Knowing how and where to dispose of solvents is critical. Is your business saving money and cutting back on costs yet with solvent recycling?

Disposing of Organic Solvents

When it comes to disposing of organic solvents, there’s more to consider than you might initially think. In this article we will discuss your options for disposing or recycling organic solvents, and how Solvent Washer can help boost your business while reducing your business’s carbon footprint.

What is a Solvent?

A solvent is a chemical compound with the property of dissolving another substance. Solvents are classed as liquids or gases, and used to dissolve other substances such as rubber or glass, not by applying heat or pressure.

What are Organic Solvents?

What are organic solvents? Organic solvents are a type of liquid organic compound that is used to dissolve other substances, such as cellulose for the textile industry.

Many solvents have been linked to health issues and environmental pollution. In this article we discuss how to dispose of organic solvents and also the most cost effective addition you can add to your waste management program. We’ll give you a hint: it’s all about solvent recycling!

Where are Organic Solvents Used?

Organic solvents are used in industry, but also as household products. VOCs such as trichloroethylene (TCE) and methylene chloride (MCH2CH2Cl) can be harmful to humans and to the environment.

Organic solvents may evaporate from liquid containers and travel to nearby areas where they can evaporate or become airborne which can be harmful to the lungs and cause health problems such as irritation and even cancer.

Organic solvents are typically used in the manufacture of polymers, resins, dyes, textiles, paper products, paints, pharmaceuticals and pesticides.

They are also used in the consumer product markets as perfumes, cosmetics and flavorants.

Health concerns about VOC exposure include irritation of eyes, nose and throat. Solvent vapors are invisible to the naked eye but they irritate the lungs and can cause respiratory problems.

Are Organic Solvents Dangerous?

Organic Solvents are harmful to human health and the environment if not used responsibly. Solvents are widely used in our home, school, workplace and transport.

Solvents can be used at work in either large or small quantities to dissolve other chemicals, but they are also used in the general cleaning of equipment and surfaces in the work premises.

Chemicals dissolved in solvents can be easily spread by splashes when pouring away or storing solvents.

Organic solvents are the lifeblood of many businesses. You need them for cleaning, for coating or drying processes, or to clean equipment. But they are dangerous if not handled properly. That is why it is so important to choose a storage or recycling system that will enable you to comply with regulations and keep your employees safe. 

But what happens when you cannot store or recycle a solvent? In these cases, you will have to dispose of solvents. But how should this be done? And what is the safest way to dispose of solvents?

The following are considered carcinogenic solvents. These are hazardous waste and will require proper hazardous waste removal, subsequent disposal or solvent recycling where possible:

A. Carbon tetrachloride

You might have heard of this one before as it goes by a variety of names. Carbon tetrachloride is also known as carbon tet (often abbreviated by dry cleaning services).

It is also referred to as Halon-104 (by the friendly firefighters) and it is also referred to as Refrigerant-10 (by the HVAC industry professionals). Whatever you call this organic solvent, it can be a hazard to both the environment and your health.

Excessive exposure to this substance can lead to fatalities. For this reason, Carbon tet should be disposed of correctly and handled as a hazardous waste.

B. Benzene

Benzine is also a common solvent that most people have heard about. Although it is a natural substance, making up most of crude oil, it is used for its aromatic hydrocarbon qualities in an industrial process. Prolonged exposure to benzene is linked to failure of bone marrow.

C. Trichloroethylene

This is a slightly newer formulation, as it was formulated in the 50’s when life was just beginning to evolve to a new stage of commercialization.

As we know about many substances used during that period of time up until the 90s, there was little to no warnings (or knowledge). Trichloroethylene was initially used as rocket fuel, a substance to decaffeinate coffee, and an anesthetic- in no particular order.

Fast forward to modern day times, the solvent is used in a variety of industrial applications, but is now considered a hazardous and dangerous solvent.

Still not Saving Money on Solvent Recycling?

Don’t worry, we can all be a bit stubborn at first. If you’re not yet saving money with solvent recycling, then you’re probably still having to store, dispose and transport plenty of hazardous waste materials.

While solvent recycling won’t reclaim all your spent solvents, it can recycle up to 90%, depending on the waste type.

How to Store, Dispose and Transport Organic Solvents

If you haven’t already heard, the EPA makes it clear that organic solvents cannot be flushed down municipal sewer systems. Today we’ll tell you why, and how to properly dispose of these valuable chemicals.

By the way, they don’t care if your solvent is miscible or non-miscible in water; flammable or inflammable–they treat them both the same.

Organic solvents demand a great deal of proper hazardous waste management. It’s vital to know what you’re doing when handling these substances, and failure to comply with the rules can result in serious consequences.

Solvent recycling can cut out risk associated with handling when transporting and disposing of organic and inorganic waste.

