Most electronic manufacturing processes have an unavoidable amount of hazardous waste, but it is our responsibility to do what we can to ensure we are not producing more than necessary to complete our job.

As our business grew, inevitably our hazardous waste output would grow. Our drive for continuous improvement kicked in and we were on a mission to implement solutions that would allow our business to keep growing without an increase in output.

We are thrilled to announce that Xymox is now considered a “Very Small Quantity Generator” (VSQG) of hazardous waste. This means we are in the smallest of 3 hazardous waste categories by pounds of hazardous waste generated, as determined by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. A VSQG must generate less than 2640 pounds per year, and cannot exceed 220 pounds per month; Xymox never exceeded 220 pounds in any given month in 2020!

Xymox chart showing the total hazardous waste output by calendar year
We strive to maintain a downward trend in the hazardous waste output from our electronic manufacturing processes

How did we accomplish that?

First, this was achieved by huge efforts from our employees, their attention to detail and their commitment to human health and the environment. Second, lots of trial and error.

Screen printing is the backbone of our company and we use silver ink to print conductive circuitry. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), silver is a regulated heavy metal. This means every time a product is screen printed with silver ink, the excess ink that is cleaned off must be prepared for proper disposal. With specialized processing of the clean up rags we have been able to reduce hazard waste, as well as reclaim any residual silver content. Design considerations are also a major part of our continuous improvement in reducing hazardous waste. By optimizing the circuitry design we minimize the usage of silver ink. Our efforts have helped us to use less solvent based ink, which cuts down on the solvents that are being disposed.

We also use solvents to clean our screen-printing screens, these have different hazardous waste characteristics from regular solvents. We have run continuous improvement projects to develop a solvent system that allows us to filter, recycle, and get multiple uses of a batch of solvent rather than using it then  disposing the solvent filled rags. This is called solvent reclaiming, by reclaiming the solvents, we continue to drive our waste footprint down. Xymox now uses 67% less cleaning solvent while maintaining screen quality!

It is important to look at every aspect of our solvent usage to find ways of reducing our use and our waste. We will continue doing everything we can to find ways to improve our environmental impact. Not only does it help our environment but it also saves you money! How are you doing your part?