Rockwood Lithium is the global market leader for lithium compounds and one of the largest lithium carbonate, lithium hydroxide, and lithium alloy, foil, anode and ingot producers. The company is also a worldwide leading provider of special metal compounds based on cesium, barium or zirconium. Ken Brown, Rockwood Lithium's North American Environmental Health and Safety Director, trusts Veolia to dispose of the company's lab packs, organic and inorganic lab wastes, organo-metallic lithium dispersion wastes, and reactive metal wastes, among others.
THE CHALLENGE - Unusual Waste with Special Requirements
"Our waste stream includes organo-metallic and reactive metal wastes, which are water reactive and/or pyrophoric. With the smallest hint of air, they will catch on fire. Organo-metallic products are used in the rubber industry, with a diverse customer base for things like synthetic tires, golf ball covers, and many other applications."
"Our main waste stream is generated by our lithium metal department. As you know, lithium metal can be water reactive, and so how we ship it to our customers and how we handle it is very, very important. Quite frankly, nobody is really willing to handle this waste in North America because of those hazards. Some of Veolia's competitors have experienced fires in their warehouses or burned their refractory units. Most companies are hesitant to handle it as a result."
"I had one situation with a competitor of Veolia, in which I had a cylinder disposal. The competitor required seven visits and six technicians, resulting in cost overruns of around $15,000 — only because they didn't bring the proper resources to handle the job."
Waste Stream Review
“I was really impressed with Veolia's extensive review process. They took this waste stream very seriously. We probably spent four months looking at this material, going back and forth with technical experts, evaluating compatibility issues, and determining the proper packaging technique. We exchanged technical information with technical experts to ensure that we had a clear understanding, that we could meet their needs, and they could meet our needs, satisfying both our needs to store this waste safely."
"Before we shipped our very first load of this highly reactive metal waste, Veolia's service rep for our area came out personally and inspected every drum. We opened them up for that level of assurance, because this was a new waste stream for them, and we wanted to ensure that our packaging methods matched the profile for safe handling."
“I even visited their facility in Sauget, IL, just outside of St. Louis, where I met their technical engineers and was very impressed with all the personnel there. I was there the whole day. Their technical expert was very impressive, and he walked me through his entire waste review process. He showed me how he evaluated different waste streams, how they specifically engineer packaging and handling equipment on their side for special types of waste. I was very impressed with his level of knowledge of our waste streams and his review process, which was extremely thorough."
RESULTS - Waste Incineration
"When I visited Veolia's Sauget facility, I actually got to see some of our material running through the process. Our material is not something you can just dump in bulk into the incinerator. It's very meticulous, very calculated. They walked me through the process, and I was impressed."
Lab Pack Services
“I've found Veolia to be very responsive, especially with lab packs. A lot of times when we do lab pack clean-outs using one of their competitors, it takes me numerous phone calls, and they want to send out their field rep multiple times before they'll even give you a cost estimate. Veolia sends their technician Steve, and he does it in one day. I've literally had cases with competitors where it's taken 6 months to get a lab pack off. They would get me on schedule or send me their guy. Steve comes and takes care of it all at the same time. That's a huge convenience. Plus, you know the waste is being handled properly.”
Knowledgeable, Responsive Representatives
“I'm relying on the comfort level with the expertise and the responsiveness I know I'm going to get from Veolia. Of course, I have no worries or concerns about the ultimate disposal. All of their TSD facilities meet our company's internal requirements, with respect to permitting and risk management assurances. To me, when it comes to waste disposal, it's not so much driven by cost as by level of service, the responsiveness and the knowledge that I know when I call them, they can handle my waste properly."
"Veolia’s field rep is very hands-on. He carefully reviews all of our disposal-related paperwork in the field to ensure that it is accurate prior to any waste leaving the site. Often times, he will even help generate a profile in the field, if needed, which is not common with most waste handlers. I appreciate that level of expertise, having someone always looking over my shoulder, not only with the hazardous waste regulations, but with the DOT regulations as well."
"Our field rep is a big part of the reason I choose Veolia, because of his level of knowledge and trustworthiness. He crosses all my T’s and dots all my I’s. Most companies expect you to have all this done ahead of time – and we do – but he double checks it all. He has all the documentation we need, such as land ban notices, your profiles, everything. If he has a problem with our packaging, or the type of waste we're sending out with respect to compatibility, he will explain the changes needed to the packaging or let you know that he cannot take certain portions of your shipment because of DOT compatibility requirements. This type of review ensures safe transport of the load and provides me with much relief."
“I can't say enough about their field rep. He's a one-house-shop pretty much. When he pulls up in his truck, he has all the equipment and tools he needs. You never have to worry about whether or not he is prepared. My service rep is just as responsive. Anything I need, he responds immediately. When I use Veolia, I know it's going to be done right, and it's going to be done in a timely manner in accordance with the regulations. Veolia gets it right the first time."
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