Policies for Chlorinated Solvent Waste

An Exploratory Application of a Model of Chemical Life Cycles and Interactions

by Kathleen A. Wolf, Frank Camm


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Thousands of businesses use hazardous substances in the course of producing goods or providing services. This report focuses on the waste generation and management of chlorinated solvents. These solvents are used widely in diverse industries, they pose a variety of health and environmental problems, they are currently under regulatory scrutiny, and they are among the first set of substances restricted from land disposal in November 1986. This research uses a life-cycle approach to develop a materials balance of the solvents, spanning final production through disposal. It specifies the interaction of the solvents with one another and with other chemicals, the influence of other regulations on solvent use and waste generation, and the tradeoffs among various waste management methods. The emphasis is on three kinds of effects: a change in demand for a specific type of disposal; a change in the level of waste generated; and a change in environmental emissions. The results suggest that the opportunity for direct substitution among disposal options is the major factor in understanding the influence of disposal policy on choices among disposal options. Moreover, generators will respond by investigating alternative disposal options like incineration, and other production options like reclamation.

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