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Improving Air Quality in Your Community

Outdoor Air - Industry, Business, and Home: Wood Furniture Operations

You can help wood furniture operations owners and operators reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), volatile organic compounds (VOC), and particle pollution (dust) that may affect shop employees, their families, customers, and the community by encouraging wood furniture operations facilities to conduct these activities:


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Substitute Materials

      How?
  • Use alternative adhesive systems or formulations such as hot melts, hot seal, aqueous-based, or polyvinyl acetate.
  • Switch to less toxic coating types such as high-solids nitrocellulose, aqueous-based, ultra violet (UV)-cured, or polyester/polyurethane.
  • Use aqueous-based cleaners which have lower hazardous air pollutant and volatile organic compound content.
  • Use alternative stripping materials that contain N-methyl pyrrolidone or gamma-butyrolacetone. These are water-soluble, biodegradable solvents.
  • Instead of solvents, use heat to adjust viscosity of the coating. This reduces the amount of solvent used.
      Benefits
  • Switching to a formaldehyde-free adhesive reduces emissions of HAPs and VOC, the amount of adhesive used, and the cost of utilities.
  • Switching coating types reduces HAP emissions and VOC by 25%.
  • Ultra-violet (UV)-cured coating system increases production by 55% while deceasing costs by 17% (Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Center).
  • Eliminates disposal costs from adhesives by having the glue manufacturer reclaim the waste flue and cleanup rinse water used in production process (Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Center).
      Costs
  • Capital costs for any new equipment necessary.
  • Training employees to use new equipment and procedures.
      More Information

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Increase Application Efficiency

      How?
  • Use more efficient paint application equipment to reduce overspray such as switching to a high-volume, low-pressure (HVLP) spray, air-assisted airless spray, or electrostatic spray.
  • Train painters in proper spray application techniques. Proper training, which includes information on gun position, motion, triggering, and overlap, can reduce hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions and enhance the quality of the paint finish.
  • Use a coating method that does not require spraying such as vacuum coating, dip coating, roll coating, flow coating, dry coating, or curtain coating.
  • HVLP spray guns are better if technicians are trained properly. HAP emissions released during a painting operation are directly related to the skill of the spray gun operator.
  • Properly used, HVLP spray guns often result in a higher transfer efficiency, which results in reduced overspray. Reduced overspray reduces costs and worker exposure to toxic emissions.
      Benefits
  • Reduces emissions and the amount of coating purchased.
  • Enhances quality of the product finish.
  • Reduces material required by 8-10% (EPA).
  • Decreases costs by $50,000 to $70,000 per year (EPA).
      Costs
  • Capital costs for any new equipment necessary.
  • Training employees to use new equipment and procedures.
      More Information
  • The Iowa Waste Reduction Center (IWRC) developed the Spray Technique Analysis and Research (STAR ®) program. Exit EPA Disclaimer
  • Read this fact sheet from the Illinois and Waste Management Research Center on spray painting options (PDF). (2 pp, 38 KB) Exit EPA Disclaimer

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Lower Emissions at the Source

      How?
  • Securely cover all materials to reduce the chance of spills when transferring materials.
  • Use funnels or pumps to avoid spills when dispensing materials.
  • Keep glue containers covered to prevent toxic vapors from escaping.
  • Minimize evaporative emissions by using enclosed or mechanical parts washing and gun washing systems.
  • Store rags and towels in a closed container.
      Benefits
  • Using fully enclosed spray gun washers reduces solvent evaporation by up to 50% (Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Center).
  • Reduces emissions and the amount of materials purchased.
      Costs
  • Capital costs for any new equipment necessary.
  • Training employees to use new equipment and procedures.

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Change Cleaning Procedures

      How?
  • Use mechanical cleaning such as scraping or wiping before using solvents.
  • Minimize solvent use by cleaning spray guns in a gun washer.
  • Use water-based detergents or acetone in place of more toxic cleaning solvents.
  • To reduce the frequency of cleaning equipment, arrange light-color to dark-color batch sequencing.
  • Schedule production runs to minimize the number of color changes.
      Benefits
  • Reduces emissions and labor spent on cleaning.
  • Reduces solvent use in cleaning by 50% (Ohio EPA).
      Costs
  • Capital costs for any new equipment necessary.
  • Training employees to use new equipment and procedures.

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Recycle Materials

      How?
  • Reuse cleaning solution or solvent. Use dirty solvent for initial cleaning, then follow with clean solvent.
  • Use an on-site distillation unit to clean dirty cleaning liquid. This makes the solvent available for reuse. An on-site distillation unit reduces the cost of both solvent disposal and fresh solvent purchase.
  • Recover solvents for reuse.
  • Collect and reuse any staining operations overspray.
  • Recycle wood waste and sawdust.
      Benefits
  • An on-site distillation unit reduces the amount of waste disposed and the cost of both solvent disposal and fresh solvent purchase by approximately $100/week to $3,200/yr (University of Wisconsin).
  • Reduces emissions.
      Costs
  • Capital costs for any new equipment necessary.
  • Training employees to use new equipment and procedures.
      More Information

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Upgrade Facility Equipment

      How?
  • Check into purchasing high-volume low-pressure (HVLP) spray guns. Using HVLP spray guns results in a higher transfer efficiency, which yields less coating wasted.
  • State, local, and Tribal pollution prevention offices may have funding opportunities.
      Benefits
  • Reduces costs related to raw materials purchases and hazardous materials disposal.
  • Reduces emissions.
      Costs
  • Capital costs for new equipment.

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