You are here: Home/Blog / Waste Reduction1 / Oil Absorbent Reuse: How to Start a Program at your Facility2
Sustainability in Manufacturing
How to Start an Oil Absorbent Reuse Program at your Facility
As more companies prioritize sustainability, ISO 14001, and zero-landfill objectives, sending oil absorbents to landfills is no longer a viable option.
A new kind of oil absorbent is being adopted as the preferred choice in industry – launderable, reusable oil absorbents.
In fact, manufacturers like Eaton, Dresser-Rand, Sloan Valve, Rexnord, and American Axle are utilizing a reuse program and have diverted millions of lbs of waste from landfills as a result.
The Challenge with Disposable Absorbents
Sending soiled oil absorbents to landfills is not a sustainable option. Incineration is not ideal, either. While incineration eliminates your company’s landfill liability, the smoke discharge can create harmful emissions such as nitrogen oxide, particulates, heavy metals, acid gasses, and the carcinogen dioxin.
For more on disposal options and environmental impact, check out The Ultimate Guide: How to Dispose of Used Rags and Oil Absorbents.
Recycling vs. Reuse
While often used interchangeably, there is a difference between a recycled and reusable oil absorbent.
Recycling means turning an item into raw materials that can be used again, usually for a completely new product. Several recycled absorbents on the market contain recycled material, such as old rags or t-shirts. Absorbent recycling services will repurpose absorbent mats, pads, and socks as fuel or blended waste. However, recycled absorbents may still end up in a landfill.
Reuse, on the other hand, refers to using an object again without breaking it down. Reuse, unlike recycling, offers a closed-loop process.
Reuse is preferred over recycling. It consumes less energy and eliminates a waste stream.
Reuse offers several key benefits over single-use pig mats and recycling services:
- Closed-loop program generated zero waste.
- Waste oils are captured and recycled to reduce environmental impact.
- Supports sustainability, waste reduction, and ISO 14001 initiatives
- Can reduce costs by eliminating waste hauling or incineration fees
- Reusable mats and pads are more durable and absorbent, which supports housekeeping and safety.
How to Reuse your Oil Absorbents
To reuse oil absorbents, you will need to remove the spent oil from the absorbent. You can do this one of two ways:
- Oil absorbent pad wringer (squeezes the oil out)
- Laundering the absorbents
For mechanical and hand wringing, you can purchase special equipment to complete this process. You will need special, durable absorbents that can handle the wringing process while maintaining product integrity. Keep in mind you will need to dedicate time and space in your facility to house the equipment and air dry the absorbents. If the absorbents are put in storage before completely dry, they could become moldy.
For laundering, you will want to outsource this process to an industrial laundry that is properly set up to handle oil-laden material. Laundering of such material also requires special EPA permitting. The advantage is that it does not require any additional resources of time or space in your facility.
With a laundering service, the industrial laundry will provide special absorbents that can withstand laundering. Similar to a towel rental service, your soiled absorbents get picked up, laundered, and returned to you for reuse.
SorbIts® is ITU AbsorbTech’s exclusive line of launderable, reusable oil absorbents. With our managed service, you get a fresh supply of clean oil absorbents delivered to your facility on a regular schedule.
Eaton, Dresser-Rand, and American Axle are just a few of the many manufacturers that have implemented a SorbIts® reuse program to save time, support safety, and eliminate a waste stream. Collectively, that have diverted over 5,000 lbs of waste from landfill last year. Below are a few pictures of their sustainability certificates.
The Bottom Line
Starting a reusable oil absorbent program at your facility is a relatively simple process and can help your company divert thousands of pounds of oil absorbent waste from landfills every year.
Do your research and choose an industrial laundering company that is properly permitted and will handle your waste responsibly.
- ITU AbsorbTech Named a 2023 Top WorkplaceMay 19, 2023
- Tee Up Raises $230,000 for T1D ResearchNovember 18, 2022
Hallman Lindsay Greenfield
20:59 30 Jan 20
We have used ITU Absorbtech at our location for years now. Skyler always does a great job. He is very professional and efficient.read more
18:51 30 Jan 20
ITU has been Venango Steel's uniform and mat supplier for nine years. It has been a great partnership. The quality of the products meets or exceeds expectations. Jeff Miller is our representative and Chad Prather is our route driver. They go the extra step to keep the customer happy ! Thank you Jeff & Chad !read more
14:48 30 Jan 20
Our rep is Branislov and our manager is Kieth both are very friendly and give us great service. We have had ITU for over 40 years. I like what they do for "coats for kids" by cleaning all the donated clothes. Also they are a very environmentally aware company.read more
15:50 29 Jan 20
CDM Tool has been using ITU for a long time. They have dedicated drivers. Bob our driver knows our company so well, he is able to tell based on our supply's that are used how business is going. He then adjusts so we don't overpay. The best part is that they don't create more work for me. We have never had an issue with lost uniforms.read more
15:16 24 Jan 20
L&S Insulation has been a customer for many years and Absorbtech has really reliable mats, always fresh and clean. Skyler has amazing customer service and is super friendly. :)read more
00:40 05 Feb 19
Family owned company that truly takes care of their employees and customers as if they were family!!!
19:54 23 Jan 18
Customer service is great! Dave and Bernie are amazing, very helpful and respond quickly. Staff is friendly and professional.read more
16:35 20 Dec 17
Bob Casey is my route driver, very nice guy, always takes care of everything. I have been with ITU for better than 20 years, I would never change. Merry Christmas Bob C.read more
17:12 15 Dec 17
Very easy to work with. Matt is a phenomenal salesman, great personality. Brian our service representative is always very courteous and pleasant to work with. A great change for our company and glad we are doing business with them.read more
20:37 01 Dec 17
Our company has done business with ITU for 15+ years. They give good prices and good customer service. I would recommend them. Easy to deal with. (AFI Direct Service, Inc.)read more
16:16 28 Nov 17
Bob Casey is our representative and has been for many years. Bob always has a smile and is very upbeat. It is a pleasure to have Bob as our rep!read more
17:05 22 Nov 17
Bob Casey is extremely helpful and always upbeat! He always has our companies best interests in mind, making suggestions to that end and is great at communication. I look forward to working with Bob for many more years!read more
16:15 22 Nov 17
Our Route Representative, Bob Casey, is very conscientious, courteous and extremely helpful. He continually looks for areas we can improve or adjust as our usage and needs evolve, and suggest products as appropriate. Thank youread more