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.
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.