A Turnkey Solvent Recycling Service

Veolia Chemrec

The Challenge

Located in Cowansville, QC, Chemrec has been recycling solvents since it was founded in 1990. Now a division of Veolia, Chemrec provides another location with recycling services for waste solvent. Its 60,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility reprocesses solvents from a wide range of industries.

“Since Veolia acquired Chemrec, our customers have benefited from our expanded offering,” notes Nathalie Viens, senior vice president for Eastern Canada at Veolia. “We are selling, recovering and recycling solvents to benefit our customers by providing a wider range of products and services. As part of Veolia now, we can also broaden our environmental mission.”

One of Veolia Chemrec’s successes is a large steel mill that needed to meet very strict production specifications. The Veolia Chemrec division was recycling the plant’s solvents, but management was hesitant to reuse them because of quality concerns. They needed proof that recycling and reusing solvents would produce solvents that would meet or exceed their quality standards.

The Solution

For a year the Veolia Chemrec team worked with the steel plant’s environmental managers to develop and test the recycled solvents. Once the solvents met the strict standards imposed by the steel plant’s laboratory, Veolia Chemrec also asked an independent laboratory to test the recycled solvents. When the laboratory also certified the quality, the steel mill was ready to begin using the products in their processes. They now routinely use the recycled solvents without any quality issues.

Veolia’s state-of-the-art distillation process regenerates approximately 70% of the steel mill’s used solvents. Because this process maintains the solvent’s properties, the recover-recycle-reuse cycle can be repeated over and over again.

Several precautions are taken to mitigate the possibility of environmental impact. All solvent regeneration activities occur indoors and above ground. Each of the tanks, as well as the tank unloading dock, has its own secondary container and leak detector, and a unique air and water treatment system provides additional environmental protection.

Rigorous quality control is integrated throughout the processes at Veolia Chemrec’s in situ laboratory. The company provides all manifests, placards for the transport of hazardous materials, material safety data sheets and laboratory reports on all recycled solvents.

“We have over 30 formulations that contain varying proportions of virgin and recycled solvents,” observes Jean-Pierre Martin, sales director at Veolia. “We are able to regenerate solvents for customers in a wide variety of industries,  including manufacturers of industrial paints, adhesive products and printers.”

The Result

By using Veolia’s turnkey services, the steel mill has realized substantial savings. Instead of paying only to dispose of its solvents, the company is now able to have them recycled and can reuse them. Solvent management has been simplified; Veolia collects contaminated solvents at the same time it delivers the recycled products.

“The steel mill is very satisfied with our services,” says Joe Michel, general manager at the Veolia Chemrec division. “Every year they give us a perfect score!”