Waste characterization                      ECOGESTUS – WASTE STREAM AUDIT, this guide will walk you through the key steps...
2. Waste flow                                                        Why is important to determine it?                    ...
STEP 2 – Select representative samples for the waste3. Steps to do in an audit                                       chara...
4. Hazards and risks                                                                                                      ...
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Ecogestus Waste Characterization - Waste Audit

  1. 1. Waste characterization ECOGESTUS – WASTE STREAM AUDIT, this guide will walk you through the key steps in performing a waste stream. Our company has the background and an extend experience in waste characterization projects. Read on and let us help you to save money respecting the environment. composition for facilities such as recycling MRFs, 1. Background composting plants and waste-to-energy plants is an important consideration in their design and operation. WHAT is a waste characterization? Company Specific and Sector Specific Waste characterization also called waste stream Waste Campaigns: In the commercial and industrial audit, is a formal, structured process by which the sectors, the improved data available will be useful quantity and types of different waste streams is to individual sectors (or companies) in targeting analyzed. Information from audits will help identify areas for improved waste management. current waste practices and how they can beThe four basic improved. HOW to conduct a wastesteps toperform a waste WHY conduct a waste audit? characterization?stream audit In order to measure progress towards waste Conducting a waste characterization requires a prevention, reduction, and recycling goals, it is qualified team that knows how to proceedare: important that detailed, accurate and up-to-date effectively during each phase and be aware of all• Plan de audit information regarding the composition of waste is the dangers and risks that may arise during the• Collect the waste maintained. project (see below for further information about• Sort the waste Determine what type and quantities of possible hazards and risk).• Analyze the data waste are being generated will enable target To perform an accurate analysis is necessary to waste streams to be identified for action, and will know all possible waste sources and their nature; enable the effects of prevention and minimization control/audit all the present waste flows (if waste is policies to be measured. disposed along unsorted waste and then landfilled, Packaging Waste Recovery: National or if it is recycled and treated effectively); evaluateBut a waste targets must be met for recycling and recovery of all wrongdoings on waste segregation, wastecharacterization is packaging waste. In order to measure the disposal and waste treatment; and suggest/performnot exempt of risk performance the composition of waste being improvements on the waste management.and must be always landfilled and sent for the recovery must bebe performed by established. Ecogestus has the background and an extendtrained and Waste Management Planning: Accurate experience in waste characterization procedures,specialized and up-to-date information on the waste being with many projects successfully developed inpersonnel. generated is essential for forward planning of waste management on a national, regional or local shopping centers all along Europe (Germany, authority level Greece, Italy, etc.). Our multidisciplinary team with Development of Waste Management experience, nationally and internationally, allows us Infrastructure: Identification of waste stream to recommend the best solutions. Waste characterization guide - 2010
  2. 2. 2. Waste flow Why is important to determine it? The varying waste streams include urban waste both domestic and streets paper bins, waste from commercialWhat is the waste flow? establishments, industrial waste, healthcare waste, schools,An adequate waste audit should have an extend knowledge of etc.the general waste flow; determining all the possible sources Compliance may involve a desktop review of documentationand their nature. and procedures and a visual audit. Operating costs will requireQuantifying and identifying waste from municipalities is a details on exactly what waste is being generated, where anddifficult task. This is due to the fact that there are a number of by whom. Identifying the scope of the project and sample sizedifferent waste streams being generated by a variety of will also allow determining easier what equipment andproducers. Although systems differ between sites; it is resources will be needed to conduct the audit. A physicalgenerally the case that waste from a number of sources is waste stream audit of the whole waste stream will requiredisposed of via the same route. more costs and resources than a visual inspection. How and What determine in the waste flow? Before conducting the waste characterization is important to make a visual inspection to the area to be audited, and determine who uses each bin-container, who and when are emptied, and how is the waste treated/disposed after the collection. The waste then should be analyzed by stream or process. It is important to use categories that will be meaningful to those reviewing the results. The more detailed description allows estimates of the cost of the waste to be determined. At this level, each stream should be recorded by weight and volume. The weight is a precise measure to make accurate extrapolations; it will also allow accurate cost savings in terms of waste disposal to be estimated. Volume is an indicator of the systems that will be required to contain, transport and consolidate waste on-site.RecommendationThe date of the date should be kept secret, otherwise theywaste behaviors may change and the audit will not representnormal waste practices. Equipment for audits • Secure, well ventilated work area, sheltered from sun, wind and rain • A large table • Buckets of different sizes • Accurate scales • Data sheets • Disinfectant and cleaning tools • Garbage bags • Safety equipment, first aid kit and plenty of water Waste characterization guide - 2010
