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ARCHIVED - A Guidance Document for Distinguishing Waste, Recyclable Materials and Products for Regulations Under CEPA 1999

4.0 Using the Criteria

To illustrate how the criteria can be applied, Table 1 summarizes the criteria and associated indicators.

Three worked examples are given below, for illustrative purposes.

Example 1:

Situation:

Origin, Purpose and Destination

In this example, post-process steel pickling liquor is being proposed for use as a flocculant in wastewater treatment plants. The liquid is produced as a result of the steel making process, rather than being produced intentionally for sale or use in another process.

Degree of Processing Required

The used pickling liquor is processed sufficiently to facilitate its use in the wastewater treatment plants.

Residuals and Potential Hazard

The used pickling liquor is believed to contain a variety of substances that inevitably result from the pickling process, and which may be environmentally hazardous. The pre-processing is not done in order to remove any hazardous contaminants that would not normally be found in flocculant in the final product, and they are quite possibly higher in concentration than would be present in the equivalent products that the pickling liquor would replace. The contaminants would then be capable of escaping into the environment, or would have to be dealt with though the management of residual wastes from the treatment process.

Standards and Quality Control

There are no national, international or industry-wide standards or government regulations specific to the use of steel pickling liquor is being proposed for use as a flocculant in wastewater treatment plants There is sufficient quality control to ensure the strength of the constituents that make the used pickling liquor useful as flocculant. However, there is little control over the hazardous contaminants in the liquor. No information is available as to the efforts to minimize loss, or the maintenance of records of purchases, production and sales.

Economic Value and Market Viability

There is market demand for the used pickling liquor, but demand may fluctuate depending on the availability and quality of the used pickling liquor. That quality in turn depends on the steel manufacturing activity.

The economic value of the material varies depending on the quality of the used liquor , as well as the need for it in wastewater treatment. Use of the is limited to the particular facilities that can use this specific liquor as a flocculant and, at the same time, can tolerate the impurities present in it.

Determination:

A significant question is whether the processing of the used pickling liquor is sufficient to consider the waste fluid to have been recycled. However, the situation does not satisfy the criteria concerning residuals and those respecting the presence of contaminants of environmental concern, the standards and quality controls criteria, and the economic value and market viability criteria. The used pickling liquor would be characterised as a recyclable material.

The overall determination is shown graphically below:

Figure 3
The determination for each type of criterion: 1. origin, purpose and destination (by-product), 2. degree of processing (some processing done), 3. residuals and potential hazard (possible hazard), 4. standards and quality control (uncertain or absent), 5. economic and market viability (unstable)

Conclusion:

This particular liquor is a recyclable material.

Example 2:

Situation:

Origin, Purpose and Destination

In this example, a company tests and blends metal-bearing ash to produce a feed suitable for smelters. The resulting or mixture is produced by the company to be sold, for a pre-determined use. Without demand from smelters, the company would not produce this blended ash. The facility markets the material to a number of smelters who produce various metals contained in the ash. Without this blending activity the ash would not be acceptable to the smelter as feed.

Degree of Processing Required

The ash, once blended, is sent to a smelting operation to recover the desired metals. This blending is required to allow economically viable recovery of metals in the ash. The blended ash can be used directly in the smelting operation.

Residuals and Potential Hazard

The company has demonstrated satisfactorily that fewer wastes are generated from smelters' processing the concentrate than from use by the smelters of raw/virgin substances. The company has also provided information that there are no constituents in the ash which would not normally be found in the primary ore which the smelters would use and in fact contains significantly less sulfur.

Standards and Quality Control

Stringent quality specifications are established in the contract between the producer of the ash and the smelters. These specifications take into account the environmental standards applicable to the facility by law as well as voluntary industry standards to reduce emissions from metal smelting activities which are more stringent than the legal requirement. Auditable data records are maintained.

Economic Value and Market Viability

The ash has a known value, which is comparable to other primary feedstocks that could be used for similar purposes. While there is just one use (metal recovery) for the ash, more than one smelting facility is known utilize them. There is a history of use of this ash as a feedstock of more a decade.

Determination:

While this mixture requires further processing in the form of smelting, to provide the pure elemental metals, other criteria identify it as having characteristics of a product. The process to produce the blended ash is subject to quality control measures and it is produced in accordance with legal requirements and specific standards including environmental considerations. There is no more risk of harm to the environment and/or human health than that which is posed by the use of raw/virgin substances , and the concentrate material has economic value and market viability. It is therefore regarded as a product, using the criteria and indicators in this document.

The overall determination is shown graphically below:

Figure 4
The determination for each type of criterion: 1. origin, purpose and destination (by-product) , 2. degree of processing (required processing is smelting operation), 3. residuals and potential hazard (no), 4. standards and quality control (yes), 5. economic and market viability (positive)

Conclusion:

The blended ash is a product.

Example 3:

Situation:

Origin, Purpose and Destination

In this example, a person proposes to solidify liquid waste caustic saturated with zinc, and to send it to a production facility in another jurisdiction. The purpose of the solidification, which involves the use of an absorbent, is primarily to remove any environmental and safety hazard (corrosivity) before shipping, for the purposes of safe transport.

Degree of Processing Required

The solidified material would be fed directly into the production process, without further processing.

Residuals and Potential Hazard

It has been satisfactorily established that there is an insignificant risk of substances being released into the environment from the liquid waste caustic during solidification of the liquid waste caustic, during transportation, during processing by the production facility or in the final product produced.

Standards and Quality Control

It is not known whether the material:

  • complies with applicable federal, provincial, territorial, or aboriginal government laws and/or regulations,
  • is produced to any standard, or
  • whether quality controls, etc., are in place.
Economic Value and Market Viability

No information is provided on market demand or the market viability for the substance or mixture nor any information such as the number of facilities that purchase the solidified liquid waste caustic. In fact, there are disposal facilities which currently receive similar material.

Determination:

This material could be a waste or product. To make the determination, further information is required as to whether it is produced to any national or international standard, or whether quality controls, etc., are in place. It is also necessary to have information on the economic value of the substance or mixture, market demand and market viability.

The overall determination is shown graphically below:

Figure 5
The determination for each type of criterion: 1. origin, purpose and destination (by-product), 2. degree of processing (required processing is smelting operation), 3. residuals and potential hazard (no), 4. standards and quality control (unknown), 5. economic and market viability (unknown)

Conclusion:

More information is required to determine whether the substance or mixture is a waste, recyclable material or a product.

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