Industrial Waste

Learn about the definition of industrial waste, the differences with municipal waste and the importance of its proper management. Learn more about EWC codes, industrial waste classes and current legislation.

Definition of Industrial Waste

Industrial waste, also known as industrial waste, refers to production scraps resulting from the manufacturing processes of companies. Due to their unique characteristics, industrial waste requires specific management procedures and appropriate disposal methods. These waste materials are subject to precise classification in accordance with current regulations.

Understanding Waste

To gain a comprehensive understanding of what constitutes industrial waste, it is crucial to begin with the fundamental definition of waste, which differs from secondary raw material and by-product.

According to the latest update of Legislative Decree 25/2010, waste is defined as any substance or object that a holder discards, intends to discard, or is obligated to discard.

Distinguishing Industrial Waste from Urban Waste

Infographic that says: Special waste - Derived from industrial processes and are handled by specialized companies that optimize their disposal. Municipal waste - It comes from the homes of the citizens and are handled by public administrations or companies with targeted collection services

To fully grasp the distinction between these two waste categories, our focus should not solely be on their physical or chemical composition, but rather on two specific aspects: their origin and the entities responsible for their management.

Regarding the first aspect, industrial waste refers to waste materials that result from specific manufacturing processes within industrial facilities.

On the other hand, urban waste encompasses materials with domestic origins, meaning they are produced by citizens within their households.

The second key aspect, as previously mentioned, pertains to the parties involved in managing industrial waste. In the case of urban waste, it is the public administration that oversees its management, as you may already be aware. Conversely, industrial waste is handled and disposed of by a network of authorized private companies. In this sense, Industrial Symbiosis is a key strategy to deal with industrial waste management in a sustainable way.

Understanding EWC Codes

The European Waste Catalogue (EWC) is a comprehensive list, established under Directive 75/442/EEC, that encompasses various types of waste.

In Italy, the EWC was incorporated on January 1, 2002, through Legislative Decree 152/2006, replacing the existing legislation (Directive 2000/532/EC).

The main objective of the EWC is to give common guidelines for identifying waste, a task that we recall is the responsibility of the waste producer, and for knowing in detail how to handle it, especially if it is industrial waste, even more so if it is hazardous.

Ogni rifiuto all’interno del catalogo è identificato tramite un codice a sei cifre suddivise in tre coppie:

  • Each waste within the catalogue is identified by a six-digit code divided into three pairs:
  • The second indicates the subclass, ranging from 01 to 09, which represents the specific production process that generated the waste;
  • The third identifies the category, ranging from 01 to 99, which indicates the substances present in the waste, hence the type.

To illustrate this further, let’s consider an example. The EWC code 15 01 06 corresponds to mixed packaging waste.

While this guide itself provides a general overview of EWC codes, for a more in-depth understanding, we recommend reading the article on the Rifiutoo website titled “What is EWC?“.

EWC Code Classes

As mentioned earlier, the first pair of numbers in the EWC codes represents the waste class.

These classes correspond to the industrial sectors from which the substances originated. There are a total of twenty classes:

  • Waste from prospecting, mining, quarrying, and the physical or chemical processing of minerals.
  • Waste from agriculture, horticulture, aquaculture, forestry, hunting, and fishing, as well as food preparation and processing.
  • Waste from wood processing and the production of panels, furniture, pulp, paper, and cardboard. In this particular case, polycouples and packaging from separate waste collection can also follow another route: the End of Waste process;
  • Waste from leather and fur processing and the textile industry.
  • Waste from petroleum refining, natural gas purification, and the pyrolytic treatment of coal.
  • Waste from inorganic chemical processes.
  • Waste from organic chemical processes.
  • Waste from the manufacture, formulation, supply, and use of coatings (paints, varnishes, glazes), adhesives, sealants, and printing inks.
  • Waste from the photographic industry.
  • Waste from thermal processes.
  • Waste from chemical surface treatment and coating of metals and other materials, as well as non-ferrous hydrometallurgy.
  • Waste from shaping and physical and mechanical surface treatment of metals and plastics.
  • Waste oils and residues of liquid fuels (excluding edible oils and oils covered by chapters 05, 12, and 19).

