hazardous-chemicals

Eliminating Chemical Waste: 6 Strategies

The first thing to understand about eliminating chemical waste is that it doesn’t require eliminating the use of chemicals. It may involve reducing chemical use, but the goal is to prevent chemical waste and the problems it creates for human safety, the environment, and the finances of companies that have industrial chemical needs.

Strategies for Chemical Waste Elimination

If your organization wants to eliminate chemicals from the waste trap, you may need to take more than one measure to achieve the goal (depending on the chemicals you use, in what form you use them, and to what extent). Below, we list six strategies that are helpful for any organization that’s focusing on eliminating chemical waste.

  1. Eliminate Chemicals if Possible

Could some tasks be performed with substances other than chemicals? For example, could cleaning of general surfaces be performed with a vinegar / water mixture instead of chemicals? If so, it’s a step you can take toward eliminating chemical waste.

  1. Use Biodegradable Chemicals

If avoiding chemicals isn’t an option, determine if any non-biodegradable chemicals you use can be replaced with biodegradable ones. Waste from the latter can safely biodegrade without harming the environment and — unlike many non-biodegradable chemicals — needn’t end up in a chemical landfill.

  1. Use Recyclable Chemicals

Recyclable chemicals eliminate chemical waste for as long as they are recycled. If you use a vapor degreaser in a parts washer that can recycle the solution, none of the product is wasted while it remains fit for use. Because most chemicals can’t be recycled forever, solvent recycling via parts washing systems is more of a waste mitigation strategy than a waste elimination technique.

  1. Use Highly Evaporative Cleaners

Highly evaporative cleaners can fill the air with Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP) if they have a toxic formulation, but they essentially produce no liquid waste. Fast dry times are common among cleaners used for certain types of metal and electrical equipment. There’s also the option of ordering a custom cleaner formulated to have an exceptionally fast evaporation rate.

  1. Use Aerosol Cleaners

Aerosol cleaners tend to produce little if any waste due to their unique method of dispersal. With the press of a button, thousands of infinitesimal particles spread across the cleaning surface, and tend to evaporate quickly unless the object is highly saturated and left to drip dry. When aerosol cleaners can be used without saturating the cleaning surface, they largely eliminate chemical waste.

  1. Review Solvent Applications

In some cases, a chemical is overused — producing a significant amount of waste — simply because it isn’t a good fit with the application. Switching to a more efficacious solution may not eliminate chemical waste altogether, but it could result in a significantly lower volume of use.

About Our Company

Ecolink is a provider of environmentally safe and environmentally preferred industrial cleaners. Depending on how and why you use industrial chemicals, we may have solutions that can assist with eliminating chemical waste and the issues it poses. In addition to supplying stock solutions, we produce custom cleaners, and provide free test samples prior to purchase.

To see if we can help your organization with eliminating chemical waste, call us today at (800) 563-1305, or use our contact form, to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to learning about your requirements and seeing how we can help!

 

Reducing Waste in Vapor Degreasing

How To Minimize Solvent Loss When Cleaning a Vapor Degreaser

Today we are providing operating advice for vapor degreasing equipment to help you save solvent and by extension, money!

In order to reduce solvent loss when starting up the operating machine, activate the cooling system, followed by checking the controls. Next, adjust solvent levels and activate heaters.
When a stable vapor blanket has been established, activate spray pumps and introduce work into the unit.

To shut down the unit, use the following procedure:

  • Stop work processing and clear the machine of all work.
  • Deactivate the heaters.
  • Activate sump cooling coils, if available, and allow vapor blanket to collapse completely.
  • Keep the condenser cooling system ON and close cover on open-top units.

FluoSolv Operatory Guidelines

In order for the vapor degreaser to be used effectively with our Fluosolv products, good work practices must be implemented.

Ventilation

Airflow across the vapor degreaser is the most common cause of extraordinary solvent losses. In no way, shape, or form should the vapor degreaser be ventilated, including the solvent product. When the system is not in use, the lid should always be kept on the degreaser.

Workload

There are two common effects that can expel solvent vapors from a cleaning system if the processing of workloads exceeds the capabilities of the vapor degreaser:

The piston effect is when a basket too large in physical size on the degreaser displaces vapor from the cleaning unit. Solvent will in turn be ejected from the machine as the mass of cleaning materials descends into the cleaning vapors. To avoid losses by this process, the area of the workload should not be greater than 75% of the horizontal cross-sectional area of the sump into which it is being introduced.

The second effect, work shock, occurs when the load of the degreaser becomes too heavy and the vapor blanket collapses. Until the vapor blanket is re-established, infiltration of air into the cleaning unit will increase solvent losses.

