What Type Of Industrial Waste Can Be Recycled?

Waste handling, management, and disposal are not small concerns for industrial companies. Manufacturers and service providers must balance the pace of their operations with facility safety, regulatory compliance, and sustainability efforts. Sometimes companies choose to buy and install solvent recyclers or a dust collection system to help collect and recycle off cuts or waste material produce during the manufacturing process. These solutions can be highly effective for reducing environmental footprints and gaining some additional returns from regular operations.


Although a lot of businesses are familiar with recycling options for paper, plastic, metals, and other material waste that’s common for all types of operations, industrial companies may not realize just how many options there are for industrial waste. The following materials can be recycled either by utilizing a third-party collection resource or adopting an on-site solution.

Oil, Grease, And Lubricants

Depending on the type of oil or grease, it is possible to recycle these substances into fuel like biodiesel, lubricants, and animal feed. Oil and grease recycling usually must be carried out through special recycling and processing equipment that is maintained by a dedicated recycler. The recyclability of the grease or oil will sometimes depend on its current state of contamination. For example, yellow grease is a recyclable form of cooking oils that has not been mixed with water and that can be recycled into useable fuel. Some processing companies will pay for the used oil, providing businesses with an incentive to properly store and recycle their waste for monetary benefits.

Liquid Solvents

Solvents like acetone and alcohol can be recycled through a process of solvent distillation. When these substances become saturated with suspended particles, they can be separated and cleaned by using solvent recyclers. The cleaned solvent can then be reused for the same purposes as virgin solvent. Recycling of solvents can be completed by third-party service providers. These companies may pay for the waste liquid or they may return the cleaned solvent at a discount rate. Alternatively, some companies that use solvents with regularity or in large quantities, such as those that utilize equipment like parts washers, may choose to incorporate on-site solvent recycling equipment to create a closed-loop system for their production and cleaning requirements.

Foundry Sand

Foundry sand is essential to the processing of making casting molds, but after a certain number of reuse cycles, it’s no longer viable for casting purposes. The spent sand can still be used as a material in various construction applications and in manufactured soil. For foundry sand to be safely reused, it does need to be silica-based and carefully evaluated to ensure certain metal concentrations do not create an environmental hazard. Special recycling facilities and waste handling companies will collect, evaluate, and recycle spent foundry sand. This process does require specialized equipment and must be performed by dedicated facilities.

Rubber And Tires

Industrial rubber, including tires, has become a widely used resource for many recycled products. Scrap rubber collection services will sometimes pay for larger quantities of used rubber as well as scrap leftover from the manufacture of various products. This scrap rubber is then used to create many flexible composites used for construction, agricultural, industrial, and commercial purposes.

Cloth And Fiber

Like rubber, cloth and fiber scraps that are leftover from the manufacturing process can sometimes be recycled. Their usability will depend on the type of fiber. Cotton, polyester, wool, and other textile scraps can sometimes be used for processing of recycled fabrics or for incorporation into various composites, including yarns, non-woven textiles, and industrial felts.

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