Wednesday, October 29, 2014

ASTM Developing Manufacturing Waste Standard

Currently, no widely recognized standard exists for classifying manufacturing waste. A proposed ASTM International standard is being developed that will help manufacturers address waste classification issues. ASTM WK38312, Classification for Waste From Manufacturing Facilities and Associated Support Facilities, covers all waste created in manufacturing facilities, including office and production waste. Both hazardous and nonhazardous wastes will be covered by the standard. It will provide definitions and methods that will help to eliminate confusion that currently exists regarding manufacturing waste.

"At first, this sounds like a very simple issue and you may ask why is a standard required," says ASTM member Amy Costello. "But it is more complicated than that." Costello cites the following questions that arise when classifying manufacturing waste:

  • Is waste that is generated at a facility, and then sold, actually waste, or is it a byproduct?
  • If this same material is given to another to use, is it still waste or a byproduct?
  • What if the material is waste from one process, but is used somewhere else on the manufacturing site, such as wood dust that is burned in a boiler for energy?
  • Is waste material generated during capital projects considered manufacturing waste?

The standard is being developed by Subcommittee E60.13 on Sustainable Manufacturing, part of ASTM Committee E60 on Sustainability. ASTM invites all interested parties to participate in the committee's standards development activities.