Organic solvents are particularly volatile. They require special storage containers to prevent them from evaporating. However, even with the proper containers, you must take precautions to ensure that no vapors escape.

Organic solvent waste disposal companies are working with the owner/user of the business to ensure that there is compliance with appropriate federal guidelines. 

The company uses specialized equipment to handle, transport and dispose of the organic solvents in a safe manner.  Their goal is to help your company comply with all federal requirements for organic solvent waste handling.

Organic solvents may be combined in the same organic solvent waste container if they are nonreactive with one another.

The label must indicate the ratio of solvents- if the incorrect solvents are mixed, your company will have OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that runs on both state and federal level of the United States)  to deal with, nevermind a long list of disasters.

So if you want to dispose of excess organic solvent instead of recycling organic solvent, then you first need to store the hazardous waste correctly. Next, you’ll need to transport the solvent to the hazardous waste disposal site.

Now, you can either take that upon yourself (or your company) or outsource a company to do that for you.

Given how dangerous the hazardous waste is, the latter makes more sense. But, transportation of hazardous waste can cost a pretty penny.

Transportation of Hazardous Waste

Getting rid of organic solvents? You’ll do better if you outsource disposal to professionals who know what they’re doing because your people may not be trained to use the waste properly.

Organic solvents are powerful chemicals. They must be shipped and stored according to the regulations of the US Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other government agencies.

It’s important to make sure your chemical waste gets disposed of correctly. To do so, you should ensure that your waste management company is both permitted and licensed to handle your type of chemical waste.

Chemicals which are disposed of must be transported to a facility which is legally permitted for disposal.

If you don’t meet EPA’s strict waste haulage and disposal guidelines, you could be held liable for their cost of cleanup.  If you don’t meet EPA requirements, you’ll be held responsible and could face significant fines.

Ultimately, the responsibility does not fall into the transportation company’s lap- your company is responsible for the hazardous waste until the moment it is disposed of safely and securely. 

Transportation and/or treatment of hazardous waste is an EPA-regulated process, so you’re responsible for making sure that this process is done according to the EPA’s strict guidelines.

Therefore, when you’re responsible for the way some hazardous waste is transported , you’ll want to choose a company that meets EPA criteria.

When it comes to organic solvent disposal, you should know that proper and safe handling and disposal is vital. Not only to the environment but also the health and safety of your staff and customers.

Disposal of hazardous and non hazardous waste can be a costly endeavor to both your business and the environment- so why not incorporate solvent recycling into your waste management?

Organic solvent disposal is a messy business. It doesn’t matter if it has been used for decades without incident or indeed if you made it yourself and know that it’s perfectly safe: if you don’t manage the waste correctly, it can cause problems.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How should spill cleaning materials be discarded?

Answer: Spill cleaning materials should be sealed and labeled appropriately before being discarded in the appropriate solid waste container.

Question: What are disposal procedures?

Answer: A waste disposal procedure is an outlined framework for disposing waste, and is often legally required. There are various specific steps to follow when disposing of any hazardous waste materials.

These steps include labeling and will depend on the substance, and sometimes on the area you are working in too.

Question: Can you put acetone down the sink?

Answer: Can you pour acetone down the drain? The answer is a resounding no. It is essential to know how to dispose acetone in lab environments. Acetone disposal in a lab has to follow the correct waste disposal procedure.

Whether that means using hazardous waste disposal services or solvent recycling.

Question: How to dispose of mercury in a lab?

Mercury should be sealed in a special hazardous waste container. Never mix it with other waste materials, whether organic or inorganic waste. Never pour it down the drain.

Recycling and Disposal: A waste solution that’s cost-effective and does the environmental service.

Ready to Benefit from Solvent Recycling?

Don’t throw away your used solvents and hazardous materials. Recycling them instead just makes sense, not only for the environment, but also for your budget.

If your business produces solvent-based products, you’ll need to dispose of the solvent used. Some solvents can be returned for reuse; this is called reclaiming or recycling. Solvent Washer is an ideal solution for reclaiming spent solvents.

When it comes time to recycle solvent waste, simply making sure the solvent washer is correctly sized and that it can properly handle the volume of solvent waste will help ensure the best possible result.

In fact, you can use our ROI calculator to determine the ideal solution for your company.

Using the right solvent washer for the process of your choice means that you’ll be sending less of your solvent waste to landfills and potentially taking years of it out of play with the correct disposal service.

Solvent washers are professional models that make the process of cleaning materials much easier and more effective. By using the right solvent washer for the process of your choice, you’ll be sending less of your solvent to landfills. Solvent waste is warming the environment through chemical processes in landfills.

You can take years of it out of play with the correct disposal service from Solvent Washer. Let us help you find a solvent washer to get your company up and running with a cost-saving solvent recycling management program.