How to Recycle Your Used Industrial Solvents

Recycling your solvents can direct profits directly back to your company. It can turn that costly liability into a source of revenue.

You’re a smart business owner, and that means you do what’s best for your bottom line. Keep reading to find out how your business can save on disposal costs.

What are Industrial Solvents?

Solvents are chemicals capable of dissolving, suspending or extracting other substances they come in contact with. Some solvent molecules have a polar (hydrophilic) region and a non-polar (hydrophobic) region; water is the best-known example of this type of solvent. Solvent solutions can be used as paint thinners, nail polish removers, spot removers for clothing, and in many other household cleaners.

Industrial solvents (otherwise known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs)) are the most widely used chemicals in today’s society. They are routinely encountered by people who live or work near industrial facilities, workers in industries that produce or use them, and workers in carpet, furniture, and paint stores. People can also be exposed to them near automobile service stations and dry cleaners.

Common Industrial Solvents:
  • Acetone
  • Denatured Ethanol
  • Ethyl Acetate
  • Ink Wash
  • Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA)
  • Lacquer Thinner
  • Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK)
  • Methylene Chloride
  • Mineral Spirits (150 flash)
  • N-Methyl-2-Pyrrolidone
  • N-Propyl Bromide
  • Propylene Carbonate
  • Tetrahydrofuran (THF)

Knowing how to dispose of solvents waste is an essential part of your business. And knowing where to dispose of solvents can be tricky – but that’s why you hire third party companies for things like: 

  • Isopropyl Alcohol Recycling
  • Acetone Waste Disposal
  • Waste Thinners Disposal
  • And other Hazardous Waste Disposal

 But these removal costs can rack up. Most companies will just chalk them down to overhead costs- but what if you found a way to just about eradicate disposal costs? What if your company could, for example, reuse paint thinner while enjoying the benefits of reduced costs? Recycling a solvent can dramatically reduce not only your company’s waste stream, but can boost profit too.

What is Solvent Recycling? 

Recycling solvents is a process that recycles used solvent back into their original form. Using recycled solvents not only reduces the amount of hazardous materials produced but also reduces overall solvent costs.

By recycling your chemicals, solvents, and other chemical waste products for reconditioning and resale to the original manufacturer, you can achieve dramatic cost savings. The money spent on materials, equipment, and operating costs savings far exceed what you will save in disposal costs.

It’s a paradigm case for effective waste management, and the scenario is all too familiar for companies- in the EU alone, the average company produced over 101.7 million tonnes of hazardous waste in 2018. These solvents are often incinerated or landfilled, destroying up to 90 percent of their value. Fortunately, there’s a better option with Solvent Recycling Systems.

How Solvent Washer Can Earn You Profit Using a Solvent Recycler.

Our technology enables a complete transformation of your solvent production plant in a simple and fast retrofit. It works with the systems you have presently in place, with practically no changes to your current installations. Solvent recovery units are designed to enhance or supplement existing process units. We use proven technology that is easily maintained and versatile in handling a variety of solvent streams from many different sources − from traditional processes to emerging technologies.

Benefits of Using Solvent Recovery:

Quick Look: Benefits of Solvent Recovery & Recycling:
  • Substantially Reduces need to purchase new solvents 
  • Reduce disposal cost
  • ROI in a matter of Months 
  • Simplify regulatory reporting 
  • Improves control over hazardous waste liability
  • Minimize on-site storage of hazardous wastes
  • Saves your company tons of money
  • Save money by buying and using only the solvents you need. 
  • Reduce your solvent usage and your costs by up to 80% without sacrificing performance. 
  • Provide the same performance as before, even though you might dedicate more funds to “Hazardous Waste Management” 
Benefits of Recycling Industrial Solvents
  • The primary advantages of solvent recycling are to reduce costs, minimize wastewater treatment requirements, and maintain an acceptable level of environmental safety.


  • If you’re like most companies, you want to recycle your waste solvents to minimize the hazards they pose to your workers and the environment. But don’t forget there are other benefits to reducing waste solvents. Recycling reduces your generator status (which is good for worker safety) and can help maintain or improve your company’s environmental image, especially in an eco-aware community.


