The use of fluids in metal stamping and machining operations is necessary, but with their use comes the corporate responsibility to collect and dispose of fluid waste properly. Used metalworking fluids become contaminated with oils, fines, metals, bacteria, etc. These fluids require treatment before disposal to meet local, state, and federal laws, and even then, there are still environmental impacts associated with transportation and proper disposal. Not to mention the cost.
The best way to reduce environmental impact is to reduce industrial fluid usage. Adopting sustainable fluid management practices can reduce costs and help companies meet regulatory requirements and certifications, like ISO 14001, enhance their reputation, and increase their competitiveness in the marketplace.
This blog will discuss the importance of reducing fluid use in machining and metal stamping operations, the environmental impact of industrial fluid waste, and how Impact Fluids can help companies achieve sustainable fluid management practices.
The Impacts of Excess Industrial Fluid Waste
An organization that generates excess industrial fluid waste can face several negative impacts, both financial and reputational. First, fluid waste disposal is costly; the more you generate, the more you pay.
Additionally, environmental concerns are increasingly important for customers, employees, and other stakeholders. Companies with poor environmental practices, such as excess waste, may lose business or face public scrutiny, harming their reputation and brand image.
Lastly, manufacturing operations that generate excessive amounts of fluid waste may have difficulty achieving regulatory compliance. Government agencies may impose limits on fluid waste disposal, and noncompliance can result in penalties, fines, or even the revocation of permits.
The Environment and Industrial Fluid Waste
Industrial fluid waste has significant environmental impacts that can harm plants, animals, and humans. For instance, metalworking fluids can contain heavy metals that can cause severe health effects when ingested or inhaled. When fluids are not disposed of correctly, they can seep into the soil and contaminate groundwater. Additionally, fluids can release harmful gases into the atmosphere if they are not burned or evaporated correctly. The release of these gases contributes to air pollution and can affect both human health and the environment.
What Happens to Your Industrial Fluid Waste
Properly disposed industrial fluid waste is typically collected and transported to specialized facilities for treatment and disposal. Different disposal methods are used depending on the type of waste, but it’s important to note that even when waste is correctly disposed of, it only partially eliminates it. For instance, incineration is an efficient method of disposing of liquid waste. However, the ashes must still be discarded, and the gas produced goes through a treatment process before it can be safely released into the environment. While manufacturers are doing the right thing, the transportation and disposal process drains more resources, further contributing to environmental issues. Additionally, some contaminants may remain after treatment.
Environmental Regulations & Certifications for Industrial Fluid Waste
Metal stamping companies must comply with multiple regional, state, and national environmental laws regarding the management and disposal of industrial fluid waste. OSHA, for example, has regulations that apply to the handling and storing of hazardous waste, including fluid waste. In addition, the EPA regulates the disposal of industrial fluid waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The RCRA sets standards for managing hazardous waste from the cradle to the grave, including the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste.
In addition to OSHA and EPA regulations, industrial fluid waste disposal may also be subject to state and local regulations. Therefore, companies must comply with all applicable regulations.
And remember, it’s not just the industrial fluid collected during manufacturing. Rags and other materials used to clean excess industrial fluid from machines and workspaces can also be considered hazardous waste and should be disposed of properly.
Failure to comply with regulations can result in fines, penalties, and legal consequences, harming a company’s reputation and bottom line. However, following regulations and adopting sustainable fluid management practices can bring several benefits, such as enhancing a company’s reputation with customers, investors, and other stakeholders. Certifications like ISO 14001 can also demonstrate a company’s commitment to environmental sustainability and help it meet regulatory requirements.
Reducing Industrial Fluid Waste at the Source
To achieve sustainable metal stamping and machining operations, it is essential for companies to reduce their fluid usage. Firstly, it can lead to significant cost savings by reducing the amount of fluid purchased and the costs associated with the disposal, transportation, and treatment of fluid waste. Secondly, reducing fluid usage can also lead to a reduced environmental impact by generating less waste and reducing the risk of pollution. In addition, sustainable fluid management practices can help companies achieve compliance with regulatory requirements and enhance their reputation with customers and other stakeholders.
At Impact Fluids, we work with companies to identify ways to reduce their fluid usage while maintaining productivity and quality standards. Our team of experts can help optimize fluid usage and suggest alternative fluids, application, mixing and filtration methods to reduce the amount of fluid required. As a result, companies can reduce usage in process to achieve sustainability goals while improving their bottom line. By working together, we can create a more sustainable future for all.
Get started with a Fluid Lifecycle Analysis. We’ll identify areas of fluid waste and inefficacy and recommend changes that result in significant cost – and environmental – savings. Contact us for more information.