  3. 3. STEP 2 – Select representative samples for the waste3. Steps to do in an audit characterization It is necessary a thorough knowledge of all the waste sourcesSTEP 1 – Define the study area and collect background and their nature, and it is essential to be aware of their laterinformation disposal, in order to achieve a global view of the waste flow.In this first step is important to set audit objectives, We generally audit a 24-hour sample of the total waste,determines locations to be audited and determine types and allowing us to relate the quantity generated to productiveapproximate quantities of waste to be audited. Clearly hours, and extrapolate the data. Determining the appropriateidentifying what you want out of the audit will determine the sample to audit, is important in order to ensure thatmethodology to follow. extrapolations of costs and savings are accurate.It is essential to visit the location to determine the number,types and locations of bins and containers; determine the STEP 3 – Weigh all the waste in each bag/container totypes of waste seen and determine who empties the bins and measure the total bulk of waste, prior to opening andwhen. starting characterization STEP 4 – Pour out the waste on a table and start separating the different components This phase involves many risks, and never should be performed by non qualified persons. Sharp and needle items could be present within the mixed waste and they must be handled carefully. In this step is crucial to record as much detail as possible to allow identifying the real reason for the waste being generated. STEP 5 – Weigh each category of waste After every component is segregated, each category is weighed separately in order to determine the percentage out of the total waste generated for each component. STEP 6 – Take notes of excess waste that could be easily recycled rather than being thrown into garbage, and cleanWaste components the working area and equipment. STEP 7 – Report all the information acquired on the audit,• Organics (food leftovers), including and propose possible improvements on the waste liquids from bottles management.• Contaminated Cardboard/Paper With the information collected during the audit is possible to• Cardboard/ Paper (clean/recyclable) determine the present situation of the waste management,• Various Plastics (Clean/recyclable); determine waste flows, recycling efficiency rates, waste packaging, plastic film... treatment costs, associated risks, etc.• Contaminated plastics (cups, plates, Knowing the starting point is easier to define targets and goals taps...) in order to improve waste segregation efficiency. In order to• Complex materials, including measure progress towards national waste prevention, Tretapak/brik packaging reduction, and recycling goals, it is important that detailed,• Metals (Aluminium and Ferrous) accurate and up-to-date information regarding the• Glass packaging composition of municipal waste is maintained• WEEE including batteries, tonners and The next step will determine possible future scenarios (whit fluorescent bulbs/tubes different increases on the rate of recyclables, better waste• Textiles treatments…), and will mark the guidelines to follow and• Hazardous household improvements to perform. The establishment of target and• Fines (< 1.5 cm) goals will determine the development of waste management infrastructure, company specific and sector specific waste campaigns, and a general waste management planning. Waste characterization guide - 2010
  4. 4. 4. Hazards and risks Safety of staffA waste stream audit is not exempt of risks. Therefore thispractice should be always performed by trained and specialized Ensuring the safety of the sorters ispersonnel. crucial. Training, safety equipment andAuditing on-site is the most convenient, but it presents certain tetanus shots must be organized to ensurehazards that must be addressed. The working area should be sorters and safe from potential hazardsfree from vehicles and personnel movements; it should be associated with handling and sortingsheltered from the elements and be large enough to hold the waste.entire waste sample.The table below shows the associated hazards of a waste Before the audit a risk assessment must be carried outcharacterization project: Task/operation WASTE CHARACTERISATION HAZARDS RISK Method Adopted to Avoid, Reduce or Control Hazard Vaccinations available. Visually check the work area; wear Sharps and Needle anti-syringe gloves and litter picker where possible. latex Laceration, cuts and bruises, stick injury (needles, gloves, skin barrier creams, disposal clothing, safety shoes. infection, lockjaw (tetanus) syringes, Supervision is required to ensure that par time workers are Hepatitis B,C , glass, razor, nails) not over exposed, particularly when vaccinations not practicable. Slips, trips and falls Low Regular cleaning regime. Low risk of hearing damage. Microbiological agents and PPE (Ear defenders) worn around noisy equipment; Dust Machinery organic dust. Risk of crushing, mask. Employees shall not enter unauthorised areas of the hitting, bruising, facility unless under supervision. amputation Low risk of Crushing, fractures, High visibility clothing worn at all times. Staff to be warned Traffic cuts, bruises, head injury. of traffic risks. Assess the load before lifting; Bend from the knees and keep the back straight. Carry two lots of buckets as opposed to one load Low risk of sprains, strains and Manual Handling Do not lift the load if you feel it is too heavy, get help from a back injury colleague Do not reach into the bins, get help to tip the bin onto the table or use a litter picker. Set-up the waste characterisation table away from areas Falling objects Low risk of head injury where there is a possibility of falling objects from overhead conveyors. Wear suitable clothing for the weather; warm clothing Temperature Low usually required when working outside. Source: EPA (Environmental protection agency), IrelandThe following are examples of types of areas that should be The audit is a hazardous process which requires carefulincluded and taken in mind in the risk assessments before planning to ensure the safety of those conducting the audit,conducting the audit: others on-site and the safety of the environment.• Hazards associated with the waste itself Important: The waste should not be sorted near• The weight, volume or density of material and equipment environmentally sensitive areas or near storm water drains or• The working area other water ways, to avoid environmental risks in case of• The audit process spills.• Storage and movement o the waste• Surrounding environment For further information, please contact us: ECOGESTUS Lda. Rua Afonso IV, 23, 2º Portugal Tel.: +351233109034 e-mail: contacto@ecogestus.com