FAQ sheet – Beneficial Reuse

January 10, 2020

What is Beneficial Reuse?

“Beneficial reuse” is defined by the EPA as reusing a material in a manner that makes it a valuable commodity. Spent caustics are generally byproducts of a refinery or chemical process that would ordinarily be treated as wastes. When beneficially reused without reclamation, the spent caustics are exempt from the solid waste definition and are categorized as a product (or valuable commodity) under the EPA regulations.

What does Beneficial Reuse mean to Merichem?

Beneficial reuse describes Merichem’s use of spent caustics as an ingredient in an industrial process to make a product or as an effective substitute for commercial products, without reclamation. Beneficial reuse also fits within the Guiding Principles of the American Chemistry Council’s Responsible Care® initiative. Merichem is a long-standing member of the American Chemistry Council and shares a common commitment to the continuous improvement in environmental, health, safety, and security performance with respect to chemical products and processes. The Guiding Principles include the recycling of products.

What value does Beneficial Reuse create for Merichem’s customers?

Merichem’s beneficial reuse of the spent caustic, without reclamation, is more environmentally friendly than disposing of the material as a waste. As such, these materials are no longer a part of the customer’s waste generation statistic or reporting.

Our beneficial reuse of caustic streams helps our customers achieve waste minimization goals and eliminates labor intensive waste handling protocols such as manifesting, waste record keeping, etc. Your spent caustic is used as a substitute for other commercially available products or as a feedstock in our other customers’ production processes. In either case, Merichem will use your spent materials in a non-waste, environmentally responsible manner.

­­Are there quality specifications for spent caustic? Does my product quality?

Merichem determines the quality specifications for spent caustics it will accept for beneficial reuse, A product will qualify if it meets the quality specifications as measured by the Merichem analytical methods.

How does Merichem apply the Responsible Care® concept to its spent caustic operations?

Merichem endeavors to be a good steward under Responsible Care® by working closely with its suppliers and its end users. Merichem identifies supplier spent caustics with appropriate quality specifications so that the spent caustics can be beneficially reused in the end-users’ operations as a substitute for a commercial product or as an ingredient in a manufacturing process under the EPA regulations.

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