Powder Disposal Revisited


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Since my last column several readers have responded to our eternal question of how to dispose of old powder coating. Following are these discussions and my comments.

Question 1

Please forgive my lack of knowledge on the subject, we are manufacturers of plating equipment, not painters, but your recent article raised some questions in my mind.

1) If the powder is non-hazardous, why waste time, energy, and effort baking it before disposal? What is the object of baking it, other than to make it less likely to be a mess if spilled?

2) That fellow who bakes it in drums— there is no mention of this in the article, but I assume that one critical step of the process is to LEAVE THE BUNG PLUG OUT before you bake those drums. Thanks, I enjoy reading the columns on other technologies as well as the plating articles in PF. K. G.

Answer 1

Baking old powder before disposal just prevents spillage problems and is sometimes required by the waste hauler or landfill. Otherwise it makes no sense to do it. Thanks for your comments.

Question 2

Enjoy your article. Always learn something new. As to the curing powder in the oven to dispose of it... we been there and done that. Realize when you cure paint into a block of waste you are tossing out some nice natural gas dollars. If you haven’t noticed the price of gas has been going in the wrong direction. I hear 143% up from last year! We decided to try another approach.

Armed with MSDS’s and a couple boxes of waste powder we visited our local landfill operator. We found out what they liked and what they don’t like and came up with a compromise solution. They don’t like to find random boxes of loose powder mixed in with the house trash. When they run over it with their equipment to compact the trash it makes a dusty mess, which tends to clog up the air filters on their equipment.

They will accept cured powder. We used to put it in metal five-gallon buckets and sit it in the oven (think fire prevention!) Then we would carry them out of the oven and put it in the house trash. This is a lot of lost labor and time when we should be painting parts instead of moving waste in and out of the oven.

What the landfill operator did agree to was to accept skid loads of waste powder repacked in the original boxes and wrapped to the skid. We have to notify them before we deliver it to them so they can place it in one spot and bury it without busting it open and making a powder cloud mess.

We save up our old powder, repacked in the boxes and have our maintenance guys deliver it to the landfill about every other month. This method reduces energy costs, opens up more production time on our line and eliminates labor cost of a non-value added activity.

Everyone is happy! Ahh, except for our natural gas supplier, but I don’t think he is going to be cold this winter!
Hey! Our landfill operator is actually a nice guy, yours might be too! It is worth the visit to try! D. B.

Answer 2

Great solution! Sometimes all it takes is some down to earth communication. I wonder how many other companies would actually take the time to do this? I also wonder if other maintenance departments would take on the task of delivering old powder to the dump? Whatever, you are doing to secure their cooperation, keep doing it!

Question 3

We are a powder recycling company located in Shanghai China that will pay for your waste! We recycle “over-spray powder,” “surplus powder,” “super fine powder,” and “resin lump.” Our consumption is 100 metric tons per month. M. P.

Answer 3

This e-mail was sent to my office. I have no idea what it costs to ship powder to China, but maybe it is worth it for some people. Just goes to show you that “another persons trash is someone’s raw material.” I wonder what they are doing with all this powder? It may be coming back to the USA as Nike or adidas©sneakers.