November 2022

Welcome to our November 2022 newsletter. This month we have news about:

  • The upgrade to the Job’s details page
  • Our use of XRF for the analysis of plastic wastes
  • New feature: Ability to change units in a Waste Stream Template

Upgrade to the Job details page 

We have just upgraded the Job’s Details tab (both Editions) to collect information about the waste stream. The new fields were added because:

  • The information in them should be part of any robust classification.
  • Too often we are asked to help check a classification and find some or all of this information is missing from the report.
  • Reviewers can check that the selected List of Waste code is correct.

Note that there is a quick fill button at the top of this section which allows the classifier to copy details from an existing Job if relevant.
The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code[IB1] is not required for classifiers from the EU nations. [We plan to add the equivalent European NACE business activity codes in due course.]
At the top of the Details tab there is also an extra field that describes the purpose of the Job. It is initially populated from a selection list (see screenshot below) that has been added to the waste stream selection pop-up window that appears when you create a new Job.
The purpose of this field is to better understand how HazWasteOnline is used so that we can target development to the needs of the different types of classifiers. The list has 7 options that describe the Purpose of the classification. 

Each option includes a description to help classifiers pick the one that best matches their task. The simplest is labelled Back Office, suitable for training and experimenting – this option doesn’t require any of the new waste stream details fields to be filled but does add the watermark “Evaluation” to any PDF reports (so these reports aren’t inadvertently used as final reports).  The Purpose of a Job can be changed to a different option at any time.
In the case of existing Jobs, if the classifier has to reclassify the data for any reason, then the Details tab will need the Purpose to be selected and the extra data fields completed as required.

XRF Analysis of plastics

We recently invested in an XRF Analyser to help us determine whether a number of plastic-based waste streams contain hazardous levels of certain metals (including antimony, zinc, lead copper) and/or bromine (brominated fire retardants).

We are currently working on a couple of projects to determine whether there are hazardous substances in the plastics.

Purchasing an XRF is no simple matter as its use is heavily regulated due to the machine being able to generate X-Rays when energised. Not only do you have to register with the HSE, but you also have to have appointed a Radiation Protection Advisor (external consultant in our case) and have one or more staff trained as a Radiation Protection Supervisor. Once this is done you then have to write a suitable risk assessment and a Local Rules document for use of the particular instrument – which in turn references annual servicing/testing of the instrument by the manufacturer (i.e. ongoing annual costs).
If you are using the XRF in hand-held mode, you also have to have a dosimeter to monitor the operator’s potential exposure to X-Rays.
We mention this because we know that some companies are considering or have purchased an XRF Analyser for looking at soils and may not be aware that:

  1. they have to also invest in the training and registration otherwise they are breaking the law (Ionising Regulations 2017
  2. using the XRF data in HazWasteOnline without any MCERTS accredited lab data doesn’t meet the requirements of the Agency’s technical guidance.

New feature – Ability to change units in a waste stream template

The waste stream template tool has been upgraded to allow the classifier to change the default unit, for example from mg/kg to µg/kg or %. This gives classifiers more flexibility but also means they have to be more careful when they are manually entering data for different data sets. This feature is available in both editions of HazWasteOnline.