What’s the Best Way to Recycle and Recover Acetone?

In this blog, we will look at exactly how acetone functions and how it can be utilized as an industrial solvent for a wide assortment of operations.

Let’s start by going through what the solvent recovery process is, along with the best methods available to recycle your spent acetone. When taking into consideration the limited supply of acetone and how that contributes to its high prices, it is imperative to attempt to expand the lifetime of your solvent so that your business can maximize ROI from each solvent order.

With that in mind, let’s talk about the benefits of solvent recycling and recovery. 

What are the benefits of acetone recovery?

Acetone can be used in various industries such as furniture, window, flooring, cabinetry, and fiberglass manufacturing sectors. It can be very useful as a solvent for cleaning equipment, or during production and manufacturing procedures. 

Acetone is typically combined with an assortment of fats, oils, waxes, resins, rubber, plastics, lacquers, and varnishes. The ability of acetone to be effective, water soluble, and have a low toxicity level all contribute to the benefits that make acetone so valuable for many different organizations.

Given the versatility of the solvent itself, it would explain the desire to recycle it and re-use the product, rather than purchasing more of it. 

Taking into context the demand for acetone continuing to rise, yet supply slowing down, recycling and recovering used acetone is the most effective method for businesses to maximize the ROI they get from their acetone. 

Not only that, but, by recycling acetone, your organization can position itself as environmentally friendly. Something that customers care about more than ever. 

Through the recycling and reuse of solvents, you are minimizing your waste disposal, chemical purchases, and ultimately minimizing the storage of hazardous chemicals that could potentially do harm to the environment. 

How does the acetone recovery process work?

Once you have completely used your solvent, you can do one of two things:

  1. Recycle and recover it, extending the lifespan of a very costly solvent.
  2. As the solvent is categorized as hazardous waste, your only other option is to dispose of it, resulting in wasted solvent and spending budget that you could be saving.

The recovery of a solvent is a relatively simple process. There are multiple pieces of equipment that are suited for solvent recovery, dependending on the amount of spent solvent that is required to be recycled. 

The process for acetone recovery involves a distillation process that requires the separation of waste from the solvent, and for both to be collected separately. 

This acetone recycling process goes as follows:

  1. Begin by putting your used acetone into the feed vessel to go to the distillation vessel. Or the distillation vessel can be filled directly.
  2. Once filled, the distillation vessel is heated through a thermal oil jacket with electric heaters. The solvents in the vessel are boiled and the vapours are sent to a condenser. The waste remains behind in the boiling vessel.
  3. The condenser then cools the vapour back to liquid form.
  4. The clean liquid solvent is drained to a collection container to be reused. 
  5. The undesired waste left behind is removed from the distillation vessel and should be properly disposed of.

What happens to the waste?

With disposal of hazardous waste, it is mandatory to find a licensed waste removal that is capable of getting rid of it effectively.

Once the acetone has been separated from the waste and is back to being in its original form, the waste is then considered to be hazardous. This means that it must now be collected and disposed of following safety regulations.

Lack of proper disposal methods for solvents such as acetone can potentially cause harm to the environment, including people, animals, and plants that are around the disposal site, along with the community as well. Issues such as the contamination of clean drinking water, pollution, and any further ecosystems will be hindered by the presence of improperly disposed of solvents.

Why are acetone prices rising? 

Within the last few years, you may have noticed that the prices of acetone had undergone a huge spike. This is as a result of the shortage of that specific chemical. Due to weather conditions, it was noted that a US producer of acetone had to stop fulfilling a contract in November. 

During February 2021, the weather conditions were sporadic, and were unusual compared to what the US Gulf Coast would typically expect. Unfortunately, the sudden change in weather hindered the company, and they felt they needed to declare a Force Majeure on contracts for Acetone.

Acetone is essential as a solvent in numerous industries, so understanding the most effective ways to recover and reuse it is crucial when taking into consideration your business. In fact, by recycling acetone you will be able to mitigate some of the costs associated with buying virgin solvents. 

With the additional benefits of not only being environmentally friendly, but also cost-effective, these recycling and recovery solutions will ensure your business is more profitable for the future.

Want to learn how you can efficiently and effectively recycle your acetone? Get in touch with Maratek Environmental today. Our team of Solvent recycling and waste disposal experts would love to answer any questions that you may have.