WEST SYSTEM: How to dispose of epoxy safely
It’s very important to dispose of unwanted epoxy safely. Fortunately, disposing of PRO-SET® and WEST SYSTEM® epoxy is easy if you follow our advice.
We recently heard from a customer who had tried to flush some uncured epoxy down the toilet. However, it didn’t flush away and instead stuck to the bottom of the bowl, where it cured under the water. The customer then tried to chip it off with a chisel… but unfortunately this didn’t work either and he ended up breaking the toilet bowl completely!
They’re certainly strong, these WEST SYSTEM and PRO-SET epoxies!
Disposing of epoxy safely actually begins while you’re working on a project. You need to ask yourself the following three questions:
1: How much resin do I need?
It may sound obvious, but not having to get rid of epoxy is easier than having to get rid of it. So the first step in disposing properly of your epoxy is to decide how much you will need for your project before you start and then mix your resin and hardener in small batches.
2: Can I collect spills for later?
If you do accidentally spill some or it leaks, try to collect this so that you can use it later. (If you use a solvent to clear up a spill, it’s best to check the solvent guidelines first. Never release epoxy resin, hardeners or solvent contaminated waste to the aquatic environment, into drains or watercourses or onto the ground.)
3: Do I really need to dispose of the epoxy?
If you finish a job and you still have some epoxy left in the can, it’s also wise to question whether you really need to get rid of it; after all, unused resin and hardener both have a long shelf-life. If you still have a decent amount left in the container, you could keep it for use on future projects.
However, if you’ve done all of these things, here’s how to dispose of PRO-SET or WEST SYSTEM epoxies safely:
How to dispose of epoxy resin safely
1. Make sure your epoxy was mixed correctly. If the resin and hardener are combined at the right ratio, cured epoxy isn’t hazardous.
2. Ensure unwanted epoxy is cured and containers are empty. Ensure unwanted leftover epoxy resin is fully cured before you dispose of it. 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.
3. Dispose of cured epoxy and containers in your normal waste. Once you’ve followed steps 1 and 2, everything should be able to go in the bin.*
Tips for draining a container
If you need to drain a container before disposing of it, remember that 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– even though WEST SYSTEM products are low toxicity, pots of curing epoxy can still give off hazardous fumes and create enough heat to ignite nearby combustibles.
*Check local waste regulations
The regulations on hazardous waste differ depending on where you live, so be sure to check with your local government for more detail. If you’re in the UK, make sure you contact your local council or go online to find out the relevant legislation on disposing of hazardous waste.
For more information about using or disposing of epoxy resin safely, or to speak to one of our experts, visit the west system international support page.
Looking for other tricks of the epoxy trade? Check out all of our Trade Secrets..