55 Gallon drums of hazardous waste in pile

Why On-Site Solvent Distillation is Superior to Off-Site

Still not sure how best to recycle your solvent waste? Learn how on-site solvent distillation differs from recycling off-site and which option is best. 

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Do you currently run a business that recycles its waste solvent off-site at a third party processor? Don’t worry, you’ve already taken an important first step by recycling your waste solvent rather than simply paying to have it disposed of. Businesses that don’t recycle their waste solvent at all waste a lot of capital that could easily be saved by simply moving to recycling. However, there are even further benefits to moving your solvent recycling process from off-site to on-site. Not only is on-site solvent distillation the right choice for now, but it’s also the right choice for the future. And although the task may seem like a daunting one, I think you’ll find that CleanPlanet Chemical makes the switch as simple and easy as possible.

Like in all aspects of life, it always seems easier to stick with the status quo. What is familiar to us is easier and for that reason we assume it is the best option available. The same can be said for companies that currently send their waste solvents away to be recycled at an off-site processor. Although recycling waste solvents to provide yourself with fresh solvent is always a better choice than simply paying to have it disposed of, on-site solvent distillation is by far the superior option.

Production and Storage of Waste Solvent

When you have your waste solvents recycled off-site, the entire process can be quite complex. First, you need to take the waste solvent and have it loaded into drums for storage. This is indeed a messy process that most people are not fond of. Now, you wait, and wait, and wait. It’s not as if you can simply have one or two or three drums of waste solvent sent away for recycling every time you fill them. No. You inevitably have to wait until you have filled 88 drums with waste solvent, which is the number of drums that can typically fill a standard size tractor trailer. Having any smaller number of drums picked up to be taken to your off-site recycler simply doesn’t make economical  sense. You will be charged an arm and a leg. 

In the meantime, though, you also have to account for the sheer area of space it takes to store 88 drums of waste solvent. When you factor this space into the rent or mortgage for your business, you will see that you are paying thousands of dollars a year just to store useless, waste solvent. With on-site solvent distillation, you no longer need to set aside large areas of floor space to store waste solvent. You are constantly getting a fresh supply of recycled solvent to be used in your equipment, which doesn’t require nearly as much space to store. And when you use a highly efficient on-site recycler, like CleanPlanet Chemical’s line of AlwaysClean solvent distillation units, you produce minimal amounts of waste. 

Transporting Waste Solvent to Your Off-Site Recycler

Now, imagine you have finally stored enough drums of waste solvent that you can now call a transport company to pick them up to take to your off-site recycler. By now, you’ve already wasted thousands of dollars on just storing these drums. The shipping company, though, is also going to charge exorbitant prices to pick up and deliver your waste solvent to the off-site recycler. And with supply chains currently in disarray around the world, one really can never rely on vendors to deliver on time, or with a consistent price and service. You might end up waiting weeks, or months to have your solvent picked up. And in the meantime, you’re taking up even more valuable real estate with the additional drums that you are filling with waste solvent. 

Once your waste solvent is in transit, you also have the additional worry of your cradle to grave liability of being a hazardous waste producer. If anything were to happen to your waste solvent in transit, once it’s out of your hands, you would still be held liable. There have been some environmentally catastrophic instances of this that are sure to give you a scare. The costs of paying the fines that come along with such spills and accidents are huge and can easily lead to financial ruin for many companies.

With on-site solvent distillation, you virtually eliminate all shipping of waste solvent. Since recycling your solvent on-site simply requires hooking up drums of waste to the solvent distillation equipment and then waiting for it to produce fresh solvent, there is essentially next to no shipping taking place. You no longer need to rely on undependable vendors to ship your waste solvent to the off-site recycler, and as a result, there is also much reduced liability to worry about. Unlike off-site recycling, where you have to waste valuable real estate on storing drums of waste solvent, on-site distillation takes up very little space and requires next to no storage of waste solvent. You also no longer need one or more employees to dedicate vast swaths of their workday to packaging and shipping waste solvents. For all of these reasons, you’re reducing the number of potential headaches you’ll experience with the shipping process, and you’re saving a great deal of capital.

Off-Site Solvent Recycling

Once your waste solvent is in the hands of your off-site recycler, there are a number of things that can go wrong. Off-site recyclers are not always the most efficient, for one, and some can’t guarantee high quality fresh solvent in the recycling process. Both of these factors drain money from your business in different ways and can be easily resolved by moving your solvent distillation on-site, where you can be assured you’re getting the highest yield of the highest quality recycled solvent.

