Peterbilt Motors Company of Denton, Texas, performs extensive painting. When paints need to be changed each line must be flushed with a specific blend of solvent, containing volatile chemicals. Although spent solvent was being reblended for reuse and the company had reformulated its paints to reduce volatiles, hazardous air pollutants, toxic organics, and metals, the company still needed to dispose of purge solvent as a hazardous waste. Changes to the definition of solid waste to accommodate “hazardous secondary materials”, opened an opportunity for Petrbilt to recycle this waste stream.
The new rule exempts hazardous secondary materials sent for recycling. Peterbilt still had to work to convince recyclers, officials, and others. The process and paperwork was new to everyone. Peterbilt representatives noted that they “had to pave new roads to ensure that we complied with applicable regulations in order to legally claim the exemption”. According to its contact with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Peterbilt was the first to do this work and make the rule work as intended. The company estimates reductions of 940 tons per year in purchased virgin solvent and reduction of more than a thousand tons per year of hazardous waste shipped for incineration, saving $690,000 per year.