If your business deals with solvents on a regular basis, you must treat your solvent waste by recycling them smartly to benefit your business and save dollars. Solvent recyclers have been in the market for ages.
However, they have gained much popularity after the pandemics hit. Every business is now re-working on strategies to cut costs and improve revenue wherever possible, and therefore, recycling the waste solvent plays a vital role here.
Some businesses may not find it tempting or not yet understand the benefits of solvent recycling at an early stage. Solvent Waste Management explains the significant economic benefits of recycling your solvents and how you can save dollars and become an attractive deal to ESG investors.
You will surely minimize your environmental footprint by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases and optimizing the use of the critically available resources.
This article will help you understand the immense benefits of solvent recycling for your business. Below is the list of solvents that can be recycled.
- denatured ethanol
- ethyl acetate
- ink wash
- isopropyl alcohol (IPA)
- lacquer thinner
- methyl ethyl ketone (MEK)
- methylene chloride
- mineral spirits
- n-propyl bromide
- propylene carbonate
- tetrahydrofuran (THF)
How does solvent recycling work?
Solvent recycling is the process that helps companies to reuse the extracted useful material from their waste products being generated during the manufacturing process. Such recovered products are used as raw materials to eliminate the need to purchase new solvents.
Companies use different methods to recover the solvents, such as:
- Azeotropic distillation
- Reactive distillation
- Batch and Continuous
- Miscible and immiscible
- Extractive distillation
- Multi-stage rectification
- Filtration, and many more..
The most commonly used method to recover the solvents is simple distillation. In this process, thermal methods are used to heat the solvent mixture to generate vapor. Then, the collected vapor is liquified to convert into liquid.
But, in case of the sensitive chemical materials, thermal decomposition can occur during distillation.
To prevent it and reduce energy consumption, companies use the vacuum distillation process that is basically performed at low pressure (vacuum), reducing the liquids’ boiling point making the various components evaporate at a lower temperature than usual.
The collected liquid is no more contaminated and is of near virgin quality and purity. You can dispose of the left waste by mixing it with other waste materials to recover energy.
Different ways to recycle the waste solvents
Before we explain the benefits, let us go through the different options available for solvent recycling. You can implement any of the following-mentioned methods to recycle the solvents. However, you need to make sure that your waste stream can be recycled or not, and the answer is yes in the case of the solvents mentioned above.
- Beneficial reuse- this method will convert your waste to the product by delivering it to companies that use that waste as a raw product based on their characteristics.
- Tolling – this is the process of cleaning solvents based on the company’s specification so they can be reused in their manufacturing process instead of purchasing the new and expensive virgin solvent.
- Reclamation – here, the spent solvents are given to the third party so they can clean and reclaim them as per their specifications and sell the cleaned product to other companies as a replaced virgin solvent.
- On-site recycling – A third party installs and manages their solvent recycling equipment within their manufacturing facility for preparing a spent solvent to reuse and saves money by eliminating the need for transportation and disposal costs.
How can your business benefit from solvent recycling?
Purchasing virgin solvents and managing waste requires a hefty investment that can be easily managed if you have a suitable solvent recycling facility that offers benefits, as mentioned below.
- Solvent recycling and recovery helps your company reduce the liquid waste disposal cost, storage costs, and purchasing cost of new chemicals. It will eventually have substantial economic benefits on your business by providing cost-effective recycling processes.
- Another benefit of solvent recovery is reducing environmental impact. Whenever the manufacturing is completed or in process, you are left with hazardous waste that is challenging to dispose of; thus, recycling and recovering such waste will help you eliminate the need to dispose of them and make useful products out of the reclaimed solvent.
- Also, it makes the working environment better for the workers by reducing the emission of harmful products in the environment. Thus, it saves the company’s cost on their workers’ healthcare.
- If you opt for the on-site recycling and solvent recovery process, you can also save money on transportation by managing all the waste in your company space.
- It even helps your company be in the good books of your potential investors and banks by improving your ESG reporting.
- It also helps your company by eliminating your dependency on expensive solvents for creating the end-product.
Is Recycling complex solvent NMP (N-thylpyrrolidone) possible?
NMP (N-methylpyrrolidone) is one of the most challenging solvents to recycle and reuse. It is commonly used by agrochemical producers to clean their systems between the material processing batches. Its thick nature and tacky characteristics makes it a problematic solvent to recycle.
Earlier companies used the incineration method to dispose of the spent solvent “waste.” But the problem is incineration is expensive, wasteful, and releases greenhouse gas. It ends up being a ‘solution’ that causes more problems than it is worth.
But with the latest techniques and technology, you can easily recycle the NMP-specific by reclaiming it. The companies heat the solvent mixture, circulate it, remove the waste, return it to liquid form, and reuse it.
This method provides significant benefits to agrochemical producers by reducing their reliability on new, more expensive virgin solvents. Also, it stops the companies from extracting valuable resources, creating a good reputation among potential investors and banks. At last, it significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Factors to consider before you start solvent recycling
Recycling solvent is based on several factors. You need to understand the working of your current operation and the amount of spent solvent you are generating.
- Are you able to recycle enough of your solvent?
- Do you have sufficient space to install the tanks for storing solvents?
While you might not know the answers to these questions right now, we’re here to help.
Solvent waste management helps you manage the recycling process for your business. We use the latest and advanced technologies to recover and recycle the solvents. We can help you determine your options for solvent recycling and suggest the best solvent recycler for your business.
The bottom line is this: Using solvent recovery techniques helps you minimize the need for shipping, cuts expenditure on expensive solvents, reduces business liability, and many other factors that help you cut unnecessary expenses.
All this ultimately benefits your business and the business’s bottom line. Due to the sudden surge in solvent prices after the pandemic, the only prudent choice is to recycle your waste solvents.