EMES was contracted to consult on a Hazardous Waste solution for a large international chemical manufacturer. The solution had to result in a large decrease in the company’s hazardous waste generation. The purpose in this project was to identify a way to recover this hydrocarbon based solvent.
This particular manufacturing company had problems with this material on several fronts. First, it was the majority contributor to the site being a Large Quantity Generator (LQG) of hazardous waste. This was causing them pain in the eye of the public as a result of environmental reporting and because of the extremely high costs associated with the transportation and disposal from it being classified as a hazardous waste. The over-arching problem was the long-term, cradle-to-grave liability. The company had looked at several options for recovering and processing the material on-site in their existing equipment. Two barriers existed that kept them from this internal solution. The first was that there was a corporate-wide freeze on monies for new capital. The second was that they were operating a full plant capacity on 3 shifts a day, 7 days a week.
Our first inclination was to bring in a mobile unit to distill the moisture and the other undesired compounds out of the solvent. We quickly abandoned this due to the limitations of the mobile distillation units. We then considered construction of a small distillation unit to place on-site for processing. We abandoned this after reviewing the capital requirements and considering the customer freeze on capital expenditures. We then turned our efforts to finding a use for this material “as is” where it could be shipped on a Bill of Lading and sold as a product. We started by looking at the physical and performance characteristics of the solvent. We then took that data and compared it to other products that demanded similar performance characteristics. We identified two areas where this waste material could be used as a product in order to replace an existing raw material. We set up testing procedures, blended materials in our lab, and ran bench tests to prove the efficacy of the solvent.
The EMES solution that was derived resulted in a true win-win scenario for all parties involved. The manufacturing company that was generating this solvent was able to shed all of the long-term liability tied from it being a hazardous waste, while turning a large annual loss into profitable revenue. The customer purchasing the newly reclassified coproduct was able to replace an existing fossil fuel derived solvent with a “green” solvent derived from renewable resources. This also allowed for extensive reductions in costs and emissions from their processes. EMES was able to further its chemical reclassification and distribution experience, while creating a new sustainable source of revenue.