Work Positioning

Drag-out losses occur when baskets are not positioned correctly, causing excess parts to be removed during cleaning. Cleanout procedures must be followed for the vapor degreaser in order to prevent this scenario. Drag-out prevention is extremely essential to the effectiveness of the operating device. A good vendor should be able to document incremental operating costs and drag-out losses on a feature-by-feature basis. Additionally, they should be able to highlight specific environments (e.g., types of contamination, cycle times) which will reduce solvent losses.

Vapor Linger Time

The workload should remain in the vapor zone after the final cleaning step until its temperature equals that of the vapor zone and vapor condensation on the part stops. Work withdrawn earlier will emerge wet with solvent condensate. Insufficient dwell times are encountered most commonly in open-top units where work is manually moved into and out of the unit. Use of a programmed work transporter, like an automated hoist, can help eliminate excessive drag-out due to insufficient dwell time.

Work Scheduling

The expulsion of air from a vapor degreaser during start-up always results in carryout solvent vapor. Emissions caused by frequent activation and deactivation of the cleaning system can be minimized by deferring cleaning until all of a day’s production is compiled for processing with only one start-up of the cleaning equipment.

Changing the Cleaning Fluids in the System

Fluorinated cleaning fluid blends are extremely stable can function for extended periods of time in the vapor degreaser. Since the solvent is constantly being distilled and recycled, it remains clean and pure for an indefinite time period. While the BromothaneTM products have a requirement to perform acid acceptance tests on a weekly basis, overall the maintenance is reasonably minimal.
The real issue is the compilation of debris at the bottom of the sump. After a while the debris accumulates and the machine becomes too dirty to operate effectively. This is when a system clean-out becomes necessary. In a busy machine, this might occur twice to four times a year.
In a standard degreaser, the contamination accumulates in the boil sump. This is the first chamber in the cleaning cycle and is the location into which the dirty parts are placed when they first go into the machine. It is here where the worst contamination will aggregate. In general, make sure the rinse sump fluid will always be clear and colorless. It will be time to change the solvent in the boil sump when it accumulates a high concentration of dissolved contamination, to the point of tinting the solvent yellow or beige. Additionally, at the bottom of the boil sump will be a large collection waste. This junk will need to be removed. It’s time to clean the machine.

Cleaning a degreaser normally involves a process called a boil-down. This process simply involves distilling, or boiling, all the solvent out of the system, rather than returning it to the rinse sump and recapturing it in a pail or a drum for re-use. The heat must be turned off when the last few liters of solvent remain at the bottom of the boil sump. Any residual waste solvent and the solid contamination is cleaned out by hand and disposed of as a hazardous waste. The entire cleaning process may take a day on a large and especially dirty operating machine.

In more sophisticated machines, a recirculating pump is installed on the boil sump to refresh the solvent and to remove particulate. This will extend the periods between boil-downs. Once the machine is ready to be returned into service, the old, cleaned solvent that was recaptured during the boil-down process is dumped back into the machine.

The recovery procedure described here should be conducted on a regularly scheduled basis, typically quarterly or semi-annually.

For even more accurate thoughts and recommendations, check with the machine manufacturer.

Detailed Solvent Boil-Down Process:
The recovery procedure described here should be conducted on a regularly scheduled basis, typically quarterly or semi-annually. Be advised that the machine must be taken out of production during the boil-down process; cleaning cannot be performed while the reclamation process is underway.
Here are the steps to follow:

  • When the solvent in the boil sump is too dirty for normal operations to continue, turn the ultrasonics off. Empty the condensate (and the “rinse” sump in a multi-chamber system) into a clean, solvent-safe container.
  • Continue to operate the boil sump. As the dirty solvent boils in the boil sump the solvent vapors will be captured and distilled by the cooling coils. The clean, nearly-pure distillate should be reclaimed into the solvent-safe container.
  • Gradually the solvent and contamination remaining in the boil sump will concentrate and become viscous and syrupy.
  • Before the residues become too thick, the high-temperature safety controls in the boil sump will detect the rising temperature and shut off the heaters. At this point, about 50% of the material in the sump will be solvent.
  • Manually raise the boil sump temperature by another ten degrees and continue to boil the system until the safety controls shut off the system again.
  • The “bottoms” are collected for disposal by draining the boil sump. The boil sump should then be cleaned with wipes and elbow grease. Wear gloves and take precautions to avoid exposures to high concentrations of the vapors.
  • Once the boil sump is clean and dry, close all the drain valves and add fresh solvent to the clean solvent collected during the boil-down. Add enough solvent that the normal operational levels are re-established.
  • Return the temperature controls on the boil sump back to their original and correct settings. If the facility has collected contaminated cleaning fluids over a period of time and would like to reclaim it all at once, this procedure can be extended simply by adding more of the dirty solvent to the boiling chamber during the boil down process.

