Veolia Reduces Costs, Increases Sustainability Programs for Avago

The challenge

Avago Technologies manufactures semiconductors and uses a variety of solvents throughout the process. In 2008, the waste solvents were being collected in one primary tank, then transported to be used in a fuels blending program. At that time, a Veolia employee approached the company with the idea of reusing part of the waste solvent by separating out a blend of acetone and isopropyl alcohol (IPA).

The project challenges are:

  • “Veolia had a customer who makes lacquer thinner and wanted to use the acetone and IPA as a raw material,” recalls Jamie Rubin, EHS consultant at Avago Technologies. “We looked at the process and thought it might be feasible, but would require some work on our end."
  • “We have several pieces of equipment that use solvents that Veolia’s not interested in. We rinse those solvents off with acetone, then we rinse the acetone off with IPA. Separating the acetone and IPA required us to install an extensive valve system. The waste solvent goes to our waste tank. Some of the acetone is distilled on-site and a blend of acetone and IPA is diverted to a separate collections system. There is a fair amount of piping that we needed to install for this system to work."
  • “Veolia’s customer requires very little moisture and no color at all in the acetone and the IPA. We were able to meet their specifications. In 2009, when we started the process, about 45% of our waste solvent was diverted to the acetone and IPA collection system. Now, we’re running in the upper 70s for the percentage we divert that goes to acetone and IPA.”

Veolia’s solution

“We’re looking into installing a larger tank,” notes Rubin. “We have a fair amount of handling with all these totes, so a large tank could save us a lot of man hours. Veolia could pick up a tanker with five or six thousand gallons, instead of three totes every week. Typically, we have nine totes on-site, and they are handled a fair amount, placing empty ones and removing full ones. We could free up some space used to store and collect the totes. The safety and environmental hazards are also significantly reduced if we’re not transferring the totes around."

“They work over the holidays, whatever we need them to do. I just receive the paperwork saying it’s done, so it goes extremely smoothly. There are never any problems with the payments we receive from Veolia either.”

Innovative solutions:

  • The acetone and IPA is collected in 330-gallon totes or intermediate bulk containers. Veolia picks up two or three totes once a week. The valve construction project was funded entirely by Avago. They weighed the cost of fuels blending charges and constructing the piping system against the revenues they would receive for the solvents and decided the expense was justified.

Benefits to our client

“CIMS, Veolia’s online report system, is great,” adds Rubin. “I use it to look at our invoices, and also I run several reports once or twice a month. When I have to do the bi-annual report, it’s very useful to have the system available on-site. I can just pull up the information I need. It makes it a lot easier to fill out the reports. It’s also real nice to update profiles and check the profiles of various wastes. We generate new profiles frequently, and Veolia is always really good about helping us establish these new profiles. I’ve been really happy with CIMS."
“We go out for bids every few years. In the most recent bidding, the costs were pretty comparable, except for Veolia having the capability for this recycling program. The other vendors couldn’t do it, even though they knew we were doing it when we went out for bids. That’s why Veolia has the advantage."


  • Another benefit of the arrangement is that the acetone and IPA are not included in the hazardous waste report that is provided to the EPA every two years.
  • Transporting the solvent to another company to be used is considered a beneficial reuse. As a gold member in the Colorado Environmental Leadership program, which is the highest level available, Avago strives to reduce the amount of hazardous waste it ships.