Indexed on: 06 Jul '14Published on: 06 Jul '14Published in: Waste Management
Hazard classification of waste is a necessity, but the hazard properties (named "H" and soon "HP") are still not all defined in a practical and operational manner at EU level. Following discussion of subsequent draft proposals from the Commission there is still no final decision. Methods to implement the proposals have recently been proposed: tests methods for physical risks, test batteries for aquatic and terrestrial ecotoxicity, an analytical package for exhaustive determination of organic substances and mineral elements, surrogate methods for the speciation of mineral elements in mineral substances in waste, and calculation methods for human toxicity and ecotoxicity with M factors. In this paper the different proposed methods have been applied to a large assortment of solid and liquid wastes (>100). Data for 45 wastes - documented with extensive chemical analysis and flammability test - were assessed in terms of the different HP criteria and results were compared to LoW for lack of an independent classification. For most waste streams the classification matches with the designation provided in the LoW. This indicates that the criteria used by LoW are similar to the HP limit values. This data set showed HP 14 'Ecotoxic chronic' is the most discriminating HP. All wastes classified as acute ecotoxic are also chronic ecotoxic and the assessment of acute ecotoxicity separately is therefore not needed. The high number of HP 14 classified wastes is due to the very low limit values when stringent M factors are applied to total concentrations (worst case method). With M factor set to 1 the classification method is not sufficiently discriminating between hazardous and non-hazardous materials. The second most frequent hazard is HP 7 'Carcinogenic'. The third most frequent hazard is HP 10 'Toxic for reproduction' and the fourth most frequent hazard is HP 4 "Irritant - skin irritation and eye damage". In a stepwise approach, it seems relevant to assess HP 14 first, then, if the waste is not classified as hazardous, to assess subsequently HP 7, HP 10 and HP 4, and then if still not classified as hazardous, to assess the remaining properties. The elements triggering the HP 14 classification in order of importance are Zn, Cu, Pb, Cr, Cd and Hg. Progress in the speciation of Zn and Cu is essential for HP 14. Organics were quantified by the proposed method (AFNOR XP X30-489) and need no speciation. Organics can contribute significantly to intrinsic toxicity in many waste materials, but they are only of minor importance for the assessment of HP 14 as the metal concentrations are the main HP 14 classifiers. Organic compounds are however responsible for other toxicological characteristics (hormone disturbance, genotoxicity, reprotoxicity…) and shall be taken into account when the waste is not HP 14 classified.