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Help Create New Waste Management Standards

landfillASTM International’s committee on waste management (D34) is seeking experts in several environmental management fields to help create five new standards related to waste treatment, recovery and reuse.

The new standards are:

  1. Classification for Degradable Materials and Products: This guide will help classify products based on how they degrade. It will support greater consistency and clarity for people who buy, sell and use materials and products that claim to have certain degradation characteristics. In particular, the standard could help purchasing managers, waste-management operators, sustainability managers and product managers.
  2. Guide for Operating an Anaerobic Digestion Facility: Anaerobic digestion of organic waste, an alternative to composting, is gaining popularity for a number of reasons (e.gs., energy from biogas, avoiding fugitive leachate, improving life cycle analysis reporting). With more anaerobic digesters entering the market, there is a need for standards to measure degradation within these digesters. This new guide could help maximize safety and performance of digesters while minimizing environmental impact. People who design and operate digestion facilities — both in waste management and energy industries — will find the standard useful, as will compost facility operators who want to transition from aerobic to anaerobic operations.
  3. Practice for Estimating the Environmental Persistence of Materials Using First Order Rate Constant Calculations: Experts working in waste management, environmental sciences and chemical production need to know how long a product will remain intact and whether it will accumulate over time. This standard will help them estimate how long a material will remain in a specific environment, allowing them to better understand its long-term impact on the environment. Specifically, the standard provides a way to calculate first-order rate constant and then apply that calculation to estimate the material’s persistence.
  4. Guide for Materials Intended for Discard into Municipal Waste Water Treatment Facilities: Some products are frequently discarded into wastewater systems. The guide will help determine whether a material will have a neutral, positive, or negative impact on wastewater systems. This will help companies better understand how their products degrade and choose environmentally-friendly materials.
  5. Guide for Materials Intended for Discard into Municipal Landfills: Some products are frequently discarded into municipal landfills. The guide will help determine whether a material will have a neutral, positive, or negative impact on landfills. This will help companies better understand how their products degrade and choose environmentally-friendly materials. In addition, the standard could help waste operators determine what kinds of materials they allow to be discarded into their landfill systems.

Late last year ASTM International’s committee on waste management began work on three other proposed new waste management standards.

The proposed Guide for Creating Product Specific Waste Hierarchy, geared toward consumer product manufacturers, will help organizations create a “waste hierarchy” that evaluates waste materials and products in the context of each product’s attributes as well as the region’s waste-management infrastructure and environmental impact.

The second proposed standard, Guide for Operating a Successful Municipal Compost Program, will help cities and towns manage and evaluate compost programs.

And the third proposal, Classification for Landfills Based on Design, Operation, and Environmental Impact, aims to clarify acceptable landfill waste and improve educated decision making regarding waste management policies.

The Carbon Trust has also launched a new standard that provides a framework for verifying zero waste to landfill claims: the Carbon Trust Standard for Zero Waste to Landfill.

The new standard is aligned with the methodology of the existing Carbon Trust Standard for Waste. This supports the increasing number of organizations that want independent and credible recognition of their achievements in improved waste management, the nonprofit says. Plus, it can also produce savings, both through better use of resources and a reduced landfill costs, as well as giving businesses a competitive advantage by demonstrating their commitment to becoming a more sustainable company.


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