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Solvent Management Plan: more than an obligation, a duty for the health of all

11 May 2020
Article by Sónia Ferreira, Project Manager of Environmental Services at INEGI.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are present in several products used in our daily lives, namely, perfumes, solvents, paints and glues.

The emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere affect the quality of the air we breathe and can cause significant risks to human health and the environment.

For this reason, the use and disposal of organic solvents is subject to a set of legal requirements related to health, safety and environment issues. In Portugal, it is Decree-Law no. 127/2013, of 30 August, which establishes the industrial emissions regime applicable to the limitation of the emission of volatile organic compounds resulting from the use of organic solvents, as well as the rules intended to avoid or reduce emissions to air.

In this context, the Solvent Management Plans (PGS) are an obligation of the operators of the facilities covered by this diploma and must be delivered to the competent CCDR by April 30th of each year (in 2020, exceptionally, until June 30th) . These plans essentially aim to:

  • verify compliance with the limit values for waste gas emissions, diffuse emission values and limit values for total emission, as applicable
  • identify future emission reduction options
  • ensure the provision of information to the public on solvent consumption and solvent emissions

  • Some of the activities covered by their solvent consumption thresholds in Part 2 of Annex VII are: vehicle coatings, metal, plastic, wood, textiles, fabrics, paper and leather, shoe manufacture, production of mixtures for coatings and varnishes, manufacture of pharmaceutical products, printing, rubber processing, surface cleaning, vehicle refinishing, etc. Dry cleaning activity is subject to the obligations of this legislation regardless of solvent consumption.

    The target sectors of activity are laundries, printers, footwear, textiles, clothing, wood, paints, pharmaceuticals and tanneries, vehicle coating and refinishing.

    Not only because it is a legal obligation, but also because it is an activity with a great impact on the collective well-being of all, companies in these sectors must act responsibly and pay extra attention to the way they manage use solvents.

    In this area,companies can find in INEGI a partner to support them in the definition of actions to be implemented to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds. Actions that can pass through the containment of fugitive emissions, changes in products and substances used, and even the adoption of cleaner technologies.
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