And codes

  • Waste organic solvents, refrigerants, and propellants (excluding categories 07 and 08).
  • Packaging waste, absorbents, wiping cloths, filter materials, and protective clothing (not otherwise specified).
  • Waste not otherwise specified in the list.
  • Waste from construction and demolition activities, including excavated soil from contaminated sites.
  • Waste generated by medical, veterinary, or related research activities, excluding kitchen and restaurant waste not directly related to medical treatment.
  • Waste from waste treatment facilities, off-site wastewater treatment plants, as well as the preparation of drinking water and industrial water.
  • Municipal waste, including household waste and similar waste from commercial, industrial, and institutional activities, as well as separately collected waste.
Pulsante: valorizza ora i tuoi scarti aziendali Pulsante: Valorizza ora i tuoi scarti aziendali

Turn your company waste into value

Sfridoo® empowers you to harness the residual value of your waste, enabling you to achieve economic, fiscal, and environmental benefits. Embrace the principles of the Circular Economy and collaborate with other companies in our network to maximize your gains.

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Industrial Waste Numbers in Europe

The 2015 report by the European Environment Agency (Prevention of Hazardous Waste in Europe) focuses on the prevention of hazardous waste across Europe. It examines the current trends in hazardous waste quantities generated in both the European Union as a whole and individual member countries. The findings highlight that in 2012, hazardous waste accounted for nearly 4% of the total waste production in the EU.

Primary sectors that contribute to the production of hazardous waste encompass construction, mining, household area waste, and waste management. According to the report, there has been a slight increase in overall hazardous waste production since 2008.

While numerous waste prevention programs aim to reduce the generation of hazardous waste, they often receive less attention compared to waste management aspects and encounter limitations in terms of financial support. The report also sheds light on data quality issues resulting from changes in waste classification and the definition of hazardous waste, which can influence the formulation of national targets and indicators.

Industrial waste numbers in Italy

Infographic that says: In Italy, special waste amounts to to 164.5 million tons, 94% of which is non-hazardous waste, registering a 7.8% increase over 2018

According to the 2021 report “National Waste Management Planning – PNGR,” the total volume of industrial waste managed in Italy amounts to 164.5 million tonnes. Of this total, 154.7 million tonnes (94%) constitute non-hazardous waste, while 9.8 million tonnes (6%) qualify as hazardous waste.

It is noteworthy that the amount of waste managed has increased by approximately 7.8% compared to 2018.

Regarding waste management methods, the predominant approaches are as follows:

  • Material recovery accounts for 68.9% (113.3 million tonnes).
  • Other disposal operations represent 10.9% (17.9 million tonnes).
  • Landfill disposal stands at 7.3% (12 million tonnes).
  • Co-incineration activities contribute to 1.2% (2 million tonnes).
  • Incineration activities make up 0.7% (1.2 million tonnes).

Categories of Industrial Waste

According to the report published by ISPRA (Institute for Environmental Protection and Research) for the year 2019, industrial waste in Italy originates from various sectors. Significantly the percentages of waste produced by each sector are as follows:

  • Construction: 45.5%
  • Waste treatment and remediation activities: 25.1%
  • Manufacturing activities: 18.9%
  • Services, trade, and transport: 4.5%
  • Water and sewerage management: 3.3%
  • Electricity, gas, steam, and air: 1.3%
  • Mining and quarrying: 1%
  • Agriculture, hunting, forestry, and fishing: 0.2%
  • Public administration, education, and health: 0.2%

Legislation for Industrial Waste Management

Infographic saying: Decree Law 116/2020 - The decree introduces the following new features: new figures involved in materials and waste management, expanded responsibility for disposal, waste producer retains responsibility after delivery to authorized parties, responsibility is extended to the practical management of waste

The current legislation governing the management and disposal of industrial waste in Italy is Decree Law 116/2020. This decree serves as a comprehensive reference point for waste management practices throughout the country.

This legislative update was implemented to align with the European directives on Circular Economy, leading to a thorough review of various aspects outlined in the 2006 Environment Code (D. L. 152/2006).

