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Veolia closed-loop chemical waste

Challenge

Establish a closed-loop process for pharmaceutical grade solvents.

Problem

Pharmaceutical companies need high-purity solvents for the research and manufacture of new medicines. Disposal of contaminated solvent is via a waste contractor who typically reprocesses it to a lower grade for other industrial applications and it is ultimately disposed of, usually by incineration.

Solution

Environmental services company Veolia and pharmaceutical business GlaxoSmithKline sought to establish a “closed-loop” reuse of industrial methylated spirits (IMS) in a process run at the Montrose manufacturing site.

The project made considerable effort to manage quality and consistency issues and required new facilities to be built on site. Now 1,200 tonnes of waste IMS a year are treated and returned to pharmaceutical grade internally, with further opportunities being examined.

Benefits

Cost savings of £250,000 by avoiding purchase of virgin-grade solvent
A closed-loop supply keeps costs more predictable
Reduced chemical pollution

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