The paint and allied industries are engaged in the manufacture of paint, varnish, lacquer, enamels, cleaners, putties, are allied products. In the United States, 60 percent of paint is solvent based, 35 percent water based and the rest allied products. Raw materials used in the industry include resins, solvents (aromatics, alcohols, aliphatic), pigments (titanium dioxide, inorganics), extenders (calcium carbonate, talc, clay) and other compounds such as plasticizers, and drying oils.

In the production of solvent-based paints, some of these materials are blended in a high-speed mixer. Solvents and plasticizers are also added. Frequently, this operation is followed by grinding and mixing in a mill. Afterwards, the paint base is transferred to an agitated vessel where tints and thinners are added along with the remaining resins and solvents. After reaching the proper consistency, the mixture is filtered and transferred to a filling hopper. The water-based paint process is very similar except that water is used predominantly and the sequencing of material additions is different. Waste from a typical paint process can be generated at any one of the several stages in the production of paint. The main wastes can arise from raw material storage containers, off-specification products, dust, spills, and equipment cleaning wastes.

Some potential waste streams generated in a paint plant are:

  • Equipment cleaning wastes. Equipment is routinely cleaned to prevent product contamination and to maintain efficiency. Depending on the process unit and product type, cleaning is accomplished by flushing with water, or solvent, alkaline cleaning solution, pressure jet, or mechanically or manually scraping.
  • Off-specification and obsolete stock. Off-specification stock is produced by errors in batch formulation, quality control failure and other process errors. This may lead to products being returned by customers, leading to disposal problems.
  • Spills. Spillages are inadvertent discharges that occur at various locations in the plant. Water-based paints are washed to the waste treatment plant while solvent paints are recovered and stored.
  • Filters, bags, packages. Filter bags and cartridges are used as the dust control equipment for both solvent and water-based processes. Spent bag filters are washed and disposed of a non-hazardous waste. Hazardous waste materials (lead and chromium packaging) need to be disposed of in a controlled fashion.

Chemical process industries also create waste streams at various points in their production processes. The type of waste stream(s) depend on the process and type of product(s) they make. However, the amount, the physical and chemical characteristics, etc., of the wastes are entirely different for different chemical products.

Team Project Task:As most of you know, creating waste is both a safety and an economic liability issue for manufacturing facilities. All companies want to reduce the amount of waste they create due to these reasons. There will be many occasions where you, as an environmental professional working for a manufacturing facility, will be called to investigate environmental liability and come up with ways to reduce environmental liability. One of these environmental tasks, at a manufacturing facility, is waste minimization.

Your team will research a paint or a chemical manufacturing facility in detail and identify the product and waste streams generated. This project can be based on Case Studies (i.e., theoretical) using data available via public sources, libraries, websites, associates working in such manufacturing facilities, etc. Or, for students whose place of work is such a manufacturing facility, they can use data from their place of work, with appropriate permissions, of course.

Determine the specifics of the waste streams generated in your plant – chemical and physical characteristics, volume, etc. Study the waste generating processes, as well. The goal is to minimize the waste generated. Look for ways your team can reduce the waste generated at the source. The ultimate goal in this regard is to minimize waste leaving the facility to streams or other large receiving bodies of water. Some of the questions to ask (and answer), in this Waste Minimization Project, are the following:

  • Can we change the process(s) generating the waste and thereby reduce the amount of waste generated?
  • What kinds of wastes are generated? Is it a liquid waste, solid waste, or a combination slurry waste?
  • Can we reduce the amount of waste stream generated by making minor process adjustments?
  • Can we reuse the waste generated elsewhere in the plant?
  • Can we reuse the waste stream (or a portion of it) after physical and chemical treatment of the waste?
  • What are the most effective waste treatment options prior to discharge to receiving bodies of water or the local wastewater treatment facility?
  • Are there returns from the customer, which is considered a waste most of the time? How do we minimize product returns, and if we can’t minimize returns, what can we do with those returned products?

The project team should consist of 3-5 students due to the nature and size of this project.

This report should be about 5 pages long (approximately 2500 words). It should have at least 6 references from scientific, published journals, books, articles, etc., and be formatted in current APA format. Title page, abstract, and reference page are required, and are not to be counted in the 5 page requirement