For manufacturers that must dispose of solvent-based liquids, solids and sludge, solvent distillation has become an attractive solution for its environmentally-friendly benefits.
Distilled solvents are produced when a liquid or vapor mixture of two or more substances is separated into its component fractions of desired purity. This is possible using one of a variety of techniques and by the removal of heat. Once completed, the distilled solvents can be sold back into industry.
At a time when many companies are looking for ways to improve their sustainability and navigate ever changing environmental regulations, solvent distillation offers a socially responsible choice since the process promotes keeping materials at their highest utility and value always. When distilled solvents are sold back into industry, it removes the need for further extraction of resources.
Yet there are several other often overlooked benefits of distilled solvents and the process by which they become recycled and kept at their highest value. Here are three of those benefits that make solvent distillation a rising form of recycling in demand.
1. Reduced Operating Costs
When a company chooses to send their spent solvents to a solvent distillation facility, there are many opportunities to reduce its overall operating costs.
On a micro level, a company may be able to reduce its purchases of expensive replacement solvents. When looking at the bigger picture, recycling solvents reduces the overall demand for resources such as water or even trees. Turpentine is one of the few types of solvents that is not derived from petroleum distillates, yet turpentine is obtained by distilling the resin harvested from pine trees.
When there is less demand for a product, prices become less volatile, allowing companies to better sustain current operating costs.
Companies that take advantage of the solvent distillation unit at Temarry Recycling will see additional savings in the form of transportation costs, particularly those that operate on the West Coast.
Because of Temarry’s prime location in Tecate, Mexico, just across the border from San Diego, California, companies can lower costs associated with transporting waste, especially in the form of fuel costs.
Currently, some companies send their waste to fuel blending facilities and must transport their waste across the country to Kansas or Arkansas, where the nearest cement kilns are located.
This means companies along the West Coast ship their waste more than 1,600 miles to the Midwest for processing. This, by the way, also leaves a substantial carbon footprint in its wake.
Temarry’s distillation system is just 40 miles southeast of San Diego. By shipping waste to this distillation plant, a company substantially saves money on fuel costs, as well as any disposal costs that companies would incur should they choose a different disposal method.
2. Reduced Risk Of Liability
As an EPA-authorized exporter of hazardous waste, Temarry terminates the original generator’s cradle to grave liability when the waste is exported into Mexico.
What is cradle to grave liability? Cradle to grave liability means that any person or company that generates a waste material that is classified as a hazardous substance is responsible for that waste from the time it is generated until the time it is properly disposed of.
As the importer of the hazardous waste in Mexico, Temarry becomes the generator in a new cradle to grave liability chain of custody. In other words, any company that transports its solvent waste to Temarry’s facility in Mexico will have its risk of liability reduced.
You can read more about how cradle to grave requirements impact companies in the United States that generate solvent waste in our article, Where Does Your Cradle To Grave Liability End?
3. Enhanced "Green" Image
Sustainable companies have an advantage. In addition to reduced costs and lower carbon footprints, companies that embrace sustainable operations also see a boost in their public image.
This is an often overlooked benefit of being a “green” company, but can be one of the most impactful.
A study on corporate social responsibility found that 87% of consumers have a more positive image of a company that supports social or environmental issues.
Becoming a green company also builds trust with your clients. The same study found that 92% are more likely to trust a company that supports social or environmental issues.
But how does this equate to dollars? Do consumers enlist the services of a company or buy a product from a company that is more sustainable?
Yes. A study by IBM and the National Retail Foundation found that nearly 80% of consumers surveyed said they value sustainability. More than 70% said they would be on average 35% more for eco-friendly brands, according to the report in Barron’s.
Getting The Highest Level Of Sustainability
While solvent distillation processes offer several environmental and operational benefits, choosing a facility that includes solvent distillation as part of a closed loop recycling system can offer the highest level of sustainability.
Closed loop recycling is a process where waste is collected, recycled and then used again to make the same product it came from. This process is restorative and regenerative by design. It focuses on resource sustainability, which means that recycling of a material can be done indefinitely without degradation of properties.
At Temarry Recycling, here’s how the process works:
- Waste streams arrive at Temarry. Temarry accepts a wide variety of solvent-based liquids, solids and sludge. These can be found on Temarry’s acceptable waste codes list.
- A waste to energy process converts high BTU organic solids to steam. This steam is then used as energy on-site to power solvent recovery stills.
- Through solvent distillation, spent solvents are re-manufactured. These recovered solvents are then sold back into industry for their original solvent properties.
- A water treatment process then extracts usable water from industrial hazardous wastes, including acids, bases, coolants, oily water and latex paint.
- Treated water is used on-site for industrial needs. These include the waste to energy process and in the cooling tower.
In comparison, fuel blending facilities use a form of open loop recycling because this process takes materials and recycles them for purposes different from their original purpose. Once these waste streams are used as fuel, the underlying resource is gone forever.
When considering your options for your waste management and the disposal of your solvent waste, each of the benefits above provides compelling evidence that solvent distillation, especially when part of a closed loop process, offers the highest level of sustainability.