New Towel and Solvent Regulations from the EPA

By January 30, 2014Keeping It Green

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New Environmental Protection Agency rules go in effect tomorrow that will affect the treatment of reusable towels.

The new regulations were introduced in July of last year, but they will take effect tomorrow, January 31, 2014. The changes regard the handling of towels and wipes that come into contact with solvents. In short, these towels will need to be separated and labeled differently in order to prevent free flowing liquids from contaminating the environment. (You can find a full list of the regulations and the targeted solvents on the EPA’s website.)

One of the largest industries that will be affected by these regulations is the printing industry. Since large printers need to be cleaned with towels using special solvents and since some inks are solvent-based, most of these businesses will need to adhere to the new regulations.

The reason for the new regulations is that these solvents can exhibit signs of being hazardous material such as reactivity and ignitability. By storing towels that handle these solvents in separate, closed containers, they cannot contaminate other towels or linens that do not require the same special treatment. There are many changes from the EPA to the solvent waste generator requirements. Those using towels with solvents (the generators) not only have to use a closed container but must also perform an extracting method to remove free flowing liquids, and label their collection container with a start date of collection.

The changes are not just for those using the towels, however. These changes also affect the launderers like CLEAN who transport and wash the towels. The new rules specify that the new containers will have to be kept closed during transportation and that any leftover liquids and wastewater will need to be treated according to the existing Clean Water Act.

As always, CLEAN is ready for these new EPA regulations. All of our facilities are ISO 14001 certified for environmental management and we already have wastewater management steps in place. We want to make sure that we are having a minimal impact on the environment, no matter the type of industrial laundry. Plus, we’re always there to inform our customers of new rules and regulations that they—and we—must follow.

For more information about our commitment to the environment, visit our CLEAN+GREEN page or call us at 1-800-GO-CLEAN. We’re committed to improving our planet and the communities we serve one step at a time.

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