The nonwovens industry is abuzz. The final EPA ruling is that contaminated nonwoven wipes will be excluded from the definition of hazardous waste. While the wipes will still need to be managed appropriately and stored properly, companies will see significant savings in their hazardous waste disposal fees. This opens the door for many wipes companies to amp up their production of industrial wipes.
So far, according to Karen McIntyre’s October 2 article in Nonwovens Industry Magazine, 12 states (including our state of North Carolina) have adopted the ruling with 25 others expected to implement it soon.
With these changes, the nonwoven wipes market will now be on a more level playing field with laundered industrial wipes. Nonwoven industry proponents have long argued that there are hidden costs—including rental fees, transportation costs, replacement and disposal—in laundered shop towels that make them anywhere from 18-28 cents per use. Nonwoven wipes, on the other hand, average about 16 cents. With single-use wipes eliminated from the hazardous waste rules, more businesses should be open to the cost savings industrial wipes represent.
Approximately $18 million in regulatory costs will be saved due to the ruling in addition to between $3.7 and $9.9 million in pollution prevention, waste minimization and fire prevention.
Now, it’s time to educate industries on the effectiveness of nonwoven wipes. Because wipes can be engineered with specific chemistries, functions and absorption/release rates, they are often more effective than laundered rags. Even better, nonwoven manufacturers can engineer a variety of wipes for very specific functions.
The industrial single-use wipes market is poised for a revolution. We’re in. How are you preparing your business to take advantage of this new opportunity?
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