Solvent Waste Recycling

waste chemicals

Some Guidelines for Solvent Waste Recycling and Disposal

In the current marketplace, companies need to stay as competitive and efficient as possible. Most businesses have to find ways of removing any avoidable operating costs and, at the same time, be compliant with the tight legislation in terms of waste management. If your activity involves the use of harmful solvents, you may need to implement an efficient solvent waste management plan.

Waste solvents typically fall into these 4 categories:

  • Non-Halogenated Solvents:  This is the major general waste stream, comprising of solvents such as methanol, acetone, ethanol, ether, ethyl acetate, hexanes, and toluene.
  • Halogenated Solvents: These include, either in total or as a mixture, halogenated solvents such as dichloromethane, chloroform (methylene chloride)
  • Heavy Metals Solvents: This comprises any solvent waste that contains quantities of heavy metals, like arsenic, cadmium, barium, chromium, lead, selenium, mercury and silver
  • Paint Solvent and Residue: This waste results from utilizing oil-based paints and thinners, including amounts of oil-based paint residue

When you deal with solvents, or any other harmful liquid waste stream, it is paramount to follow some important rules. For example, reactive substances should never be mixed in one single waste container. Acids, alkalis, oxidizing, peroxides and reducing agents should not go into different solvent waste streams. They should be clearly labelled, separated from other waste and treated as hazardous chemicals.

Recycling your solvent or liquid waste

When possible, recycling should always be the first option to consider. For organisations that generate large quantities of harmful liquid waste, disposal can be a costly process.  Besides the obvious benefits for the environment, implementing an efficient recycling policy can offer a more cost-effective solution for the business. Managing hazardous liquid waste poses a risk in the work environment that needs to be assessed and managed properly. Also, storing containers of hazardous waste ready for pick up can take up some valuable space.

Some solvents can be easily recycled and re-used; this is particularly true for simpler waste streams. However, more complicated liquid waste streams may need sophisticated equipment, which has to be optimized to the exact solvent waste and which has the ability to break down complex solutions into their isolated solvents. Recycling solutions may provide you with re-usable liquids saving your business substantially on materials used in your processes.

Being able to recycle your solvent waste can dramatically decrease your purchase costs as most equipment will be able to recycle up to 95% of your liquid waste. You may also be able to avoid nearly all the disposal costs if, after the recycling process, you end up with pure re-usable solvent which is no longer harmful and may be disposed of within your municipal system.

Solvent recycling is a great option for organisations that produce by-products such as Printing & Ink, Coatings & Paint, Metal Finishing and Automotive Painting.  There are many types of recycling systems available, from batch loads to fully automated processes. 

Disposing of your solvent or liquid waste

If recycling is not an option, you must take all the necessary steps to safely dispose of your solvent or liquid waste according to the latest regulations.  Once these solvents are no longer usable, the liquid must be placed in a suitable closed container (preferably the original container) and labelled as Hazardous Waste. The containers need to be stored in a dedicated area of your production facilities and only employees who received a proper training must be able to access it.

At All Waste Matters we have the experience and equipment to safely handle all kinds of industrial and manufacturing liquid waste streams.

As one of the UK’s Leading Liquid Waste Management companies, we offer a nationwide collection service from our fully licensed liquid waste treatment plant. 

We are fully licensed with the Environment Agency to offer you complete peace of mind and we can offer you a complete liquid waste removal service – whether you need regular pick-ups or just a one-off collection.

Many flammable liquids we collect are reused as secondary fuels for incinerators, whilst other chemicals are treated using the latest physico – chemical techniques, where by-liquid wastes are actually blended together to neutralize their hazardous properties.

The range of liquid waste we can handle are vast and all of our staff are fully trained in handling hazardous liquid waste to ensure your collection is carried out with minimum fuss. Three of our site staff are certified to TMS4 by WAMITAB, currently the highest and gold standard in Waste Management operations ensuring maximum compliance with our permit at all times.

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