Written by Andy Potts - Ultrimax - 17/03/23
In a world facing a global climate crisis and the need to protect the planet for future generations, it’s no surprise that emissions reduction is a top priority for government and local authorities. Paint shop managers have never been under more pressure to operate sustainable working practices and take responsibility for the emissions that they produce. Having a robust and reliable VOC reporting process is key to meeting this expectation. In this article, we explain the legal requirements for VOC reporting and how Ultrimax can help you to comply.
Businesses in the finishing sector are required to monitor and limit the VOCs that they consume under the EU’s Industrial Emissions Directive (IED). In England and Wales, this is regulated under the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2016 (EPR). If your annual VOC consumption exceeds 5 tonnes, the EPR states that you must inform your local authority, apply for a permit and comply with its requirements. One of those requirements is VOC reporting as part of a solvent management plan.
Permits are designed to reduce or control your VOC emissions. Sites that exceed permit limits must continually measure their VOC concentrations.
The requirements of your permit will be unique to your business operations. The document will contain details of limits imposed on your solvent emissions and how and when these must be met. For example, you may have limits associated with your production units, such as ‘x’ grams of VOC per item coated. Alternatively, you may opt to follow a solvent reduction scheme (more about this later), with limits imposed on specific substances.
The permit will also state:
If you have a permit, you must submit an annual solvent management plan — a balance sheet that compares the sum of organic solvents that have been put into your coatings processes to the VOC output from the processes. To do this, you need to determine:
If your organisation has a strong commitment to the environment and sustainable practices you may choose to implement a solvent reduction scheme to comply with permit requirements. For this to be successful, you will need to identify a suitably qualified and committed senior manager to take responsibility for the scheme. They will need to:
Businesses of all sizes are expected to limit their solvent use and manage their VOC emissions. It’s the right thing to do for the health and safety of your workforce, for the environment, and for your reputation. Your business also needs to keep track of its VOC consumption and emissions to ensure that it is below the 5-tonne threshold and to be able to evidence this to regulatory authorities when asked.
If your paint shop fails to meet emissions requirements or is subject to an inspection that identifies non-compliance, the consequences can be catastrophic. You may be told to stop production until the problems are rectified. You will undoubtedly face hefty consultancy bills in an effort to identify and remedy the issues. Ultimately, if you repeat offend or cannot control emissions and meet local targets, HSE can shut you down.
We strive to make it easy for our customers to operate in a compliant, sustainable manner by helping them to stay abreast of their VOC consumption, solvent usage and emissions. We offer a range of services, often free of charge, to help you identify any problems with your VOC consumption before they result in you having to stop production:
In many cases, we can offer our clients a free consultation with a complimentary paint shop production flow analysis.
For further professional advice , call our Total Paint Support Team on +44(0)1302 856666 or email email@example.com.
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