The benefits plastic provides to human society are immeasurable. However, by-products from this synthetic material pose significant health risks to the environment. Most plastic found in streams and waterways come from consumer-based products such as bottles or containers. But some of this litter can be attributed to raw material generated by factories manufacturing plastic-based products.
Plastic takes on many forms, including dust particles, which are generated through handling, conveying or processing larger plastic material at manufacturing facilities. The large quantities of plastic dust produced at these plants pose a significant environmental risk if not properly contained. Following some of the tips below will help minimize the amount of plastic-based dust leaving the workplace:
Maintain equipment: Keep cutting equipment in good condition and store plastics in well-maintained containers.
Quality assurance: On conveying systems, include long sweep elbows and avoid blowers. This will minimize the chances of plastic objects colliding with hard surfaces, which in turn will decrease the amount of plastic dust generated.
Employee awareness: Promote maintenance and housekeeping procedures as well as proper handling and process methods that will help minimize the presence of plastic dust in the facility. Make sure employees are aware of the proper procedures for cleaning up dust spills in and outside the plant.
These tips will go a long way in reducing plastic dust accumulation. However, high quality dust collection systems are the best way to reduce build up. Make sure the equipment is appropriately sized to handle the amount of dust generated by your facility. Also make sure to:
– Clean and replace filters as needed.
– Maintain equipment as directed in the operations manual.
– Store captured dust in high quality containers.
– Comply with federal, state and local regulations relating to dust collectors for plastics.
Perhaps even more important than collecting the plastic dust is properly disposing it. When exploring disposal options, make sure to consider materials that might have been in contact with the collected dust particles and if any additional removal requirements need to be taken. Reviewing the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for each plastic used in the production process should provide information regarding proper disposal practices.
Plastic product manufacturers are not the primary source of the dust polluting the world’s waterways. But they are contributing to the problem. Therefore, it is the responsibility of these companies to minimize their impact on the environment by properly containing plastic byproducts with a high quality dust collection system.