More companies are looking for ways to implement sustainable business practices, especially those who want to utilize environmentally conscious methods of waste management for their waste streams.
One of the most popular sustainable practices more industries are implementing is recycling, since it reduces:
- The consumption of raw materials
- Pollution and energy use
- The volume of waste that must be treated and then disposed of
While there are several ways industries can recycle and make an environmentally-friendly impact, here are a few solutions that provide the biggest impact.
Closed Loop Recycling
If your business wants to focus on resource sustainability, Closed Loop Recycling is one of the hottest advancements in recycling.
Resource sustainability focuses on the recycling of material that can be done indefinitely without degradation of properties. Closed Loop Recycling does just that.
Closed Loop Recycling is a process by which waste is collected, recycled and then used again to make the same product from which it originated. This regenerative and restorative process has the goal of keeping materials at their highest utility and value.
By converting a used product back to raw material, hazardous waste generators reduce their carbon footprint, while also achieving corporate sustainability initiatives. This is an especially popular option in specialized industries, such as the computer and battery industries, which use expensive goods that do not break down post-consumption into constituent materials.
Our article, Open Loop Vs. Closed Loop Recycling, takes a closer look at why Closed Loop Recycling is better, particularly for hazardous waste generators located in the western United States.
Solvent distillation is another way for manufacturers to follow environmental regulations when disposing of hazardous waste, but gain back lost raw materials as well.
Solvent distillation occurs when a liquid or vapor mixture of two or more substances is separated into its component fractions of desired purity. This is completed through the application and removal of heat.
This recovery process is based on the fact that the vapor of a boiling mixture will be richer in low boil point components. So when the vapor of the boiling mixture is cooled and condensed, the liquid condensate can be sold back to industry.
The higher boiling point portion of the original mixture that doesn’t vaporize remains in the bottom of the recovery still. This portion is valuable as a fuel source for certain industries.
Many solvents can be recycled, reprocessed and reused, including aromatics, halogenated hydrocarbons, alcohols, ketones and esters.
Solvent distillation can further reduce hazardous waste when it’s part of a True Closed Loop Recycling system, as mentioned above. This system includes an energy recovery process from waste solids (outlined below), and the solvent distillation process from waste solvents.
Waste To Energy
The Waste To Energy process is an important part of the Closed Loop Recycling system. As part of this process, hazardous waste solids, such as rags or debris, are used to generate steam that then powers recovery stills.
Here’s how it works. Waste is fed by a conveyor into the primary stage for thermal destruction. All vapors and gases are then directed into a secondary thermal treatment. Inorganic solids, or ash, from the primary stage are quenched and then fall into an ash hopper.
Heat is directed to a 200-horsepower steam generator, and the remaining gases are directed to a modern two-stage venturi scrubber that ensures only clean water vapor is emitted to the atmosphere.
The steam is then used as an energy source to power the solvent recovery still that we further explained above. Nothing is wasted. Even the ash from the ash hopper is blended with high BTU still bottoms, which are then sent to cement kilns to be used as alternative fuels.
What does this mean for reducing your carbon footprint? For every 100 gallons of typical solvents distilled, 30 gallons of still bottoms are generated that are then blended with ash. That means you will see a dramatic reduction in the number of truck loads transported off site for secondary recycling at a cement kiln.
Sending Waste To Mexico
One of the best kept secrets in the hazardous waste industry is the opportunity to legally transport hazardous waste materials to Mexico.
While many waste generators are frightened of common perceptions about sending their waste to Mexico, there are actually several benefits.
In reality, Temarry Recycling has been successfully transporting hazardous waste into Mexico for recycling since 1998, and more industries are beginning to see the environmental and cost benefits of doing so - especially those located in the western United States.
Because Temarry’s prime location is just across the border, companies lower their hazardous waste transportation costs, as well as greatly reduce the impact of their carbon footprint. In fact, waste transportation is one of the most impacting activities in the calculation of a company’s carbon footprint. Nearly 1 gallon of diesel fuel consumed produces 2.77 KG of carbon dioxide.
For companies in the western United States, the most common option is to transport their waste to the Midwest for fuel blending - an extremely inferior process to distillation recycling, which allows recycled solvents to be sold back into industry.
So sending their waste to Temarry is a win-win for the environment and companies in the western United States looking to save costs and increase sustainability in their business plans.
If your company is looking for ways to implement sustainable business practices, there are several cutting-edge industrial recycling solutions that allow you to utilize environmentally conscious methods of waste management.
Want to learn more about how each of these processes plays a role in the circular economy? Download our eBook, Can Hazardous Waste Be Part Of The Circular Economy, to learn how you can implement business practices that take waste out of your business and replace it with a service that remanufactures your products.