Industrial Waste Management_ How Waste Control Can Help You Reduce Costs And Align With Regulations

Industrial Waste Management: How Waste Control Can Help You Reduce Costs And Align With Regulations

In Industrial Waste Management, Reduce Waste Costs, Waste Management, Waste Management Plan by David FahrionLeave a Comment

Industries are a huge source of hazardous waste products. Given the complexity of the processes and the involvement of chemical substances in the manufacturing process, there is a good deal of care to be taken when undertaking waste stream management for industries.

Industrial waste is also a leading cause of pollution in the surrounding areas as there is a possibility that chemical waste can leach into the soil nearby. If disposed of incorrectly, it can adversely affect the water quality affecting human health as well as the health of the ecosystem around the facility.

Industrial waste management is a critical part of today’s economic process. Sustainability is at the core of all technological advancements today given how we are working with limited natural resources. Climate change and how it can be limited is also one of the big considerations facing businesses today.

Industrial waste management has always been about finding ways to deal with waste that is produced as a part of the process. However, there is a change sweeping the industry. Industrial waste management is a more holistic and strategic process that spans reducing waste, reusing and recycling waste, waste treatment, and finally responsible waste disposal.

This blog will focus on industrial waste management principles that we at Waste Control follow to help our clients reduce costs and align with regulations. Read on!

Why is Industrial Waste Management so Important?

This may seem like a rhetorical question but certain aspects make industrial waste a bit more dangerous than other solid waste. While the regular concepts about waste management such as avoiding disposal in landfills apply here too, there are far more critical aspects to consider.

The first is the nature of the waste itself. It’s safe to assume that most industries use chemicals in some ways to treat materials as a part of the process. A lot of these chemicals can be harmful to the environment if not treated properly. Some of these materials could be known carcinogens. Others could stay intact in the environment for long periods and destroy ecosystems by affecting plant and animal life.

Chemicals may be released into the environment in various ways. It could enter the air in the form of gaseous release. There could also be a particulate matter that gets released into the atmosphere from chemical processes that take place. These can then spread to the surrounding areas and cause health issues to people who are exposed to them.

Industrial wastewater, if not treated, can also leach into the groundwater supply and contaminate it. There is the possibility of runoff and erosions as well where contaminated soil can spread to nearby areas and cause harmful effects.

There are of course other forms of non-hazardous waste to think about as well. Dealing with paper, organic waste, metal scraps, and other forms of waste is also important, both in terms of aligning to regulations and also reducing costs.

Industrial waste management is thus a complex process that involves a lot of planning and strategy. If not done correctly, the results can be catastrophic. While there will be considerable costs that get added to your business, there are also issues related to the environment and public health to deal with.

How to Strategically Manage Industrial Waste?

Now to the crux of the matter. Managing industrial waste cannot happen without a complete audit and if necessary, changes to your industrial processes. At WasteControl, we always begin here and then work towards creating the ideal strategy that works for your business. Here are some of the steps we take when we work with a client for industrial waste management

Do a Thorough Process Audit

While it may seem like a time-consuming process, there is immense value in doing a thorough audit of your industrial process. By understanding the processes in depth and looking at them from a waste perspective, you will uncover a lot of areas that you need to focus on. Waste prevention is one of the best outcomes to come out of this. You will also understand what the various by-products are and how they are currently being used.

It is important to do some planning before you jump into audit and waste characterization. Look at your process diagrams and workflows to get a fair idea of the processes before you start. Another important thing to do is to look at the chemical compositions of the waste products, what volumes are these waste products being produced in, and what are the concentration levels of these waste products.

You may also have some additional pointers you glean from the audit such as what additional testing may be required and how some by-products can be reused. This is also important information to have before you go into the process of managing waste.

Waste Prevention

Waste prevention at the source is perhaps the best way to ensure that your costs are in check. Waste prevention can happen in quite a lot of ways, depending on your process. If particular waste products are harmful to the environment around you or hard to treat and dispose of, finding another use for it or altering the process so that this waste is no longer produced is a very attractive option. Replacing one industrial solvent with another may be possible which will give you the same results but a less harmful substance as waste.

Technological advancements allow you to update your processes easily. It is a great idea to refer to external sources such as industry bodies and academics to relook at your processes and update them wherever you can to reduce the

Reducing waste generation can also happen through on-site recycling. Using the output of one process which is normally waste as a raw material in another process will prevent waste from being produced. This will reduce the costs and effort involved in treating and disposing of the waste.

Recycling

Recycling is an important waste management practice that allows you to reduce the amount of waste you have to deal with. During the audit process, it will be handy to identify waste material that is being produced that could be recycled by other industries. Composting organic waste, and selling off paper waste to paper recycling facilities are simple steps that you can do in-house.

Several bodies help you find buyers for waste products that could be recycled. You can take the help of material exchange programs instituted by the local or state governments or take the help of NGOs and waste management organizations that will help you find the right vendors who can recycle the waste.

There is also the possibility that the waste products may be used as substitutes in another process. Using foundry sand and plastic waste for road construction, and combustion ash as construction material are examples of this. It makes sense to explore these ideas too.

Recycling is not just good to have. It is also part of regulatory compliance. Federal regulations such as Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) lays out guidelines for recycling along with other regulations for dealing with hazardous and non-hazardous waste as well as radioactive waste and other such products.

Treatment of Waste

If there is waste that cannot be eliminated and recycled, the next step to consider is creating treatment systems that will convert these harmful substances into less harmful products which can be safely disposed of.

Wastewater treatment is important to do to prevent contaminants from entering groundwater reserves. Liquid waste should all be treated and stored safely to prevent leaching. Gaseous waste should also be treated to make sure that the greenhouse gas emissions are under control and that you are also not releasing any untreated substances that may be harmful to the environment.

Finding Safe Ways for Industrial Waste Disposal

Finally, it is also important to find safe disposal facilities. Pollution prevention should be an integral part of the strategy throughout your process and disposal is the step where extra care is needed. Finding alternatives to landfills and using reliable vendors to dispose of your industrial waste will ensure environmental compliance and of course reduced costs.

Consolidate Vendors

One of the best ways to keep your costs in check and save time is to consolidate your vendors wherever possible. Waste Control is a big advocate of this strategy and we save most of our clients from the pain of working with multiple vendors for their waste stream management. Working with the same vendor will give you more control over your waste management process and it will also save you loads of administrative time. Waste management organizations are a better bet when it comes to this as finding trash haulers who can take all kinds of waste would be hard. 

Parting Thoughts

Industrial waste management is an essential part of your business for regulatory reasons as well as to keep your costs in check. It can also be a complex process if you have a multi-step process that uses a variety of materials. Understanding the processes thoroughly and evaluating how waste can be prevented at every step is the best way to manage industrial waste.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a very detailed guide on industrial waste management that will certainly help you get started. However, taking the help of experts who have been there and done that is the best way to go.

Waste Control has helped leading organizations in automotive, food and beverage, and other industries in managing their waste stream efficiently and keeping costs low. Get in touch with our experts today!