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Glossary of terms relevant to discussion of mercury storage and disposal Mercury Storage and Disposal LAC Two Countries Project Gustavo Solórzano Ochoa,

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Presentation on theme: "Glossary of terms relevant to discussion of mercury storage and disposal Mercury Storage and Disposal LAC Two Countries Project Gustavo Solórzano Ochoa,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Glossary of terms relevant to discussion of mercury storage and disposal Mercury Storage and Disposal LAC Two Countries Project Gustavo Solórzano Ochoa, Consultant Montevideo, Uruguay 28-29 June 2011

2 Background Discussions during INC-1 meeting Open Ended Working Group and others Regional UNEP Groups PNUMA (Asia Pacific & GRULAC) for Mercury Storage Reported Confusion over terms used related to storage and disposal of elemental mercury and mercury-containing waste etc. Terminology used and understood differently among participants. Related studies/documents prepared on UNEPs Global Mercury Partnership framework.

3 In order to assist discussions within the Partnership on Supply and Storage, the document Glossary of terms relevant to discussion of mercury storage and disposal has been elaborated with UNEP support. Important terms are presented in a Question and Answer format to provide a basic overview of the various terms used. The contents in the document are not intended to pre-empt any discussions or decisions at upcoming mercury INC sessions, but may serve as a basis for starting discussions. Objective

4 Whats included Presents general descriptions of important terms Lists relevant definitions from chemical and waste conventions, mainly Basel Convention where available and applicable Provides background information on complex terms and issues Groups synonymous terms

5 Term(s)Definition Commodity mercury Elemental mercury which meets the specifications or quality parameters for use in a product or process. It is normally produced and stored for the purpose of later sale for use in products or processes. Excess or surplus mercury Is the amount of national (regional) mercury supply that exceeds national (regional) demand for use in products and processes. It may be newly produced from mining/metal ores processing, available from industries that have converted from mercury- using processes, or recovered from products at the end of life Waste Trash, rubbish, litter, or any material that is unwanted or unusable. Wastes are substances or objects which are disposed of or are intended to be disposed of or are required to be disposed of by the provisions of national law (BC Article 2-1) Definitions

6 Term(s)Definition Hazardous wastes Those characterized by chemical and physical properties such as, but not limited to, human and ecotoxicity, flammability or corrosiveness. a) Wastes that belong to any category contained in Annex I, unless they do not possess any of the characteristics contained in Annex III (BC); b) Wastes that are not covered under paragraph (a) but are defined as, or are considered to be, hazardous wastes by the domestic legislation of the Party of export, import or transit (BC Article 1-1). Mercury waste May be categorized in three principal groups: A. Elemental mercury waste (liquid) B.Waste containing mercury (mainly sludge-like or solid) C.Wastes contaminated with mercury (from industrial processes)

7 Term(s)Definition Waste management in general The collection, transport and disposal of hazardous wastes or other wastes, including after-care of disposal sites (BC Article 2-2) Removal from the market Means that through the utilization of policy or regulatory tool or a related measure, mercury is not allowed to be sold, used or reused and instead is placed into storage or otherwise disposed of so that it cannot be traded on the open market Storage of waste Storage covers: 1. Storage of waste pending a (final) disposal operation (like landfilling) 2. Accumulation of material intended for recycling and recovery Temporary storage of mercury waste Normally, it refers to a storage understood as a temporary activity, restricted to a certain period (months up to a few years according to national law). Definitions

8 Term(s)Definition Permanent or underground storage of mercury waste Typically associated with underground storage (disposal) of waste in mines. It describes the operation of placing special containers with waste in an ordered manner in open cavities of former underground mines (at several 100 m depth). Relates to disposal of waste, not to storage of commodity mercury; it is considered as a final, irreversible, disposal operation. When full, the facility can be sealed so that the waste is isolated permanently from the biosphere. Storage of commodity mercury and mercury added products All operations and processes that are necessary to hold and control stocks of mercury commodities and products during their life-cycle, along the chain of distribution (producer, wholesale dealer, retailer, end-user) for later sale or use. Definitions

9 Term(s)Definition Long-term man- agement and storage (of ele- mental mercury) US concept of storing elemental mercury currently for a very long period (up to 40 years or more) in order to reduce its market availability. This operation takes place in warehouses, thus it is often referred to as above-ground storage or surface storage. Above ground storage facility Above ground facility is a specially designed and operated above ground warehouse where temporary storage of waste, commodity mercury or mercury-added products takes place Disposal Discarding a material or waste so that this is not used in its initial form any longer; relates only to waste, not commodities/products. The term final disposal is sometimes used to describe disposal operations that lead to a final placement of waste in a waste disposal facility, like a specially engineered landfill/underground mine. Means any operation specified in Annex IV of the Basel Convention (BC Article 2-4) Definitions

10 Term(s)Definition Specially engineered landfill Sites selected for their containment properties, these being natural, augmented by, or provided directly by liners; the overall engineering being such as to ensure as far as possible the isolation of wastes from the environment. Such landfills are considered a final resort, only to be used after every effort has been made to reduce, mitigate or eliminate the hazards posed by such wastes Retrieval of waste Recovery of waste from a waste disposal or storage site in order to extract and use its valuable components. Definitions

11 Division of Technology, Industry and Economics Chemicals Branch 11–13 chemin des Anémones CH-1219 Châtelaine, Geneva, Switzerland Tel: +41 22 917 8111 Fax: +41 22 797 3460 E-mail: Web:

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