PFM 20 9 - Page 14

Reduce Costs by Reducing Waste
azardous waste poses a
substantial threat to our health
and the environment. Despite
this, we are still producing more than
400 million tons each year. That’s
nearly 60kg per person and this is
only increasing according to a report
from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Here, Richard Bastable, of NCH
Europe’s Parts Cleaning innovation
platform, explains how reducing
waste can improve productivity, save
companies money and make for a
Hazardous waste is often a by-product
of manufacturing processes. For most
companies, much of this waste is
created by using commercial products
to clean a facility, equipment or parts
and the misconceptions around waterbased solutions. Traditionally, waterbased products are believed to be less
effective than cleaning products with
harsh chemicals.
However, the reality is that not only do
water solutions effectively clean, they
also result in less harmful waste and can
reduce the frequency of waste
collection. While the waste will still be
hazardous due to the contaminant or dirt
technologies minimise the hazard by not
adding more harsh chemicals into the
mix, thus in turn also making that waste
easier to recycle.
Waste created in industrial settings will
often contain elements classified as
hazardous. Some contaminants result
in deposits forming on internal and
external parts of equipment that are
difficult to remove.
Traditionally engineers must manually
brush the affected areas often after
soaking parts overnight. This is a timeconsuming and inefficient process,
demanding the attention of an engineer
and keeping machines out of operation
for longer than necessary.
Plant managers can resolve this by
investing in automatic or high-pressure
parts washers. Yet traditionally, most
parts washers make use of harsh
chemical solutions that add an extra
chemical into the already hazardous
run-off. When the time comes to dispose
of this waste, the chemical solution has
exacerbated the hazard classification of
the waste.
In many countries, management of
completion of waste consignment forms
which comes at a cost to the waste
producer. The fees involved are normally
driven by the type and frequency of
waste, rather than volumes, so reducing
the frequency of waste movements can
reduce your costs. extending the
lifecycle of the chemistry is key to
reducing the waste being generated.
The producers of waste must also keep
records and provide information about
the composition and quantity of all
hazardous waste to authorities. The
information must be provided through a
series of waste recovery, disposal,
transport and transfer documents to
ensure the process is carried out
properly. The producer is ultimately
responsible for the waste up to the point
of final disposal, the so called ‘cradle to
grave’ concept.
This is understandably a timeconsuming and costly process,
particularly if a plant produces lots of
hazardous waste. Using water-based
solutions and extending the life cycle of
the chemistry will subsequently reduce
the frequency of waste movements and
the associated costs.
Reducing the quantity of waste that
facilities generate can significantly ease
a company’s regulatory burden, as direct
contact with solvents and the fumes
produced in the cleaning process can be
harmful to engineers. This means that
chemicals are used, the different
chemicals they are exposing workers to
and ultimately how the waste is disposed
Therefore, it is recommended that
businesses should partner with a service
provider that offers an all-inclusive
service that meets regional regulations
to ensure safe handling, carriage and
disposal of hazardous waste without
elevating costs.
Of course, this is only a partial solution.
To decrease the amount of hazardous
waste from the WWF’s reported 60kg
per person, plant managers must
address the problem at the source.
This means finding alternatives to
traditional chemical solutions where
possible, be it in plant, equipment
maintenance or parts cleaning.
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