  • Solvent recycling can be beneficial to your bottom line in two ways. First, it reduces the volume of waste you create and transport to disposal facilities. Second, it can reduce the cost per pound (which is roughly calculated by weighing your waste before and after treatment).


  • With a robust chemical solvent recycling program, you can demonstrate your commitment to the important issue of environmental impact and your sound environmental practices. The key is a well-executed solvent recycling system that does not impact operations and doesn’t leave behind bad odour or hazardous residue. Thousands of companies currently operate these kinds of programs.


  • A solvent recycling program is one of the most important things you can do to protect the environment. It safeguards the air, water and soil where your company operates while making good business sense. It pays for itself in reducing waste disposal charges, easing collection logistics and flagging your environmental sensibility.


What if Industrial Solvents are not Recycled?

Consumers are becoming increasingly demanding of the products they buy. Rising expectations of sustainability, health, and convenience are driving companies to innovate. Using solvent recycling to repurpose waste solvent is a key strategy in continuing to meet those demands. Solvent recycling allows your company to ensure that none of its products leaves emissions or hazardous waste as a part of its value chain, and contributes to a greener society as a whole.

In the relatively rare cases that it cannot be reused, there are hazardous waste brokers who would be happy to purchase recovered products from you. This provides a residual benefit when compared to traditional hazardous waste removal where there is no scrap value. Hazardous waste disposal costs can be quite costly, and hazardous waste disposal companies typically charge by the pound. Recycling your hazardous waste products and brokering them will still result in significant cost savings compared to the expense of traditional disposal methods.

If your solvent is not being recycled, then it is going to waste. Or, you’re wasting money using solvent waste collection. Which is not only detrimental to the environment but a waste of resources. According to the EPA, approximately 90% of solvents are not recycled- that’s a lot of businesses who are leaving money on the table by not recycling their solvent. Are you one of them?

If you switch to becoming a solvent recycler, your company could end up repurposing up to 90% of used solvents. This translates to thousands of dollars, in your company’s profit margin, every year. Simply by recycling solvent.

Still Not Convinced? Check This Out:

For a simplistic example, let’s look at the recovery of used solvents generated: 

  • $6,100/year relative to the cost of traditional hazardous waste removal. 
  • If these used solvents could not be recovered, they would have to be incinerated at an estimated cost of $50,000/year. 
  • The net tangible benefit of the recycling project can be around $44,900/year.

Process to Recycle Industrial Solvents 

Getting started is easy. Simply request a quote and we will help you identify the perfect solution that will not only benefit your company’s environmental footprint but the company’s bottom line too. 

Industrial solvents can be processed at waste processors to render a percentage of their bulk into reusable products—typically as much as 80 percent. Depending on the system employed, either the original solvent or its recycled surrogate may serve as a vehicle to cross-linked thermoset polymers used in composites, adhesives, plastisols, and other industrial applications. With the exception of chlorinated solvents, it is also possible to recover aromatic components intact.

The waste solvents are placed into a machine that cleans the formulation. This is typically done using vaporization and distillation. The solvent is recovered by cooling the vapours until they turn back into a liquid. When that happens, the solute separates from the solvent, thereby making it ready for reuse. During the distillation processes, the solute (the polluting substance) and the solvent are separated. The vaporized solvent is then cooled, where it changes back into its liquid form. The vaporization helps to separate the two so that you are left with the clean solvent ready for repurposing. 

Another process is called fractionation. Fractionation involves purifying waste solvents by forcing them through small tubes at different temperatures. The result is the same as with distillation: The solvent is purified to its original state and is ready for reapplication.

The Bottom Line:

  • Solvents and thinners are hazardous substances not fit for disposal in your regular garbage. 
  • The amount of waste generated by industrial operations is unnecessary with today’s environmentally friendly waste solvent recycling options. 
  • Spent solvents can actually end up increasing your company’s profit. Transportation and disposal of solvents and chemicals have a high cost, and companies are beginning to embrace the benefits of solvent reclamation for their industrial solvents and chemicals. 

In today’s business world, many enterprises would prefer to avoid the disposal of any waste material. As a result, a properly planned and executed solvent recycling program would be a wise investment. An effective solvent recycling program can improve the overall efficiency of an organization by allowing for greater material reuse, reduce compliance risks and liabilities, and help achieve significant cost savings over time.