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Solvent Recovery Systems And The Advantages Of Waste Reduction

Solvent Recovery Systems And The Advantages Of Waste Reduction

by Ragini Salampure

Chemical manufacturing, petrochemical processing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and printing are among the many industries that use industrial solvents. For these companies, solvents represent an ongoing expense due to both purchasing costs and disposal costs. As a result, companies and research laboratories have good reasons to implement affordable solvent recovery systems today.

The ability to extract usable solvents from used materials used during processing and manufacturing reduces upfront expenses and cuts down on waste management burdens. Industrial entities have a range of options for adding solvent recovery systems to their operations. Solvent recycling systems can be added to existing operations often with very little modification. Additionally, manufacturers supply industrial solvent recycling systems to companies of all sizes. For the most part, this equipment is based upon three primary methods for stripping usable solvents from waste materials.

Carbon Adsorption Systems

Facilities with solvents that cause volatile organic compounds to enter the air can control pollutants in exhausted air with carbon adsorption systems. Activated carbon collects the solvent molecules. A desorption process that uses super-hot steam or another gas then draws the solvents off the carbon. Additional treatments can then produce reusable solvents.

Solvent Distillation Systems

Distillation machines are commonly chosen for the processing of liquid solvents. Solvent distillation boiling tanks are constructed in a variety of sizes to accommodate both small scale and large scale production facilities. They typically are designed to connect to drums or totes. Automatic waste loading and unloading keeps direct handling by workers to a minimum.

Solvent distillation results in a highly efficient solvent recovery system. Machines can handle solutions containing a single solvent or a combination of solvents.

Solvent Dissolving Systems

The third approach to solvent recycling dissolves solvents into another material. The secondary solution containing the solvents collected from a waste stream is then put through a distillation system. Efficiency is not as high with this method.

EPA Hazardous Waste Regulations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency categorizes many industrial waste products. Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in section 261 designates four lists, known as F, K, P, and U lists. The F list covers the industries that use solvents. These regulations establish the rules for handling and disposing of hazardous wastes.

From time to time, regulations are subject to change if new solvents come into use or safer handling procedure are devised. A plant manager should review regulations periodically to ensure that operational procedures are still compliant with current rules.

Better Waste Management Is Better Business

The addition of solvent recovery systems or the updating of a prior system could reduce an organization’s exposure to regulatory violations. Reusing solvent allows a company to keep a smaller supply on hand, which means a reduced amount of hazardous material on the premises.

Additionally, solvent recycling cuts down on the amount of solvent waste that must be temporarily stored on site and then transported to a recycling or disposal center. Tanks or barrels of hazardous waste always have the potential to cause injury or illness among workers should an accident or leak occur. A workplace accident involving stored solvent wastes awaiting removal could invite the attention of regulators. A failed inspection could then result. A costly fine would be expected on top of the disruption to operations.

Overall, solvent recycling systems promote a safer work environment. Health threats to workers are controlled and an organization can save money on solvent. Greater value arises from the money spent on solvent because it will be used at a slower rate due to recovery and waste handling expenses will come down.

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