It’s no secret that companies that generate hazardous waste are required to follow detailed regulatory requirements for disposal.
Thanks to state-of-the-art technology that is used today, however, manufacturing facilities are not only able to dispose of their waste safely but also ensure solvents return back into industry.
Solvent distillation plays a critical role in this process. This cost-effective and environmentally-friendly method, which processes spent solvents containing hazardous waste, continues the life of a product.
This unique take on recycling separates the solvent from hazardous waste using solvent distillation apparatus designed to return purified solvents back to industry. This provides a win-win for companies looking for ways to achieve high levels of sustainability and have an advantage in the market.
How Does Distillation Apparatus Work Together?
The solvent distillation process occurs when a liquid or vapor mixture is separated into its component fractions of desired purity through the application and removal of heat.
During the solvent distillation recovery process, the vapor of a boiling mixture is richer in low boil point components. When this vapor is cooled and condensed, the liquid condensate becomes ready to be sold back into industry.
The portion of the original mixture that does not vaporize remains at the bottom of the recovery still. This portion is also valuable, as it can be used as an alternative fuel source in some industries.
So how does distillation apparatus work together to achieve this modern day recycling achievement?
When a company generates and transports hazardous waste to a solvent distillation facility, such as Temarry Recycling, the facility conducts a fingerprint analysis to identify the waste and sort it.
Liquid drums are pumped and filtered, after which solvents are pumped to the distillation unit. It’s here that volatilized solvent vapors expand into the fractionation column.
A heat exchanger cools off the solvent, which is then directed to a finished product tank.
The product is then packaged into drums and totes for distribution back into industry.
It is important to note that at Temarry Recycling, solid wastes are thermally treated to generate steam, which is then used to power the recovery stills.
What Solvents Can Distillation Apparatus Recycle?
Solvents are molecules that can dissolve other molecules known as solutes. A solvent can be a solid, liquid or gas.
When a solvent’s molecules pull apart a solute’s molecules, the solute molecules become evenly distributed throughout the solvent. Only heat or another chemical process can separate the solvent and solute at this point in the process.
Many solvents can be recycled, reprocessed and reused. Examples of some of the most commonly recycled solvents are:
- Aliphatic (mineral spirits and naphtha)
- Aromatics (toluene and xylene)
- Halogenated hydrocarbons (fluorocarbons, methylene chloride, perchloroethylene and trichloroethylene)
- Alcohols (isobutyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, n-butyl alcohol and methanol)
- Ketones (acetone, methyl isobutyl ketone and methyl ethyl ketone)
- Esters (ethyl acetate)
One of the most widely used and common solvents is readily available: water.
When Benefits Come From Recycling Solvents?
Continuing the life of a product ensures waste once again becomes a valuable resource. When combined with energy recovery, solvent distillation provides a closed loop recycling system, ensuring nothing is wasted.
A company’s carbon footprint is dramatically reduced when hazardous waste solids are converted to energy, which is then used to power solvent recovery stills.
Solvent distillation and the closed loop recycling process also prevents further pollution since fewer truck loads of materials are transferred off site for secondary recycling at cement kilns.
In fact, for each 100 gallons of typical solvents distilled, 30 gallons of still bottoms are generated to be blended with ash. Because this reduces the number of truck loads that travel to the nearest cement kilns located in the Midwest, you can enjoy significant savings in transportation costs as well as a reduction in your carbon footprint thanks to reduced fuel usage.
Temarry Recycling, in particular, is the only closed loop recycling facility serving the western United States. So, for companies in this part of the United States, working with Temarry helps them immediately see a reduction in the transport distance of their waste stream.
Taking advantage of solvent distillation and improving their sustainability practices also helps companies have an advantage in competitive industries.
Incorporating sustainable practices like solvent distillation as a pillar to success:
- Improves your image, and that translates to business. A Natural Marketing Institute survey found nearly 60% of consumers are more likely to purchase goods and services from a company that practices sustainability.
- Reduces costs, contrary to what some believe. That’s because sustainable practices increase efficiency in operations. This conserves resources and enhances productivity, leading to reduced costs.
- Helps you stay on top of regulations. Federal and state laws are constantly changing, and integrating sustainable practices often puts you ahead of the curve.
The apparatus used in solvent distillation plays an important role in reducing the amount of hazardous waste that is disposed of into landfills. Each piece of equipment works together to extend the life of a product, once again making it valuable.
When part of a closed loop recycling system, the benefits of solvent distillation systems are compounded, allowing a company to achieve the highest level of sustainability and corporate responsibility.