Guide

Engineering business solvents and hazardous waste reduction

Introduction

The engineering industry manufactures and services a variety of products from a wide range of raw materials including metals, plastics and ceramics. Raw materials and components may undergo many processes before the final product is formed. As a result, businesses often use solvents and can produce a variety of hazardous wastes.

You should keep your use of solvents and production of hazardous waste to a minimum. These substances and materials are tightly controlled by legislation eg you may need an environmental permit or to comply with solvent limits in products, increasingly expensive to manage and dispose of, and can be harmful to human health and the environment.

This guide describes techniques and measures that engineering businesses can use to reduce solvent use and hazardous waste production. It covers the most common situations and substances - including solvents from surface cleaning, finishing and vehicle refinishing, metal finishing effluents, metalworking fluids, and hydraulic, lubricating and cutting oils.