Pollution prevention: the case of aqueous parts cleaning in maintenance workshops
Pollution prevention has recently surfaced as one of the most commonly used preventive environmental management practices. Pollution prevention aims at reducing or eliminating the creation of pollutants at the source by substituting or using less hazardous materials and increase efficiency. However, one particular area that to date has received very little attention is the generation of hazardous wastes from parts cleaning devices in maintenance workshops. Given the detrimental effects of the solvent often used in parts cleaning, it is essential to encourage maintenance workshops to adapt pollution prevention. A promising alternative is the substitution of solvent by aqueous cleaning solution, which will completely eliminate the generation of hazardous wastes during parts cleaning. Aiming to stimulate small quantity of generators of hazardous waste to switch to aqueous parts cleaning, a comprehensive review was conducted to investigate issues associated with parts cleaning practices using solvent and aqueous cleaning solutions. The performance of aqueous parts cleaning was then evaluated using two small industrial part cleaning devices. One of these devices was equipped with a microfilter and oil skimmer to prolong the cleaning solution lifetime. It appears that aqueous parts cleaning can replace solvent based cleaning technique without any observable compromise in performance. However, the cleaning equipment used is critical to successful aqueous cleaning. The use of a microfilter and oil skimmer could reduce the amount of residuals left on parts and significantly extending solution life.>
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