Reliable Treatment Techniques

In Europe, the options for hazardous waste are restricted to what is known as “Best Practicable Environmental Options”. These are all based on Best Available technology (BAT), as described in BREFS (BAT Reference Documents). These BREFS aim to:

  • Generate less waste (adapt processes, recycle and reuse)
  • Convert hazardous waste to less-hazardous or non-hazardous substances (thermal treatment, physico-chemical treatment)
  • Put final residues in perpetual storage (well-managed landfill, salt mines, etc.)

The European Union Industrial Emissions Directive (2010) defines BAT as "The most effective and advanced stage in the development of activities and their methods of operation, indicating the practical suitability of particular techniques for providing the basis for emission limit values and other permit conditions designed to prevent and, where this is not practicable, to reduce emissions and the impact on the environment as a whole".

Examples of most used options for treatment of hazardous waste:

  • High-temperature incineration (generally rotary kilns, with extensive flue gas cleaning systems)
  • Physical-chemical treatment
    • Organic
    • Inorganic
    • Acid-bases
  • Specialist recycling treatment for specific waste streams, e.g.
    • Waste oil refining
    • Solvent recycling
    • Fluorescent lamps recycling
  • Dedicated, well-managed landfills as a final destination for some residues and inorganic wastes