PLASCON® and the destruction of 2,4-D

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In May-2013 the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) published a report, informing of their intention to cancel the registration for manufacturing and selling of 24 products containing high volatile ester forms of 2,4-D.

2,4-D is a herbicide and secondarily a plant growth regulator. Agent Orange, the herbicide widely used during the Vietnam war contained 2,4-D. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified it as a Class II ‘moderately hazardous’ pesticide. This places it in the same class as endosulfan, lindane, paraquat and toxaphene. 2,4-D is a herbicide used to control weeds in crops, commercial and industrial areas, turf, forestry and waterways. There are now 220 registered 2,4-D products in Australia

In 1995 the APVMA began a review of 2,4-D because of concerns over its potential risk to public health, occupational health and safety, and the environment (including impacts on waterways, non-target animals and plants).

As a waste generator, it is your responsibility to know the types of waste you produce, and to ensure it ends up at a waste facility that knows how to effectively treat it! This is irrespective of whether your waste is disposed, treated, recycled or applied to land.

So, if you have 2,4-D, what can you do about it?

To assist in the treatment of these types of waste, Toxfree has state-of-the-art “hazardous chemical” destruction technology, known as the PLASCON®,

The PLASCON® process produces a high temperature plasma arc by ionizing argon gas in a 150 kW DC discharge between a separate cathode and anode. A mixture of waste and oxygen is injected radially into the plasma at a specially designed injection manifold. This process is known as pyrolysis. Unlike incineration, dioxin formation is avoided by the use of pyrolising conditions and rapid quenching. PLASCON® can achieve Destruction Efficiencies (DE) in excess of 99.999999%.

PLASCON® waste destruction eliminates a wide variety of concentrated organic waste types including PCBs, pesticides, ozone depleting substances such as CFCs, HCFCs, as well as other greenhouse gases, refrigerants and halons. Waste treatment can be either in-process or from a stockpiled feedstock, with a throughput of up to 3 tonnes of waste per day.

Apart from 2,4-D Plascon can destroy many other pesticides including DDT, DDE, Dieldrin, Aldrin, Lindane, Malathion, Heptachlor, Ethion, 2,4,5-T, Carbaryl, Dichlorovos, Chlorpyrifos.

For more facts about 2,4-D please refer to the APVMA website (click here).

Jonathan Fisher, Business Manager – Technical & Environmental Services

Sources: Australian Pesticide & Veterinaty Medicine Authority(APVMA)

60 million fluorescent tubes

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Did you know that Australians dispose of around 50-60 million fluorescent tubes and high intensity discharge (HID) lamps each year?

Currently it is estimated that only 5% of mercury-containing lamps are recycling around Australia. The average fluorescent tube contains approximately 15mg of mercury. This equates to approximately 10,000 tonnes of mercury contaminated waste being contained within Australian landfills.

Mercury is one of the most hazardous metals due to its high toxicity to humans and the environment. Mercury converts to the toxic and volatile gas methylmercury that can spread through the wider environment and can create adverse biodiversity effects. The largest source of mercury contamination in landfills is lighting products.

This is a major ecological hazard.

Toxfree has the capability to take mercury containing lighting products and convert them into their three core elements; aluminium, mercury and glass. The process involves the crushing, separating and cleaning of the lighting products, resulting in the elements being recycling and reused, instead of reaching landfill.

What can you and your business do?

As a waste generator, it is your responsibility to know the types of waste you produce, and to ensure it ends up at a waste facility that knows how to effectively treat it! This is irrespective of whether your waste is disposed, treated, recycled or applied to land.

Through our national recycling efforts, Toxfree has the ability to recycle Fluorescent Tubes, Lamps and Globes. We are also a foundation signatory to the joint industry and Government initiative “Fluorocycle”.

Jesse Brown, Business Manager – Technical & Environmental Services

Sources: Fluorocycle, Globe Jockeys, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population & Communities, NSW EPA & Highlands Regional Waste Management Group.