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Cleaning Urethane, Ink and Paint Manufacturing Vessels - Alternatives to Toxic Solvents in Cleaning Systems. 1997.

In 1995, Raffi and Swanson, Inc. received a $20,000 grant from the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) to examine alternatives to toxic solvents in the company’s cleaning operations. Raffi and Swanson set a project goal of reducing chemical use and byproducts from these cleaning operations by 50%. Raffi and Swanson met this goal, reducing chemical use and emissions by roughly 50% (roughly 46,000 lb.) and chemical byproducts 50% (roughly 200,000 lb.). These reductions were achieved through the implementation of over thirty worker-identified changes to cleaning practices. These changes included redesigning equipment and procedures to eliminate the need for solvent cleaning, methods to increase solvent reuse, and more careful management of solvent distribution and application throughout the site. These changes have saved Raffi and Swanson approximately $18,000/yr. During the course of the project, Raffi and Swanson worked closely with the TURI Surface Cleaning Lab to evaluate alternatives to N-methyl pyrrolidone in the company’s urethane reactor vessel cleaning operation. The Surface Cleaning Lab evaluated seven aqueous cleaners and four semi-aqueous cleaners as replacements for N-methyl pyrrolidone. Two semi-aqueous cleaners were the most promising substitutes but the inability to recycle the cleaners makes them cost-prohibitive.

File Name: Case Study Raffi Swanson 1997.pdf
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