Solvent Handling:
Crucial tips for minimizing solvent loss during normal operation of the machine:

  • Ideally, the solvent should be pumped into the degreaser through a liquid-submerged fill connection.
  • Make-up solvent (topping off the machine to replace lost solvent) should be added to the rinse sump.
  • Cold solvent should not be added to operating degreaser, for it can collapse the vapor blanket.
  • The addition of solvent to an open-top degreaser by pouring from drums or buckets should be avoided. The turbulence of such pouring destabilizes the vapor/air interface.
  • Drums should be stored with the bung end up to eliminate the possibility of a major spillage of solvent through a leaky bung. Drums filled with solvent and not in current usage should have tightly sealed lids. Take great care when moving drums of solvent. Do not pressurize the drums of solvent in an attempt to expedite unloading.

The cooling coil defrost setting should be set to periodically de-ice the coils. The vapor-degreaser’s boiling temperature setting should be increased by 10 to 15 °C when separate distillation for reclaiming spent solvent, due to the elevated boiling point of the contaminated solvent. The refrigeration/chiller should be set to its lowest temperature possible for best distillation efficiency. This is caused by an elevated boiling point of the contaminated solvent.

End of Lesson!

We hope these tips will help you reduce your solvent losses and save you money. If you have further questions about vapor degreasing or would like to know about the solvent products we sell for use with vapor degreasing, give us a call at 800-563-1305 or email us at vapordegreasing@ecolink.com

Solvent Distillation in Action

Solvent Recovery is the Answer to Cutting Costs

In today’s world, many laboratories and industrial settings utilize costly solvents in daily operations and dispose of them shortly after. This practice of not recycling used solvents is not cost effective. To combat this practice, CBG Technologies developed a wide array of solvent distillers that heat liquid waste and then separate, purify and cool the resulting vapors into a highly pure solvent for reuse. Solvent distillation is an essential part of many of today’s industries since it allows them to decrease spending by reducing solvent consumption, reducing waste disposal, and reducing storage space needed for new and used solvents. Without solvent distillation equipment, there would be no process to recycle solvents, and as a result, customers would have increased levels of waste generation that create higher costs.

Utilization of distillation equipment enables labs to:
• Obtain higher quality solvents
• Reduce solvent consumption
• Reduce liability concerning storage and waste disposal
• Maintain lower levels of waste generation
• Comply with government regulations and guidelines concerning waste disposal

Types of Solvent Recycling Equipment

In order to meet the demand of various laboratory sizes and conditions, CBG Technologies has developed various sizes of distilling apparatuses over the past twenty years, which can meet the desired spatial needs of each customer. The models for laboratories include benchtop and portable floor models, which can be further customized with the use of CBG Tech accessories. Moreover, CBG Tech provides simple and fractional distillers, which can be customized, for various industrial applications.

Laboratory applications of distillation equipment:
• Achieving a high purity of recycled solvent – usually in excess of 99%
• Recycling diluted alcohols to a high concentration approaching 95%
• Attaining a high recovery of the contaminated solvent – typically around 95%

Industrial applications of solvent recovery:
• Electroplating
• Parts washing
• Vapor degreasing
• Paints/coating
• General cleaning

Standard options of industrial distillers:
• Manually-Operated Fill Pump
• Auto-fill and Continuous Operation
• Construction to Class 1 Division 1 Standards
• Solvent/Water Separator
• Vacuum Assist
• Rapid Tank Cool-Down Module

Safety and Compliance

Each model is compliant with the most current government and regulatory standards and specifications to ensure that work environments stay safe. Furthermore, CGB Tech delivers excellent customer service and technical guidance that ensures customers are able to integrate distillers into their processes. In addition to supplying distillers, CBG Tech provides service options designed to help customers after the purchase of an apparatus.

Service options include:
• Total Replacement Policies
• Onsite Preventative Maintenance
• GC Testing
• Retraining of staff

With the benefits of using solvent distillation equipment, many laboratories, such as chemistry and pathology labs, are able to be environmentally friendly while being mindful of operating costs.

Contact CBG Technologies today to reclaim used solvents and reduce costs!

Chemical-waste-consultants

Chemical Waste Consultants

Chemical waste presents serious problematic issues for industrial businesses that use chemical solvents to clean and degrease manufactured products in order to achieve a fine surface finish. For one, chemical waste can be quite dangerous to people and to the environment, contaminating soil, water supplies, even the air everyone breathes, which can lead to serious, long term health issues. No matter how much preventive measures an industrial organization puts in place to try to prevent chemical waste from happening, accidental spills and leaks eventually occur. In other words, chemical waste, no matter how hard an industrial organization tries to prevent it from taking place, can be viewed as inevitable.

