This reader chapter on waste processing has been generated mostly from the descriptions provided in the Reference Document on Best Available Techniques for the Waste Treatments Industries (version August 2006), refererred to in the text as IPPC BRef. This document on waste treatment is one of a series of sectoral documents which serve as a technical guideline and background on the European Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive. The waste sector is highly regulated in the EU and the IPPC Directive sets environmental standards, as prescribing a certain required level of technology and abatement (Best Available Technology, BAT) for the more than 14000 waste treatment installations in the EU. The EU Member States are required to take the information from the BREF into account when determining best available techniques. The IPPC BREF document can be found at the website of the European IPPC Bureau (EIPPCB, 2008). The text below is consized from the BREF.
Waste is inherent to any process or activity and normally cannot be avoided. In addition, the use of products by society leads to residues. In many cases, these types of materials cannot be re-used by other means and may become not marketable. These materials are typically defined as waste and given to third parties for further treatment.
The reason for treating waste is not always the same and often depends on the type of waste and the nature of its subsequent fate. Some waste treatments and installations are multipurpose.
The basic reasons for treating waste are:
· to reduce the hazardous nature of the waste
· to separate the waste into its individual components, some or all of which can then be put to further use/treatment
· to reduce the amount of waste which has to be finally sent for disposal
· to transform the waste into a useful material
The waste treatment processes may involve the displacement and transfer of substances between media. For example, some treatment processes results in a liquid effluent sent to sewer and a solid waste sent to landfill, and others result in emissions to air mainly due to incineration. Alternatively, the waste may be rendered suitable for another treatment route, such as in the combustion of recovered fuel oil. There are also a number of important ancillary activities associated with treatment, such as waste acceptance and storage, either pending treatment on site or removal off site .