Off-site solvent distillation often has yields of 60-65% of recovered solvent from the recycling process. This is not a great return on your investment, as you’ve already paid to store and ship out your waste solvent. Not to mention, you’re also going to need to top off your systems with expensive, virgin solvent more frequently. On the other hand, with on-site solvent recyclers you can expect between an 80-98% recovery of the available solvent, depending on the volume and scale of on-site recycling you have taking place. 

This loss of yield of recycled solvent between on-site and off-site recyclers can be accounted for by a couple of reasons. For one, off-site solvent distillation equipment tends to be older and larger scale. The older the working parts, the less efficiently they operate. And the larger the distillation unit, the more space you have for energy losses in the form of heat and sound. With on-site distillation equipment, the scale that you’re working on is much smaller and thus, you have more control over the entire process, and less ways in which energy can be lost from the system. Today’s newest on-site recyclers are also highly advanced. CleanPlanet Chemical’s on-site solvent recyclers, for example, are built with cutting edge technology and patented quality management systems that allow them to yield high returns in the recycling process. This is why on-site recyclers are able to give you a much higher return of fresh solvent than off-site recyclers.

Another factor that sets on-site solvent distillation apart from off-site distillation is the quality of recycled solvent that you’re getting. With off-site solvent distillation, it’s possible to have your ‘fresh’ solvent contaminated with undesirable particulates. Sometimes this type of recycled solvent is referred to as “gray solvent,” and it can potentially cause problems for your business. Using contaminated solvents can cause your machinery to deteriorate and erode over time, forcing you to perform unnecessary repairs and replacement of parts. Not only are these repairs costly themselves, but the more down time your machinery has, the less productive your business is as a whole. And if you ARE using gray solvents in your business, you can never really be sure that you’re providing a consistent product for your customers. What we see is a lot of businesses resorting to using expensive, virgin solvents for projects that require absolute cleanliness and clarity. 

Fortunately for you, there is another option: on-site solvent distillation. You can always be assured that you’re getting a recycled solvent that is comparable to virgin solvent. This may sound odd, but it’s true. With CleanPlanet Chemical’s highly sophisticated technology, our technicians and engineers are able to remotely monitor the entire recycling process, and make adjustments in real-time in order to maximize your return of solvent. With our solvent distillation service we also make sure that your units are always fully up to date in terms of new technology and features. We come directly to your jobsite and make the necessary adjustments so that the yield and quality of your recycled solvent is maximized.

Getting Started with On-Site Solvent Recycling

Now, this is all well and good, but many people hesitate to take the plunge into on-site recycling because they think the whole process is expensive and complicated to get set up. With CleanPlanet, though, this line of thinking couldn’t be any further from the truth. First off, there are absolutely no costs up front. Once you are on board, you don’t purchase a solvent distillation machine, we give you one for free. That’s right! Our technicians and engineers come to your jobsite, find the best location for the unit, and install it there on the spot. Next, you can begin recycling your first drums of waste solvent, which really only requires a few minutes of attention a day by your employees. The rest is taken care of by our technicians and engineers that are monitoring the system remotely. Then, all you’re actually paying for is the quantity of clean solvent your recycler produces, at a set and agreed upon rate.

As we’ve seen, there are obviously huge benefits to recycling your waste solvents in general. However, the further benefits of bringing the entire recycling process onto your jobsite are what really make the biggest difference. With off-site solvent distillation, you end up paying a lot of money for storage of your waste solvents, as well as the cost to ship the waste solvent to the off-site recycler and back to you once recycled. Add to this the stress of your cradle to grave liability as a producer of hazardous wastes, and the benefits of on-site recycling become even clearer. With on-site solvent distillation, there is next to no shipping of waste or fresh solvents taking place, so these issues are basically nullified. And lastly, because you’re getting such a higher return of higher quality fresh solvent from on-site recyclers compared to off-site recyclers, the choice is an easy one to make. 

You’ll immediately notice how much money you could have been saving by using our solvent distillation service. Reduced costs surrounding the entire solvent recycling process will be a game changer for your company. And since CleanPlanet Chemical handles the monitoring portion of the recycling process, your business will immediately have a lot more time to spend on things that really matter, and really earn you money. Keep it simple and bring the solvent recycling process back home!

Want to learn about the many other benefits of on-site solvent recycling? 

AlwaysClean 350 smart solvent recycler

Begin to reduce solvent costs, waste, and liabilities the modern way!


Begin to reduce costs, waste and liabilities the modern way.


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