The law highlights key distinctions, including:

  • Differentiation between industrial waste and municipal waste;
  • Categorization of hazardous and non-hazardous industrial waste.

However, the most significant innovation lies in the increased involvement of various stakeholders in materials and waste management, along with the expanded responsibility for disposal.

While the producer of the waste retains overall responsibility for its management, once it is delivered to authorized entities, they still maintain responsibility for the associated materials.

This heightened responsibility encompasses practical waste management, including the comprehensive codification of the European Waste Catalogue (EWC) and extends to the management of temporary storage facilities.

Authorization documents: Waste Identification Form (WIF)

The Waste Identification Form is a crucial regulatory document that must accompany waste during transportation to ensure traceability.

It’s important to note that the WIF is not the only relevant document for waste transportation. In the case of industrial hazardous waste, additional extensive documentation must be prepared, following the regulatory guidelines outlined in the Accord Dangereuses Route (ADR) and Regulation concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Rail (RID).

The completion of the WIF is mandatory in three distinct cases:

  • During the transportation of any type of waste
  • For each waste producer or holder involved in the transportation process
  • When one or more wastes are intended for recovery or disposal

For further details on how to complete the Waste Identification Form, exemptions from its completion, and other pertinent aspects addressed by the regulations, we recommend reading this comprehensive guide: The Waste Form: Legal Obligations, Sanctions, and Document Management.

Pulsante: valorizza ora i tuoi scarti aziendali Pulsante: Valorizza ora i tuoi scarti aziendali

Turn your company waste into value

Sfridoo® empowers you to harness the residual value of your waste, enabling you to achieve economic, fiscal, and environmental benefits. Embrace the principles of the Circular Economy and collaborate with other companies in our network to maximize your gains.

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What materials are considered industrial waste?

We have understood what industrial waste is, the difference between it and municipal waste, and the regulations surrounding it. However, we have not yet delved into the specific categories of materials that fall under this classification of waste.

The regulations identify the following categories of waste as industrial waste:

  • Waste from industrial processes, such as the construction and agricultural sectors.
  • Waste from commercial activities, including packaging and containers.
  • Waste generated from healthcare activities, such as needles and syringes.
  • Waste resulting from waste recovery and disposal activities.
  • Sludge produced from water and wastewater treatment.
  • Damaged and outdated machinery and equipment.
  • Unused motor vehicles, trailers, and similar items, along with their components.
  • Other miscellaneous categories.

This is the general classification of industrial waste. There is also a further important and specific subdivision according to regulations, which distinguishes between hazardous and non-hazardous industrial waste.

Hazardous industrial waste

Infographic that says: Hazardous waste is derived from manufacturing processes within which toxic substances and pollutants are present and require special treatment

Hazardous industrial waste, also referred to as “toxic hazardous waste,” refers to waste derived from production processes that contain significant quantities of pollutants and toxic substances. As a result, it is crucial to mitigate their hazardous nature by handling them in a special manner.

The following materials fall into the category of hazardous industrial waste:

  • Waste resulting from petroleum refining.
  • Waste generated by chemical processes.
  • Residues from the photographic industry.
  • Spent oils and solvents.
  • Waste from tanning and textile production.
  • Residues arising from medical and veterinary research.

How is the hazardousness of waste determined?

The hazardousness of waste is identified using the abbreviation “HP” (Hazardous Properties) and a number that corresponds to increasing levels of hazard.

The hazard scale is as follows:

  • HP 1 – Explosive
  • HP 2 – Oxidizing
  • HP 3 – Flammable
  • HP 4 – Irritant
  • HP 5 – Harmful
  • HP 6 – Toxic
  • HP 7 – Carcinogenic
  • HP 8 – Corrosive
  • HP 9 – Infectious
  • HP 10 – Teratogenic
  • HP 11 – Mutagenic
  • HP 12 – Release of acutely toxic gases
  • HP 13 – Sensitizing
  • HP 14 – Ecotoxic
  • HP 15 – Waste that does not possess any of the characteristics listed above but may manifest them later

