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Application of Recycling to Waste From Refinery Industry

Recycling is the process of making waste materials from industries useful through re-using. Recycling in the refinery industry; helps to conserve the environment as these industries produce wastes like gases which if not properly managed, pollute the environment and human existence in particular. The wastes from refinery industries form a problem because when inappropriately disposed of; they can explode, corrode, react to or act like toxins, posing a threat to the environment and causing damage to the ecosystem supporting life that includes; water, land, and the air. These wastes kill marine life in the rivers and other water bodies when released into them. The gases produced destroy the ozone layer resulting in climate change thus droughts and famine in the world due to the lack of rainfall (Porter, 2002) (Tierney, 2006) (Guilan, 2008).

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The nature of the wastes to be recycled varies from more to less hazardous forms. For instance, in some refinery industries, the amount of hazardous solid waste produced is estimated to be 55units out of a total of 4061 units of waste produced. Most of the hazardous waste is generated from gas extraction; while the less hazardous or non-hazardous waste is produced from the activities involved in oil production. The waste materials produced; should be characterized according to their origins of supply, classes, categories, industrial activities, and weather; they are in solid, gaseous, or liquid form (Lavee, 2007).

Different methods are used in the recycling of waste materials from refinery industries; among them being, where waste containing sludge is separated into oil and water content through heating or subjection of the two contents to heat; in order to come up with coke and cooking liquid. The main purpose of water is to satisfy the coking cycle; sludge that is denser settles at the bottom of the storage tank, leaving the less dense compounds above. This method is helpful in generating a less volatile coke compound. During this process, the fumes produced are polluting the environment; and are also capable of harming individuals exposed to them. This process is expensive, as a lot of heat energy is required to separate the different compounds. On the other hand, this method prevents waste oil from contaminating water; which directly pollutes the water bodies to which they are channeled. This process is also helpful; in the formation of less volatile coke; and still producing big amounts of sludge (Gunter, 2007) (Harlow & Morgan, 2002).

Large volumes of wastes are produced by refinery industries making it difficult to recycle them. As a result, their recycling process is expensive; thus the industries may result in inappropriate waste management that results in pollution. These expenses are associated with the extensive coking machines and large furnaces required; making the overall process costly. On the other hand, recycling creates job opportunities for the persons who are employed in running these recycling plants; as well as delaying the losses that would result from the exhaustion of these resources, due to their overuse. The other advantage of recycling is that; it consumes less energy compared to that used in producing fresh resources. As a result, the overall expense and costs incurred on energy provision are reduced (Bonnie, 2006).

The reason for the failure of recycling mechanisms; results from the polluting effect of gases produced during this process; the high costs involved; and the unfelt reduction in improper waste management. Due to this phenomenon; it is evident that a way forward needs to be implemented to realize the full potential of waste recycling. As a corrective measure; environmentally friendly and resource-saving technologies, need to be employed in helping reduce the far-reaching effects of disposing of useful waste. Attempts to achieve full recycling of hazardous waste; should be made to reduce the instances of pollution that result from their release. However, environmentally friendly recycling methods should be sought; in ensuring that only those methods that consume less energy while producing less smoke should be adopted. Finally, refinery industries should come up with strategies to recycle and properly manage all the recyclable wastes (Vigso, 2004).


Bonnie, D., 2006. Rewarding Recyclers, and Finding Gold in the Garbage. New York: New York Times.

Guilan, C., 2008. Reusing and recycling. Heineman Educational Books.

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Gunter, M., 2007. Do Economists Reach a Conclusion on Household and Municipal Recycling? PDF

Harlow, R. & Morgan, S., 2002. Garbage and recycling. Kingfisher Press.

Lavee, D., 2007. Is Municipal Solid Waste Recycling Economically Efficient? Environmental Management. Green Design Institute Publications.

Porter, R., 2002. The economics of waste. Resources for the Future.RFF Press

Vigo, D., 2004. Deposits on single-use containers – a social cost-benefit analysis of the Danish deposit system for single-use drink containers. Waste Management & Research 22 (6): 477.

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