Using and managing solvents

Why you should monitor your solvent use and emissions


You may need to monitor your solvent use and emissions to comply with regulations, but it can also help you to reduce costs.

Benefits of monitoring your solvent use

Monitoring your solvent use can have significant benefits for your business. You can reduce solvent use and waste throughout your business, from delivery, storage, on-site distribution and handling to production, cleaning, waste recovery and disposal. Some solvent reduction measures can be implemented quickly with no extra cost, while others may require more initial investment but provide significant long-term savings.

Reducing your solvent use can help you to:

  • reduce the cost of buying materials and disposing of waste
  • improve productivity and product quality
  • enhance the environmental performance of your business
  • comply with environmental, and health and safety legislation
  • improve working conditions and employee morale
  • reduce the risk of pollution incidents
  • improve public image and relationships with stakeholders such as the local community, regulators and investors
  • improve your customer base, as environmental impact is an important factor when customers are buying your products or services

Set clear objectives

The type of monitoring you carry out will depend on the results you need to get. For example, if you need to monitor your solvent emissions to comply with regulations, the legislation will indicate the type of information you need. You may have to:

  • carry out stock monitoring and control - eg quantities of organic solvent in materials, amounts purchased and used
  • monitor emissions periodically or continuously
  • provide total emissions data or detailed information about specific compounds
  • record the conditions under which measurements are taken - eg pressure, temperature, oxygen content and operational conditions
  • carry out calculations of mass emissions, requiring flow-rate measurements
  • comply with specific regulatory requirements

If you are monitoring solvent use as part of a solvent management programme to help you reduce costs, you may need more regular and detailed sampling techniques.