Solvent Recyclers

A quick look at the practicality of equipment that reclaims cleaning solvents after use. February 15, 2009

We are looking into purchasing a solvent recycling system for our finishing operation and I was wondering if anyone could offer some input on their experience with solvent recycling in general as well as the different systems that are available.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor D:
You might have to get a permit for recycling. I know in Massachusetts you need one.

From contributor F:
My experience with solvent reclaiming is all based on older equipment that I would hope has improved in the last 10-20 years.

But I will relay my thoughts on the matter.
1. The equipment and process is a nasty, smelly and hazardous operation. Everyone that I ever worked with that was put on recycler duty dreaded it.

2. Unless you recycle a considerable amount of material, the investment is not worth it considering the fumes it generates and you still have to dispose of the solids that are not recyclable.

Only you can decide if this is viable for your situation but most people are probably better off having a reclamation service company haul away and recycle their waste.

From contributor B:
I would say solvent recycling is much more improved over the last 10-20 years, but then again that would all depend on a few points.

The most important being - what do you ship out/waste on waste solvent? Total gallonage per year or week? What are you paying per gallon of solvent? Most units run in the 3k-5k range depending upon what needs are. There are different types of units - fan-cooled and fluid-cooled (oil or water). There are pluses and minus to each.

Now there are different ways to look at the operation of the 'newer' units, the operator and the owner. The operator has to pour his waste solvent into a 5 gallon bucket type container that has a bag in it, when its ready to cook - turn the knob. The owner sees it as a money maker, possibly cut cleaning solvent purchases in half or more? The higher end units report to have a 99% return on solvent, but you do have to 'spike' it with new solvent as it does lose its bite after quite a few cooks.