Although this material below the landfill may do some filtering and further cleansing of the leachate, it can enter the underground strata still in a highly polluting condition. Water flowing in subterranean rock, through cracks and fissures and through any permeable material is called groundwater.
In many parts of the developed ad developing world this groundwater will be used for drinking and cooking. It will obviously be dangerous to human health for people to imbibe this flow. This will happen if and when pumped out for use from contaminated strata, or where the groundwater emerges at the surface.
Groundwater moves slowly and continuously through the open spaces in soil and rock. If a landfill contaminates groundwater, a plume of contamination will occur wherever reasonably permeable material exists below, for example a private property plot.
Any groundwater which gets polluted will still keep flowing underground and although the ground may help to naturally filter and biologically treat the leachate, eventually the pollution flow may grow and the small extent of a polluted area shown initially may later have to be extended if a growing contaminant plume develops, and nearby water resources including water supply boreholes can be contaminated. If they do they will probably remain unusable for several generations. Such a loss of something as precious as water is a terrible problem for later generations.
So, is it any wonder that environmental activists dislike landfills not only because of the potential for pollution just described, however, the more astute among them also dislike landfilling because landfills permanently remove large quantities of raw materials from economic use.
All of the energy and natural resources (such as water) that were used to process the items “wasted” are also not conserved.
Environmental Protection Agencies in many countries generally rely on the laws in their states to enforce their own operating permits and federal laws. If state agencies are not aggressive, violations can worsen, multiplying negative environmental impacts exponentially. Environmental pollution of land, air, and water created by the world’s poorly-managed landfills is enormous.
In the early 21st century, alternative methods to waste disposal have been devised, including recycling, converting to biodegradable products, incineration and cogeneration facilities, and sustainable development, all of which assist in reducing global landfill pollution.
Planning applications are handled within the local authorities by officers with no particular reason to specialise in waste disposal. They make recommendations to extremely busy committees of elected members who are required to considering the whole range of planning issues in their locality, from multiplex cinemas to garage extensions and even TV aerials and dormer windows.
There are government provides them with guidelines but planning law often favours the developer in that his application is to be granted unless there is a reason shown why it should not be so. The Councillors will often wish to show at the very least to their local constituents that they have sought to avoid the siting of a landfill near them, and to show the permission as part of a predetermined process.
Where to put a landfill
For this reason local policies come much more to the fore in weeding out undesirable, or probably more correctly in most cases just simply undesired landfill developments.
A planning approval system like this is self-evidently democratic, in that elected members are making the decisions, but there are disadvantages.
Firstly, applications for waste management facilities are rarely popular and the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) syndrome means that there are often electoral advantages to elected members in opposing them. This naturally places members in an invidious position. In some counties a history of opposition to waste management facilities has resulted in the bypass of the planning system, with any application automatically being refused or not determined, thus passing the buck to a higher level of government (in the UK it is to the Secretary of State at Appeal).
Many say that landfills are not neded any more as they know that recycling rates etc are being increased, but even if you recycle 30 or 40 percent of your waste that still leaves 60 percent to dispose of in the traditional way. The public need reminding that the new era of resource management will not be an overnight change.
Market manipulation through fiscal measures like landfill tax are achieving results and making recycling more attractive in the long-term. But this can be taken to extremes, as has happened in Germany, and great care needs to be exercised in supporting markets through fiscal instruments.
Of major concern is the danger in that the government while making waste a special case to improve the process which ultimately must provide enough void capacity in landfills to avoid massive pollution from emergency tipping, they do not by so doing cause great public hostility.
The UK government is also introducing all sorts of restrictions on the movement of waste, which make markets almost exclusively national.
To charge for removing domestic waste from householders by weight of rubbish would possibly be very sensible. But, the very high sensitivity of politicians in the UK to the concept of direct and variable charging for domestic waste makes this revenue collection and recycling incentive unlikely.
That is a shame because it is the simplest and easiest driver available and one that will have enormous benefit. Every other utility service is charged directly to the ratepayer and at variable rates from electricity, water and gas. Why not waste?