Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
Reducing your solvent use can lead to a number of benefits. See the page in this guideline: Why you should monitor your solvent use and emissions.
You can reduce solvent use during production processes by:
You can also avoid wasting solvents by:
Cleaning often uses more solvent than is necessary. Review your cleaning processes and consider alternative solutions, such as low-emission cleaning agents - eg citrus or water-based and vegetable-based degreasing agents.
Use the minimum amount of solvent necessary. For example, you could use a triggered spray to use less solvent and reduce operator exposure.
Introduce a 'clean as you go' policy to prevent deposits building up. If build-ups do occur, you should try to use non-solvent cleaners and a suitable scraper first to pre-clean. For difficult deposits, use a detergent with mechanical scrapers, floor scrubbers and high-pressure water jets. Fit sumps or drains with solvent interceptors and tanks which you can pump solvent out of for recovery or disposal.
If you can, use dedicated equipment so that you can avoid having to clean equipment between batches. Producing batches using similar materials or colours may help reduce cleaning.
Fully enclosed degreasing and cleaning equipment cuts evaporation and can enable you to reuse solvents. If you have to clean large vessels or tanks regularly, consider fitting automated cleaning-in-place (CIP) systems. These generally use high-pressure cleaning and can significantly reduce solvent use.
Consider pigging to clean pipelines. This involves forcing a plug or 'pig' that is normally made of rubber or steel along the pipeline. Advantages of pigging include:
If you use adhesives, try to find non-solvent based products. If there is no alternative to using solvent-based adhesives, you can cut solvent emissions by:
WRAP Northern Ireland/Zero Waste Scotland Helpline: 0808 100 2040
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