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Pollution Prevention and Control Technologies for Plating Operations

Section 7 - Off-Site Metals Recycling


Section 7 covers off-site recycling of non-precious, metal-bearing wastes. Off-site recycling is becoming a popular alternative to land disposal for metal finishing wastes such as wastewater treatment sludge. Approximately 31% of the plating shops that responded to the Users Survey currently send this type of sludge to off-site recycling firms. The sludges are processed thermally or chemically and are converted to a usable form such as feedstock for smelting operations.

Exhibit 7-1 presents a summary of the Users Survey data covering off-site recycling of wastewater treatment plant sludges (RCRA waste code F006 or F019). Column 1 shows the shop code (PS 001 to PS 318). Columns 2 and 3 show the name of the recycle company and the distance from the plating shop to the recycling company (ranges of distances are used to conceal the identity of the respondents). Column 4 indicates the annual quantity of sludge that is shipped for recycling. Columns 5 and 6 show the unit cost and total cost for recycling, including transportation. The average and median values for waste quantity, unit cost and total cost are shown at the bottom of Exhibit 7-1.

Exhibit 7-2 presents a summary of the Users Survey data covering off-site recycling of spent metal finishing solutions and miscellaneous wastes. Some respondents to the survey listed wastes within their completed questionnaire that are disposed of rather than recovered. An effort was made to eliminate these data from the database; however, in some cases, the fate of the waste could not be determined. For example, many West Coast platers send their spent baths to Norris Industries. This company was contacted in an effort to determine if these wastes are treated/disposed or recycled. Norris Industries did not respond to the request for information and the fate of the wastes could therefore not be determined.

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