what are recycled solvents

What is the Difference Between Virgin Solvents and Recycled Solvents

Solvents are liquid or gases that can dissolve or extract other substances. But what’s the difference between virgin solvents and recycled solvents? We explore that very question right here in this blog!

Solvents are used in many industries including:

  • Coating and painting
  • Printing and Ink
  • Automotive and Transportation
  • Paving and Asphalt
  • Furniture and Wood Manufacturing
  • Aerospace and marine
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Oil and Gas
  • Electrical 
  • Metal Finishing
  • And many more

They are used mainly to make or dissolve chemicals and hazardous waste, and are either disposed of or recycled. 

Needless to say, disposing of hazardous waste is not environmentally friendly and can be costly for those who are disposing it. However, depending on the amount of hazardous waste produced and solvent used, disposing of it may be the quickest and most convenient way to deal with used solvents. 

If enough hazardous waste is used, it is important to consider recycling the solvent and reusing said solvent. In this blog we talk about the pros and cons of both options.

Why should I use recycled solvents?

As businesses should always be looking to become greener and more eco-friendly, disposing hazardous waste consistently can give a bad reputation to a company. Although it may not be in the company’s best interest to invest in its own solvent recycling operation, there are third party solvent recycling operations that can provide those services instead of the less eco-friendly option of disposing used solvent.

Solvents can range anywhere between $50-$2000 per 55-gallon drum. This can add up to be quite expensive for companies that produce a lot of hazardous waste and use lots of solvent in their processes. 

Regardless if it’s a solvent that gets recycled in house, or by a third party, recycling solvent can save incredible amounts of money by saving transporting, disposing, and buying new solvent costs. For a company that produces massive amounts of solvent, it could be a reasonable decision to invest in in-house solvent recycling equipment.

What are the differences between virgin and recycled solvent?

If a company is interested in recycling their solvents from hazardous waste, they need to conduct a free solvent recovery trial. This allows the company to try recycled solvents that are virgin-like in the most accurate ways possible. This means they are minorly different but the quality of the solvent is to par. 

With the proper solvent recycling equipment, recycled solvents can establish a rate of 98% purity which is equal to the purity of a virgin solvent. 

The purity of a recycled solvent is often dependent on the type of equipment used. Some companies may not require a very pure recycled solvent so they can use generic recycling machinery, whereas companies that require strict purity tolerances may need customized pieces of equipment for their recycling processes. 

Companies that use recycled solvents in their process have continued to do so with no complaints of the quality compared to virgin solvents. 

Establishing a recycled solvent deal typically involves an exchange program where hazardous solvent waste is picked up from the company’s facility, and clean recycled solvent is delivered.  This saves the company money and reduces their eco footprint in the process.

In the case of a company that produces massive amounts of hazardous solvent waste on site and invests in the proper equipment to recycle solvents, then the benefits of doing so include the elimination of transport and disposal costs, as well as the ability to open the door to selling recycled solvent to distributors and other companies in need of solvent.  

In the industry it has been found that, depending on the amount and type of solvent, then the return on investing in solvent recycling equipment is between 6-12 months. It has been proven to eliminate disposal and transportation costs, reduce the inventory costs of both hazardous waste and virgin solvent, and reduce the quantity of virgin solvent demanded.  

The option of recycling solvents in-house has also provided companies the opportunity to become greener, and more self-sufficient.  

Are you interested in learning how your organization can benefit? Get in touch with the Maratek team of solvent recycling experts today