Solvent Recovery – Profitability Means Staying ‘Green’


How does a company maintain profitability in a shrinking economy while keeping a “green” image? Older schools of thought within the business world are of the opinion that while corporate responsibility is nice, it ultimately ends up costing the consumer, since costs go up with conservation efforts. The reason why this mode of thinking is outdated is because not only are the costs of maintaining a green profile within your organization lower than they once were, they are becoming the standard way of keeping costs low. For instance, solvent recovery makes the cost of doing business affordable. Solvents that are used in a wide array of industries have to be disposed of properly. That is a cost in itself because the EPA and other government agencies will not just let you toss old solvent down the drain. Also, since many of these solvents are petroleum based, their prices are constantly rising. Recovering these solvents, once a way of being kind to the environment, now becomes a way to be kind to your wallet.

With industrial solvent costs rising, many companies have found the answer to keeping costs low in solvent recovery systems, equipment that takes in used solvent, distills the solvent so impurities and particulates are removed, and then delivers clean solvent back into circulation for future use. Be it from flushing paint lines to cleaning presses, most companies utilize some type of a solvent in their process. By implementing a solvent recovery program companies can keep costs down and potentially lower their EPA generator status at the same time.

Solvent recovery is based on the distillation process which is chemistry at its most basic level. You take a contaminated solvent and heat it until it reaches a boil. The resulting vapor then enters a condenser unit where it is cooled back down to its liquid form. This leaves the solid contaminant (e.g. paint, ink etc.) behind. Of course all of this takes place in an enclosed solvent recovery system. These systems can be modified to fit the company that uses them. Large manufacturing plants that use a lot of solvent can benefit from a large, highly automated solvent recovery system. Small machine shops and auto body garages can use smaller models that are run once a day to recovery their solvent from daily use. With proper consulting, installation, training, and maintenance, any company that uses solvents in any capacity can have this system not only pay for itself, but end up cutting costs for many years to come.

A company looking into solvent recovery can benefit in numerous different ways.


  • Money is saved on solvent purchasing. Because solvent is no longer disposed of in mass quantities after one use, less needs to be purchased.
  • There is also a considerable savings on the waste solvent disposal. Many people don’t realize that solvent recovery can reduce waste disposal costs by upwards of 95%. Based on these cost savings a solvent recovery system will typically pay itself off within a year.
  • Community good will and maintaining a profile of corporate responsibility are better assured. Between government regulations, public stakeholder intrusion, and other exterior forces, your business is under a lot of scrutiny. It does not operate in a vacuum. Improving your relationship with your neighbors gives your company a better reputation. This could mean the difference between getting by and doing well for your company.


Implementing a solvent recovery system using the right equipment can save your company a lot of money. Solvent recovery has the added bonus of pollution prevention. Solvent recovery systems will greatly reduce the volume of hazardous waste generated on site, resulting in lower EPA compliance costs and less regulatory paperwork to complete. There is also the piece of mind that you are not unleashing potentially dangerous chemicals into our environment. From the time the solvent is “put out” to be picked up until the time it is “dumped” it is a hazard that can poison the air, water, and land.

Being an environmentally conscious company by utilizing solvent recovery will not only save you money, lower your EPA reporting requirements, and make you a good neighbor, but it will help you sleep at night by knowing you are doing the right thing for the planet and your children. You have the benefit of doing right by your company by keeping costs low and by doing right by your neighbors by reusing your solvents. The old way of thinking that “green” will put you in the “red” is outdated. In fact, “green” now not only means being environmentally friendly, but being smart about how you run your business as well. Profit Recovery

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