EPA officials recently proposed adding hazardous pharmaceutical wastes to the Universal Waste Rule as part of a larger effort to protect public health and the environment. In addition, the agency has called for a simpler, more streamlined system for disposal that will make it easier for generators to safely collect and dispose of hazardous wastes. The proposed rule would apply to pharmacies, hospitals, physicians and dentists offices, outpatient care centers, ambulatory health care services, veterinary clinics and other facilities that generate hazardous pharmaceutical wastes.
The rule would also make it possible for generators to dispose of non hazardous pharmaceutical waste as universal waste, and thus remove unregulated waste from wastewater treatment plants and landfills. The collection of personal medications from the public for proper disposal would be facilitated at various locations across the nation. Currently, the Universal Waste Rule includes such items as batteries, pesticides and a variety of other items found in industrial and household settings.
Thermal treatment solutions will be required to make this proposal work. Plasma Thermal Destruction and Recovery is ready for the challenge. In addition to the information posted two weeks in this blog forum, unlike incineration or metal-bearing waste stabilization, PEAT’s plasma gasification process does not create any secondary solid wastes that would require further treatment or landfilling. For example, incinerators produce large quantities of bottom and fly ash that are toxic in nature and require further treatment (with stabilization agents); the resulting post-treated materials (whose volume may have increased significantly) will also require final disposal, sometimes in specially designed hazardous waste landfills.
Ultimately the commercial success of the PEAT’s plasma gasification technology lies in its ability to generate a favorable net present value based on existing market prices, industry dynamics and metrics. Using a conservative price point for pharmaceutical waste at $0.50 per pound, important financial benefits can be seen. PEAT’s waste-to-energy systems designed for on-site treatment (PTDR-100 and PTDR-500) have the ability to process feedstock on a continuous basis, feeding 21 hours a day with three hours reserved for maintenance and inorganic vitrification/pre-heating. Using 340 days per year, this indicates 8,165 operational hours per year and payback returns under three years.
You can read more about PEAT’s plasma gasification solutions with regards to pharmaceutical waste in the below article.
As was written in that article, waste treatment and alternative energy generation are two of the most difficult challenges facing many industries today. An ever-increasing global output, coupled with the rapid industrialization seen in many developing countries, is forcing the world to not only rethink how it handles waste, but how it views waste as a resource. Plasma gasification – and specifically PEAT’s waste-to-energy PTDR technology – allows companies to do just that.