04 Dec Advancements in Industrial Waste Management: Focus on Legislation and Innovation in Sicily
Legislation and Classification of Industrial Waste
Italian legislation on the management of industrial waste is complex and rigorous, aiming to ensure both environmental protection and the safety of disposal and recovery operations. Legislative Decree 152/2006, known as the “Environmental Code,” is the cornerstone of this legislation. Legislative Decree 213/2022 has made some modifications to it and introduced new provisions on the circular economy, water protection, and environmental responsibility.
The fourth part of the Environmental Code establishes the procedures for waste management. Here, a distinction is made between two main types of waste: urban waste and special waste. Special waste includes those derived from industrial and artisanal processes, commercial and health activities, and disposal and recovery operations. Their classification is based on criteria of hazard: hazardous and non-hazardous waste.
Characterizing waste is a crucial step: the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the waste are analyzed to determine its legal classification and admissibility to specific disposal or recovery facilities. This process is outlined in Article 184 of Legislative Decree 152/2006. For hazardous waste, reference is made to Annex D of the fourth part of the decree.
Importance and Challenges in Industrial Waste Management
The 2023 report of ISPRA (Higher Institute for Environmental Protection and Research) highlights that non-hazardous special waste from manufacturing activities represents about 17% of the total non-hazardous special waste year 2021, amounting to approximately 26.1 million tonnes. This data underscores the importance of proper and responsible management of such waste in the industrial and manufacturing context.
Managing industrial waste requires careful risk assessment, as well as compliance with current regulations to ensure environmental safety and public health. Companies must not only comply with regulations for the characterization and classification of waste but also explore innovative solutions for recovery and recycling, in line with the principles of the circular economy.
Technological Innovation in the Waste Treatment Plant in Sicily
In a significant move towards sustainable waste management, an innovative collaboration in Sicily has led to the establishment of an advanced plant for the treatment of non-hazardous industrial waste. This plant, created with the participation of a leading company in the field of waste collection and storage, produced by artisanal, industrial, and construction companies, represents a step forward in the recycling and thermal valorization cycle of materials.
The heart of the plant is a powerful two-shaft shredder, model 2R 20/150/SD, with a hydraulic motorization of 110 kW (150 HP). This allows for efficient waste shredding, preparing it for subsequent recycling or thermal valorization processes. The innovative loading hopper is equipped with water nebulizers for dust suppression and a hydraulic arch press to prevent material bridging. The hopper has two suction inlets to allow connection to the client’s existing plant. A hydraulic grab ensures effective and safe material loading.
A particularly interesting element is the integration of Industry 4.0 technology. The plant’s conveyor is equipped with three pairs of load cells connected to a Profinet network weighing system. This system automatically measures the weight of the processed material and transmits the data to the client’s distributed control system (DCS), through the programmable logic controller (PLC), thus improving process efficiency and transparency.
This infrastructure not only increases waste processing capacity to 4–7 tonnes per hour (depending on the materials) but also introduces an advanced level of control and process management thanks to the ability to send instructions remotely and monitor the efficiency of the plant in real time.
This initiative, in addition to contributing to the reduction of the environmental impact in the management of industrial waste, is a striking example of how technology and innovation can be effectively applied in waste management, conforming to the principles of Industry 4.0 and promoting sustainable practices in the industrial sector.
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