Small Changes Matter by ProQuest

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Brake cleaner, lubricants and degreasers are all examples of commonly used maintenance products supplied in aerosol cans. Because the cans remain pressurized even after they are "empty," many facilities need to handle and dispose of them as hazardous waste, with prices commonly ranging from $200 to $400 per drum for disposal.

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									              | Guest Editorial |
                                                                                By Karen D. Hamel, Technical Education Manager, New Pig Corp




              Small Changes
              Matter
              Especially when greening shops

                 Change rarely comes easily - especially when tried-and-true routines have       One absorbent mat, for example, is often capable of absorbing up to a
              worked for decades. But sometimes, small changes can improve efficiency,         quart of spilled liquids. It takes over 10 pounds of clay-based loose absor-
              reduce waste volumes and minimize environmental impact.                         bent to do the same job. Clean up time is also minimized with contained
                 Because fleet vehicles are filled with various fluids, leaks, drips and         absorbents because there is no shoveling or sweeping, as is the amount
              spills are all fairly common occurrences that can lead to slippery floors        of space needed to store the spent absorbent materials prior to disposal.
              and downtime associated with clean-up efforts. Loose absorbents, such              Shop towels are another similar item that is commonly used in many
              as cat litter and other clay-based compounds are a typical solution to deal     shops. Because they are often part of a laundering service, some people
              with these situations.                                                          tend to view them to be a better solution than disposable wipers. An EPA
                 Some of the problems with these loose absorbents are that they are heavy,    commissioned study found, however, that spent absorbent wipers account
              dusty and not very efficient. Contained absorbents, like mats, socks and         for less than 1 percent of landfilled wastes, and that they do not present a
              pillows often cost a little more to purchase, but have a much greater affinity   significant environment hazard when landfilled.
              for absorbing fluids quickly and with less manpower.                                By contrast, the process of laundering shop towels often releases contam-
                                                                                               inants from the towels into water treatment systems that are incapable of
                                                                                               completely removing the contaminants. As a result, they can pass through
                                                                                               the treatment system and can cause pollution in water bodies.
                                                                                                  Disposable wipers are available in many different varieties and are
                                                                                               designed to be task-specific. That means that wipers are available for
                                                                                               nearly every task from hand-wiping to auto detailing preparation.
                                                                                                  Brake cleaner, lubricants and degreasers are all examples of commonly
                                                                                               used maintenance products supplied in aerosol cans. Because the cans
                                                                                               remain pressurized even after they are “empty,” many facilities need to
                                                                                               handle and dispose of them as hazardous waste, with prices commonly
                                                                                               ranging from $200 to $400 per drum for disposal.
                                                                                                  For shops that use a lot of aerosols, specially designed can puncturing
                                                                                               or can crushing units may help minimize disposal costs. The units are
                                                                                               capable of capturing fugitive air emissions from the punctured or crushed
                                                                                               cans, a
								
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