From: Womersley, Matthew [Matt.Womersley@environment-agency.gov.uk]
Sent: 29 April 2014 12:38
To: Edwina Watson - Pressing Solutions
Subject: RE: Aerosol Recycling Units
Thanks for the email. I’d actually been onto the website and looked at these earlier, which was very helpful. I can offer the following guidance to you, which you may pass onto your customers. I don’t believe any of this advice should affect the efficacy of your product, because the assessment of waste is solely down to the producer/holder of the item. Even after piercing and the removal of the propellant, your customers must assess their waste in terms of hazardous or non-hazardous. This has been the case for many years as many products dispensed from aerosol cans are hazardous in their own right, regardless of the nature of the specific propellant being used.
Piercing and change in waste classification
A waste aerosol can should usually be classified under the List of Waste as follows:
· 16 05 04* gases in pressure containers (including halons) containing dangerous substances
· 16 05 05 gases in pressure containers other than those mentioned in 16 05 04
The top entry being hazardous, the bottom entry non-hazardous. If the propellant or other gaseous content within the pressure container had dangerous substances, the waste would be hazardous. Dangerous substances include flammable propellants, as well as other gases that have dangerous substances.
However, if the can is pierced and the internal pressure returns to that of the normal outside environment, we can say that it is no longer in a pressure container and a more appropriate code would be found under sub-chapter 15 01 (waste packaging) of the list of wastes.
Empty is not legally defined and we do not provide a percentage or other threshold to state when something becomes empty. Therefore, we expect a common sense approach and something should be considered empty when all reasonable efforts have been made to remove any left-over contents from the container. This may involve, for example, washing, draining or scraping. The method of emptying will depend on the container and the type of material it contains. In the case of an aerosol can, if no further contents are removed when the button is pressed, and no gases or aerosols come out, it would be appropriate to consider the can to be empty.
Piercing should also ensure the can is empty, provided the piercing is done in such a way to propel any remaining content out of the can. I say this because if a can is being disposed of which still contains 25% product, for example, along with the propellant, then the piercing action may result in the quick release of the propellant gas and in this way it fails to disperse the product, which remains in the can. It would not be empty and could not be assessed as packaging waste. However, I have not witnessed the equipment in detail to know whether this would be the case with a partially filled aerosol can.
Assessment of packaging waste
Once it has been determined that the container is empty and it is packaging waste, a further assessment must be made to decide whether it is hazardous or non-hazardous packaging. Hazardous packaging (15 01 10*) is packaging that contains residues of or is contaminated by dangerous substances. Our guidance has been developed to make this as simple a process as possible, while ensuring that dangerous substances are identified and managed correctly. Therefore, you simply need to determine that a dangerous substance is present as a residue or contamination in or on the packaging.
There are a number of scenarios which might apply to an aerosol can, based on the above.
· A waste aerosol can with flammable propellant is discarded without treatment – 16 05 04* - gasses in pressure containers containing dangerous substances.
· A half-full aerosol can with flammable propellant and hazardous product is discarded. It is pierced and all flammable gases are removed, but the majority of the left-over product remains. It is not longer under pressure, but it is not empty. This is not packaging and should be described by the nature of the product, for example a paint or adhesive.
· A waste aerosol can with flammable propellant and non-hazardous product is completely used up and discarded. It is pierced and all flammable gases are removed. A residue of the original produce remains adhered to the inside of the can – 15 01 04 non-hazardous metallic packaging
· A waste aerosol can with flammable propellant and hazardous product is completely used up and discarded. It is pierced and all flammable gases are removed. A residue of the original produce remains adhered to the inside of the treated can. The safety data sheet identified that the product contained a compound that is toxic. It is liquid when under normal pressure and the can has not been cleaned – 15 01 10* hazardous packaging.
To summarise, it is the producer’s responsibility to assess the waste once it has been pierced or even crushed. The presence of dangerous substances in residues or contamination will result in the treated can being hazardous waste, regardless of the fact the flammable propellant gases have been removed.
I hope this helps. I have just been forwarded Pete Chesney’s email he sent you earlier, which I wasn’t aware of until I’d written this, so I apologise if my advice has been repetitive.
Many thanks for your expert guidance and observations to clarify the position regarding ‘empty’ aerosols and we attach some details of the units for your information.
I look forward to receiving your e-mail as you suggested.
Edwina M. Watson
Pressing Solutions Environmental Ltd
Aerosol Recycling Equipment Ltd
+44 (0)1691 670891
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