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CATS reclassified as hazardous

construction of cats
RCF is the problem material but it's not in all CATS. Unfortunatley, nobody seems to know which ones so all must be reclassiifed.
From May 30th, 2016, the Environment Agency has reclassified Catalytic Convertors as hazardous waste due to the RCF matting used in some units.

Apart from the need for them to be handled as a hazardous waste, there is no problem with removing them using existing methods and storing in suitable stillages. The risk only occurs when the cats are de-canned. So, if yo don’t de-can, then it shouldn’t really impact on your operation, but you must ensure the company buying your CATs has the relevant permit to do so.

If you do de-can, then you need to take note as this does have serious implications. The support mat contained within some catalytic converters contains refractory ceramic fibre (RCF). RCF is classified as a Category 1B carcinogen and has properties very similar to asbestos. This means that catalytic converters containing an RCF mat must be classed as hazardous waste. Unfortunately, as it is not possible to identify which Cats have RCF within them, all CATs will be designated as hazardous waste. (You can find further information about classifying and handling hazardous waste here).

The two main suppliers of equipment for de-canning CATs are Crow Environmental and JMC. Crow told us that processed CAT shells which are free from RCF can be sold as scrap metal, but any shells or components which still have RCF attached will need to be disposed of as Hazardous waste.

De-canning CATs will now require an appropriate environmental permit and the de-canning process will need to be performed with equipment designed to protect both the operator and local area from contamination.

As we mentioned earlier, de-canners have until May 30th to either upgrade their equipment to prevent the risk of escape of carcinogenic material and obtain a suitable permit, or cease de-canning CATs.

Crow’s David Pinner told atfPro, “We have been talking with the EA and HSE to understand what we need to do to upgrade our equipment to meet the new requirements. Essentially the plant needs to be modified to meets the LEV (local exhaust ventilation) requirements including a HEPA filter on the exhaust of the dust plant. The LEV will need a suitable monitoring system. We also need to change the way the monolith and dust is stored and removed from the system, essentially minimizing the risk of RCF being released to the local atmosphere.

Crow offer an upgrade kit for all existing equipment, and all new equipment will be supplied to meet the new requirements.

JMC’s Phillip Pownall told atfPro, we are still finalising with the EA and HSE as to what is required to satisfy the new rules. Once this is concluded, we shall offer upgrades to existing plant.
For further information about de-canning equipment and this issue, contact:
Visit Crow Environmental's website, email them or call them on 01473 290267.
Visit JMC's website, email them or call them on 0115 940 9630.

April 2016

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