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Pollution Prevention and Control Technologies for Plating Operations

Section 7 - Off-Site Metals Recycling


7.5.3 Comparison of Off-Site Metals Recycling and Land Disposal Costs

This project has collected data on the actual costs incurred by platers for both off-site recycling and the land disposal of wastewater treatment sludge. From Exhibit 7-1, the average unit cost for off-site recycling of F006 waste is $0.40/lb (weighted average is $0.26/lb) and the median cost is $0.30/lb (includes transportation and processing fees). The lower weighted average and median costs are due mostly to the high unit cost charged for small volume generators. From Section 6, the average unit cost for the disposal of F006 waste is $0.53/lb (includes transportation, stabilization, disposal and disposal tax) and the median cost is $0.25/lb. Therefore, the difference in cost between off-site recycling and land disposal appears to be small. This cost comparison does not consider the possibility that, due to their chemical compositions, some wastes that are presently landfilled may not qualify as cadidates for off-site recycling or that the generator of such wastes may be charged higher than average processing cost rates.

In addition to the obvious cost elements associated with recycling and disposal options (e.g., transportation, processing, taxes) a comparison of total costs for these options should include a factor for liability. The liability factor adds consideration of potential future cleanup costs that would be incurred if a disposal or recovery site became a Superfund site. Because recovery sites reclaim most of the waste material they accept, presumably the liability factor for this option would be considerably lower than the land disposal option. The liability for land disposal was estimated by one source to be $38 per ton ($0.02/lb) in 1989, up from $11 per ton in 1986. These values were arrived at by dividing the average cost of cleanup at a Superfund site by the average quantity at a Superfund site (ref. 23).

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