One of the main problems associated with chemical waste is industrial organizations are attacking the problem at the wrong place. Instead of stopping chemical waste from happening before beginning the processes that lead to chemical wasting, industrial companies try to insulate the issue with methods after the chemical solvents are already at work cleaning and degreasing products. Businesses that rely on chemical solvents to clean and degrease raw materials need to change to a process that prevents chemical waste from the onset. In other words, use a system of cleaning and degreasing where no chemical waste is ever produced, such as vapor degreasing methods. If you are finding that no matter what you try to implement as a chemical waste reducer, it still is rendered ineffective, and your company is using liquid chemical solvents, then perhaps it is time to transition to a vapor degreaser.

If your industrial organization is relegated to a liquid chemical cleaning solvent, then switch to an eco friendly, green alternative chemical solution that, should there be any chemical seepage, spillage, or leakage, ensures no harm will come to the location where the waste occurs. Moreover, cleaning and degreasing systems now exist that enable an industrial business to recycle chemical solvents while in use. That means that any runoff of chemical solvent can be trapped, captured, reclaimed, and reused for the next cleaning and degreasing service that will take place in the near future.

There are options for not just reducing, but eliminating chemical waste. However, many industrial companies do not have knowledge of chemical waste prevention methods. This is where having a chemical waste consultant available to educate industrial businesses of prevention methods is absolutely necessary. Ecolink employs chemical waste consultants to help industrial organizations become aware of how chemical waste occurs, and to implement systems that significantly reduce, and sometimes altogether eliminate chemical waste. Chemical waste consultants at Ecolink has played a vital role in lowering the overall amount of chemical waste that occurs at industrial facilities by informing those companies of the available methods and systems that effectively limit the amount of waste produced during cleaning and degreasing processes. The successful campaigning of chemical waste reduction could not be accomplished without the guidance and support from Ecolink’s professional chemical waste consultants.

zero-waste

Tips to Reduce Chemical Waste

The reduction of chemical waste is important for several reasons, including the enabling of optimum efficiency of resource usage, minimizing all of the negative impacts on health – both to the environment and to people, eliminating negative associations that stem from chemical waste, and reducing the need for disposal, which the disposal process can sometimes lead to chemical spills and leaks. The following will provide tips on how to best reduce chemical waste, which, if followed systematically, can eliminate many of the hazards that stem from chemical waste.

Chemical product or chemical processing substitution: Because of watchdog companies like Ecolink, chemical substitutions are available that replace dangerous chemical solvents that are used for parts cleaning and degreasing with eco friendly, green alternative chemicals that eliminate all known threats associated with older chemical ingredients, but will still clean and degrease an industrial part as well as any chemical solvent. In addition, industrial businesses should take a look at the cleaning and degreasing process it has in place for the cleaning and degreasing of industrial components. Much more efficient processes are available that eliminate the chemical waste issue regularly seen with older cleaning and degreasing processes. Please evaluate how much chemical waste your current cleaning and degreasing process is producing, and allow a company like Ecolink to help your business transition to a much safer cleaning and degreasing process that eliminates chemical waste.

Incorporate chemical recycling methods: Mentioned in the previous tip is the ability to substitute a dangerous chemical cleaning process with a better version. Updated methods of chemical cleaning and degreasing include the ability to capture, reclaim, and reuse chemical solvents during the cleaning process. By doing so, this type of recycling process neutralizes the dangers of chemical waste by altogether eliminating any chance of chemical wasting. By recycling chemical solvents, the solution can be used for future cleaning and degreasing processes.

Chemical segregation: Industrial businesses should never allow hazardous chemical to come anywhere near non hazardous chemical. Doing so could corrupt the non hazardous chemical, because any mixing of these chemicals will always make the non hazardous chemical into a hazardous chemical. First, allow Ecolink to evaluate your chemicals in order to find safer alternatives, so your business does not even need to have harmful chemical anywhere on the premises. And, if for whatever reason hazardous chemical must be kept on the grounds, implements methods of chemical segregation that ensures hazardous chemicals can never be mixed into non hazardous chemicals.

Proper housekeeping conducted in your industrial facility: Industrial organizations that use chemicals for parts cleaning and degreasing purposes should always maintain a precise inventory of its chemicals. Avoid purchasing in bulk volumes, and prevent long stays of unused chemical solvents in your facility. Both of these scenarios have proven to increase the likelihood of chemical waste because industrial businesses with too much chemical cleaning product and solvents that have been sitting in a warehouse too long will decide to use too much product because it has too much in supply.