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Solvent recycling worth it?6/19
We're looking for advise and experiences using solvent recycling systems. Are they worth it, and how much risk are they adding?
We spray mostly conversion varnish, occasionally we spray vinyl sealer. We don't do precat or nitro. Our stains are the typical alkyd based like you get from ML Campbell, Conestoga, or Sherwin Williams. It's possible that we would have waste solvent from oil based SPAR varnish, or even 2K polyurethanes.
We typically buy 3-4 drums of wash thinner per year, and we send off about as many of waste thinner. It costs us around $200 per drum to dispose of it via an environmental company similar to Safety-Kleen.
Having never used one, I have no idea how much maintenance and cleanup these machines require.
Looking for info from folks who have used them, and could suggest whether it's an appropriate fit for us.
I looked into one a year or two ago. Didnt make sense. You still need to pay to have the solid pucks it creates disposed of and solid disposal costs more than liquid.
The solvent it creates is really only good for gunwash, and will likely create way more gunwash than you can use, so what do you do with the excess? Give it away, sell it?....any liabilities with giving it away or selling it?
I found that we would still likely need the drum, our disposal costs wouldnt change significantly, and the only benefit is we would have a bunch of questionable quality gunwash.
I've been using one for the past decade and for me is well worth it.
In terms of maintenance it just needs to check the oil level. Cleanup is a breeze as it uses plastic bags inside so all the dirt stays inside the plastic bag.
It saves you both in new solvent and disposal of used solvent.
I still buy new solvent from time to time for keeping the strength of solvent mix and for keeping up with the losses let's say about a quarter of all my cleaning solvent is new and the rest is recycled.
It's not a big deal, because it doesn't create that much waste to start with. I only work with 2K PU and PE so all my residues are solid anyway.
Thanks for the input guys. We had the same concerns that JM brought up. At least I know now they are valid concerns.
We spray conversion varnish, it's possible that it's just not fiscally a good idea in the long run unless we increase in volume a lot.
I will say this, we do seem to use more waste thinner than some other shops. Our market calls for a LOT more custom colors in each room, and often you're rinsing the hoppers out twice or three times a day just to spray a bathroom or desk unit.