Resource Recovery and Waste Minimization

This is another broad category that encompasses many technologies: chemical processing, waste disposal, recycling, and housekeeping are just a few. There are many opportunities for improvement under this category as environmental technology continues to advance.

Waste minimization was highlighted during DAC's recent implementation of the Total Quality Management philosophy. This effort enlightened and encouraged every employee to consider his/her impact on the environment and the workplace. An effective example of waste minimization was accomplished by simply reducing the size of their vendor-provided wipe rags. An onsite survey conducted to evaluate the usage of wipe rags discovered that the three-foot square rags were too large for convenient wipe operations. The supplier agreed to provide smaller rags at less cost to DAC, thus reducing both the volume and weight of rag-generated wastes. Because of the wide variety of uses for wipe rags, they are liable to become contaminated with many products including hazardous substances, requiring the disposal of these rags as hazardous waste.

Each of these projects contributes to eliminate the negative impact of manufacturing processes upon the environment. At DAC they are working diligently with their suppliers and subcontractors to develop, test, and implement new alternative technologies. Alternative technologies are becoming increasingly necessary to meet the ever-tightening demands of an aware public when it comes to environmental legislation. It is noteworthy that environmental professionals tend to share technological developments and breakthroughs to lead society to be come a better, cleaner, and healthier place to live.

Chlorinated hydrocarbon solvents and chlorofluorocarbons are used extensively in cleaning operations in the Department of Energy (DOE) defense program, the nuclear weapons complex, the Department of Defense (DOD) weapons refurbishment facilities, and in industry. A Solvent Utilization Handbook has been published by their joint task force to provide guidelines for the selection of nontoxic environmentally safe substitute solvents for these operations. The information contained will include cleaning performance, corrosion testing, treatability operations, recycle/recovery techniques, volatile organic compound emissions and control techniques, as well as other information. The Handbook will be updated on an annual basis with information on new solvent substitutes that appear in the marketplace. The handbook database is under revision. Toxicological information, handling and disposal, and economics of solvent usage will also be included in the updated handbook.

A series of databases has been developed for implementation of P2. For example, Krewer et al. [16] developed software called PoProf for selection of solvent and waste minimization. It was based on two principles: (a) the selected solvents for a given process exhibit good environmental behavior in addition to good performance; and (b) the waste from the process can be minimized.

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