Trade Secrets: TRADE SECRET: How to dispose of epoxy resin safely
Getting rid of PRO-SET® and WEST SYSTEM® epoxy resin is straightforward if you follow these simple guidelines (and if you waste as little as possible in the first place…)
Not having to dispose of epoxy is easier than having to dispose of epoxy – so it’s always a good idea to try and minimise waste while you’re working. It helps to use epoxy resin in small batches. And if you spill some or it leaks, try and collect it to use later. (If you use a solvent to clear up a spill though, your epoxy may become hazardous – so check the solvent guidelines carefully and don’t release any toxic waste onto land or into water.)
Similarly, if you finish a job and you still have some epoxy in the can, ask yourself if you really need to get rid of it. Unused resin and hardener both have a long shelf-life. So if there’s a still decent amount in the container, hold on to it for future projects – you never know when it might come in handy.
And if you’ve been working on a large job (or just been slightly absent-minded) and have two or more cans open of the same PRO-SET or WEST SYSTEM epoxy or hardener, it’s fine to combine them. Simply puncture a corner of one of the containers and drain it into the other.
If you’ve done all of these things but do definitely need to dispose of PRO-SET or WEST SYSTEM epoxies, though, here’s what you need to know:
- As long as it’s completely solidified and was made using epoxy resin and hardener combined at the right ratio, cured epoxy isn’t hazardous, so you can dispose of it with the rest of your normal waste.
- If you want to get rid of a used epoxy container, make sure it’s as empty as possible – ideally containing no more than 3% of the total capacity.
- Containers drain more easily when they’re warm, so leaving a can in a warm corner of your workshop can help with the draining process. Take care though – pots of curing epoxy can give off hazardous fumes and create enough heat to ignite nearby combustibles, so make sure your epoxy has totally cooled and cured before moving a can to a warm area.
The regulations on hazardous waste differ depending on where you live, so check with your local government for more detail. If you’re in the UK, make sure you know the relevant legislation on disposing of hazardous waste.
And for more information about using or disposing of epoxy resin safely, contact the team at West System International