Risk Evaluation of Household Hazardous Waste-A case study
Paper in proceedings, 2009
Certain chemicals in household products, when not used up to the completion at homes, may have the potential to spread hazards. These chemicals consist of heavy metals, pesticides and various types of solvent which may be persistent and can cause severe damage to public and environment. These types of waste shall be collected separately from other waste and are in general destroyed in some kind of specific destruction plant.
Everyone who creates hazardous waste is responsible for a proper collection. When it comes to household hazardous waste (HHW) this could be a problem since it assumes that everyone in the society has enough knowledge of how to make a proper collection. Some types of hazardous waste are well-known and easy to recognize, e.g. solvents and batteries, but many people do not have any idea about some of the harmful products which they use and waste. Due to the fact that the hazardous waste is spread out in all households and that everyone is responsible for their own collection, leakages into the environment are possible in today's system. Therefore, a fact finding study is needed to be conducted to see: what would be the main causes of the release of household hazardous wastes (HHW) into the environment during the collection and to evaluate the risks of such an event. This study is carried out based on two studies conducted at Chalmers University of Technology and focused on a case related to collection procedure of HHW in Gothenburg city, Sweden.
The aim of the study is to develop a framework to find the most hazardous scenarios, the main causes of release of HHW into the environment. The goal is to propose a guide line to improve the collection procedure with lowest or acceptable risk.
Initially, by using “what if” analysis the most important possible scenarios have been discovered. The results have been used in constructing a “fish bone” diagram to analyze the collection methods in Gothenburg city in order to discover the most important causes of the release of hazardous waste into the environment. Based on the fact that nearly 20% of the HHWs are not collected at all (reference), the most hazardous scenario is when “there is no attempt to collect the household hazardous waste”. Subsequently a few scenarios of release to nature have been chosen to be investigated by setting up a model for semi quantitative risk analysis. Risk ranking has been performed with the aim of determining areas associated with high and very high risks. Finally, potential improvements have been discussed.
household hazardous waste
Keywords: Risk analysis