Recycling and Disposal of Waste

Maximizing the use of a product is essential to obtain the best cost effectiveness and reduce the waste product generated as the result of an activity, in this case cleaning, to a minimum.

Current legislation lays down a five-step hierarchy as the guiding principle for waste prevention and management:

  1. Prevention
  2. Preparing for re-use
  3. Recycling
  4. Other recovery, e.g. energy recovery
  5. Disposal

The driving force is to protect the environment and human health by preventing or limiting the impact of waste, reducing the overall impact of resource use and improving the efficiency of such use.

Customer Responsibilities
Dealing with waste products is the responsibility of anyone who discards, intends to discard or is required to discard a substance or object. These, according to the waste legislation, are defined as waste producers.

The waste producer or holder must deal with the treatment of waste, either directly or through an agent, public or private. Most solvents are, after use, classified as "hazardous waste" because they display one or more of the properties listed in the Annex of the Waste Framework directive.

Record Keeping
Detailed records pertaining to hazardous waste must be kept, according to the legislation. This is the responsibility of the producer, agents responsible for transportation and any other party involved. The data collected should include quantity, nature, origin and, where relevant, the destination, frequency of collection, mode of transport and treatment method. This information has to be made available to the competent authorities if required.

For hazardous waste, records shall be preserved for at least three years. Companies or agents engaged in transportation need to keep such records for at least 12 months. The relevant authorities or previous holders can also request documentary evidence that the management operations have been carried out.

Recycling is defined as any recovery operation through which waste materials are reprocessed into products, materials or substances whether for the original or any other purposes. It also includes the reprocessing of organic material but does not include energy recovery and reprocessing into materials that are to be used as fuels or for backfilling operation.

Disposal means any operation other than recovery, even where the operation has the reclamation of substances or energy as a secondary consequence.

Solvent Recycling Inside the Cleaning Equipment
Modern cleaning equipment continuously distills the solvent to remove any oil or other contaminants. The solvent is then re-used over and over again with just the unwanted oils and contaminants being removed for external waste treatment.

Benefits are two-fold: operational expenditure is reduced and third party disposal costs are slashed.
This process is a good example for the application of the waste hierarchy principles.