Examples of hazardous industrial waste

Here are some examples of hazardous industrial waste to better understand the types of materials we are referring to:

  • Waste paints and ink scraps
  • Spent fixing and bleaching solutions
  • Aqueous washing solutions
  • Non-chlorinated emulsions
  • Spent mineral oils, oil filters, and diesel filters
  • Spent antifreeze and grease solvents
  • Various solvents
  • Solvent distillation solutions
  • Batteries, brake pads, car glass, vehicle scraps, adhesives and sealants, catalytic converters
  • Activated carbon filters and dry filters
  • Blasting powders and pickling acids
  • Metal paint containers, clean plastic containers, plastic parts, and bumpers

Industrial NonHazardous Waste

On the other hand, we have industrial non-hazardous waste. These are waste materials generated by industrial activities and businesses that do not contain infectious, toxic, mutagenic, or corrosive substances.

Included in this category are household waste items, which fall under the industrial waste disposal services provided by the Public Administration (PA).

Assimilable and Non-Assimilable Industrial Waste

Another important distinction in the realm of industrial waste is between assimilable and non-assimilable types.

Assimilable industrial waste refers to waste materials that can be disposed of in municipal waste facilities, while non-assimilable industrial waste cannot be disposed of in such facilities.

Furthermore, the disposal process must adhere to specific criteria, such as avoiding any form of emission, effluent, or negative impact on human health and the environment, in comparison to the disposal process within dedicated municipal waste management facilities.

In fact, we refer to these as “industrial waste assimilated to municipal waste” because they can be considered, in terms of management and disposal, similar to regular municipal waste. Examples include waste paper, cardboard, glass waste, and scrap glass.

The authority to assimilate industrial waste is granted to each municipality, in accordance with Article 198 of Legislative Decree 152/06, which assigns the responsibility for collection and proper management.

Management of Industrial Waste

The management of industrial waste is based on direct relationships between the waste producer (e.g., the producing company) and the service provider (e.g., the disposal plant or other stakeholders involved). As for Municipal Waste, the Public Administration is responsible for its management, through the provision of dedicated services.

In the case of industrial waste management, this responsibility falls on entities such as private companies, which are equipped with expertise and specific tools to effectively manage such types of waste.

Three fundamental elements deserve particular attention in waste management:

  • Waste Identification Form (FIR) The completion of the Waste Identification Form by the waste-producing company is crucial as it allows for tracking all stages of the waste;
  • Transportation of Waste Companies involved in waste transportation must adhere to specific procedures to ensure safe transfer to disposal facilities. This aspect is regulated by Article 193 of the Environmental Code;
  • Treatment, Recovery, and Storage Authorized facilities that comply with European regulations are responsible for the treatment, recovery, and storage of industrial waste.

How to Dispose of Industrial Waste

The issue of disposing of industrial waste, especially hazardous waste, requires careful consideration. Specific disposal solutions exist for each category of industrial waste, which are constantly updated and developed.

Technological innovation and diversification of waste treatment methods have provided various options for disposal, including landfill storage, thermal treatment, and recycling at specialized centers.

Before disposal, proper waste storage is crucial. Waste materials are stored within the producing facilities, following temporary storage guidelines, until they are transported to specialized disposal or recovery facilities.

Waste-producing companies face a decision regarding disposal:

  • Sending the waste to the destination facility every three months, regardless of the quantity.
  • Sending the waste to the specialized facility within one year of production if the quantity is less than thirty cubic meters, with a maximum of ten cubic meters being hazardous waste.

Once this decision is made, a waste sample is analyzed to determine the appropriate facility for disposal or recovery.

After analysis, the waste is transported to the facility where it will be disposed of or recovered.

Through proper disposal, the life cycle of hazardous or non-hazardous industrial waste is completed.

Pulsante: valorizza ora i tuoi scarti aziendali Pulsante: Valorizza ora i tuoi scarti aziendali

Turn your company waste into value

Sfridoo® empowers you to harness the residual value of your waste, enabling you to achieve economic, fiscal, and environmental benefits. Embrace the principles of the Circular Economy and collaborate with other companies in our network to maximize your gains.

enhance value now