On this last page of the Waste Management For all Blog, we will take a closer look at some of the most special, or unusual types of waste, their characteristics, corresponding regulations and the challenges of managing such materials.
Once with the advancements in technology, the use of increasingly rare and toxic or hazardous compounds and substances has brought an increase in the potential risk of the resulting wastes. This is especially pronounced in industries that rely heavily on various chemical compounds for their production processes.
More importantly, if the production processes aren’t regulated properly, there is a high chance for the resulting waste to have a highly toxic nature and posses a high risk, both in terms of storage and for the environment and humans. Determining the right type of transportation or storage for a special type of waste requires adapting the standard regulatory waste management framework, to particular characteristics, which are dictated by the waste’s chemical and physical properties.
Good examples of special waste include the by-products from the mining industry, and one particular issue come from the use of cyanide when performing the flotation process for the extraction of gold from its corresponding ore. This sluice which results from the mining process is charged with cyanide and other chemical products which result from the flotation and washing process and it induces great environmental risks. Handling and storing this type of waste requires special measures.
The waste from radioactive plants, especially the one resulting from the actual uranium or plutonium bars is another very good example of special, hazardous waste. The water which provides the cooling environment for the reactor elements is highly radioactive and it requires extra-special handling and treating. Storing such water can be a quite perilous demeanor and constructing apt facilities for disposing of it can be a true challenge, precisely because of the high radioactivity levels, which dictate the use of special materials for containment, such as lead.