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Waste testing

Waste testing

The term “waste” refers to any material -in solid, liquid or semi-solid form-, discarded or abandoned and deriving from an industrial, agricultural, public or domestic activity. Each production activity involves the production of solid and liquid waste that must be characterized and classified. 

Waste characterization means the collection of the necessary information to determine the correct characteristics for classification and management and final destination to plants (recycling/disposal). In particular, producers must classify waste to identify the EWC code in the European Waste Catalogue and the hazard class in the event of hazardous waste. This process includes the product assessment and chemical analyses according to current legislation, in particular with “mirror entry” waste whose hazard cannot be defined a priori and a specific analysis could become necessary to know the concentration of pollutants. 

Hazard evaluation is thus useful in plants with risk of major accidents and temporary or permanent waste storage. 

Waste: characterization and classification

Characterization of waste

Our laboratory supports producers in the characterization of waste and assists them in compiling the waste report and scheduling the sampling plan. Following the characterization, the EWC code of the waste can be identified and the test plan to proceed with the classification can be chosen.

Classification of waste

We perform waste analysis for classification purposes, for example to specify the hazard class. The classification of waste is thus an essential step whose effects affect all the subsequent phases of their management.

In this context, among the most important tests there are:

  • in vitro tests to evaluate the behavior of materials at extreme pH (particularly high or particularly low), and
  • eco-toxicological tests.

Final destination

Laboratory tests are also important for assessing the final destination of waste. We prepare and perform specific analytical plans to identify waste that will be disposed or that can be recovered (e.g. fuel from waste, aggregates, etc.) or by-products that can be recycled according to relevant European Regulations (e.g. glass, metals, etc.).

Different testing profiles for different sort of waste

When approaching waste analyses, to have the possibility to choose between different analytical profiles helps to obtain an in-depth examination of the knowledge about solid and liquid waste. It is possible to start from basic profiles to which dedicated parameters can be added depending on the manufacturing cycle that generates them and their specific final destiny (for example, waste-to-energy plants or sewage treatment plants).

When the waste is destined to landfill or to particular types of recovery, the leaching test is of utmost importance to assess the mobility of pollutants and their possible future leaching. The test includes the following parameters: pH, temperature, electrical conductivity and redox potential of eluate, total dissolved solids and dissolved organic carbon, sulfates, chlorides, fluorides, phenol index, metals.

Mérieux NutriSciences: a global service for water analysis

Mérieux NutriSciences provides analyses and complete assistance for waste management programs and deals in particular with:

  • supporting producers in waste characterization;
  • classifying waste according to local and international laws, thus defining its characteristics and the hazard class in the case of hazardous waste;
  • carrying out preliminary analyzes to define the final destination of waste (disposal or recovery);
  • carrying out product analyzes on heterogeneous urban or industrial waste, according to official ANPA methods or UNI EN standards that are specific for material and aimed at assessing the suitability of the waste to be recycled.

Mérieux NutriSciences also offers specific expertise in the detection and quantification of asbestos and in the measurement of radioactivity.

Characterization and classification

ADR advisory - Dangerous goods transport

The classification criteria provided for by the legislation on waste do not always coincide with those provided for by the ADR (Accord Dangereuses Routes) agreement for the transport of dangerous goods: for this reason, anyone who has to send, transport or receive waste has to deal with the rules of this European agreement and its implementing provisions.

Mérieux NutriSciences deals with training and consulting for the applicability of the ADR agreement with reference to the international transport of dangerous goods and in the management of packaging, labeling and storage. It also takes care of the drafting of all the necessary documentation to comply with the provisions of the agreement.

The rules must be firstly considered in waste classification phase to correctly define the methods of collection of containers and labels and the storage.

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Ecotoxicological analyses

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As for waste sampling, the reference is the standard UNI 10802 that applies to all types of waste: liquid, melted, liquid sludge, pasty mud, powders or granular waste, coarse, monolithic or massive waste. Sampling is also essential in carrying out product categories analysis. In the current version of the standard, sampling is an integral part of both the chemical analysis and the analytical process and sampling aims at obtaining a representative sample of the waste to be characterized.

Mérieux NutriSciences performs waste sampling through:

  • definition of the sampling plan;
  • manual sampling and preparation of test portions of the laboratory sample.

The drafting of the sampling plan has to be done before the collection of any type of waste (solid or liquid) as the applicable technical legislation and the legislation in force on classification envisage the mandatory drafting of such document as a fundamental and integral part for the collection of all the information required for the execution of a representative sampling and carried out according to the rules on safety.

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Discover our complete range of services for environmental services, sampling and analysis, including waste testing.

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