How to recycle hydraulic hoses - Best Practices for used hoses or end cuts

Discussion in 'Composite Waste Best Practices' started by Andy, Oct 18, 2013.

  1. Andy

    Andy Administrator Waste Min Publisher 2013 Industrial Waste Survey Participant

    Editor's note: After doing some pretty significant research and talking to technical and product folks at four of the major hydraulic hose manufacturers (and others related to the rubber crumb recycling, fuels blending, etc) I arrived at the below. If anyone has experiences or ideas to add to the discussion, please add and help the discussion!

    Steel braiding currently prevents conventional recycling or upcycling...


    Hydraulic hose is similar to tires in composition in many ways, but has far more steel throughout due to the braided reinforcement. If you're talking just low-pressure nylon-reinforced hose, that can be recycled just as a tire is. But that steel braiding makes it essentially impossible for bulk, metal-free rubber crumb to be harvested from hoses... and this eliminates many of the recycling/upcycling options that you see available for used tires (ie modified asphalt, playground surfaces, etc).

    There are some "low-tolerance" upcycling options for rubber crumb which still has some steel content, classified as "#5 crumb rubber" in the recycling industry. Unfortunately, those products and applications have failed in testing (such as railroad tie insulators) or are still under development. There is great research being done on using rubber crumb as an aggregate in asphalt and concrete, but the technology is still too early... and then we're still back to the metal content issue.

    BUT... Hydraulic hose is excellent for fuels blending, including waste to energy incineration and the creation of syngas
    In talking to Joe Schrier, Northeast Territory Manager at Rineco, the largest fuel blending facility in the US, he mentioned that while he "...can not recall ever having profiled hydraulic hoses" for fuels blending, but that hydraulic hoses "would be excellent candidates for fuel blending, and their profile fits very well with what we look for... high BTU content per pound."

    Consider that like tires, the major components of hydraulic hose have excellent energy content per pound:
    • Nitrile rubber: 10,080 Btu/lb
    • Nylon: 13,626 Btu/lb
    • Neoprene: 12,780 Btu/lb
    Fuel blenders consider anything with more than 5,000 btu/lb to be "high BTU", and as shown above, hydraulic hoses are well above that threshold. Consider that prepared coal is10-12,000 btu/lb, and you can why those hydraulic hoses are excellent contenders for waste-to-energy recycling.

    Also, if you're worried about emissions or need to track them for reporting, know that the EPA has measured tire-derived fuel (TDF) and blended fuels to be equal or lower in emissions than the coal which it replaces. It's a win-win all around.

    Four Steps to implement a hydraulic hose waste-to-energy program in your facility
    1) Talk to your waste management rep to understand options and pricing.
    The best place to start to understand your fuel blending options and how to best structure your hydraulic hose wastes may be with the waste company you already deal with... many large, integrated waste services companies have fuel blending operations.

    For example, all of the below currently have fuel blending operations (links below to fuel blending services):
    2) Are there any other waste materials you could include?
    Are there any other suitable, high BTU materials, such as used absorbents, you could include in the program? Joe mentioned, "Absorbents are also excellent for waste-to-energy, and in many cases you can ship the materials to us in the same cubic-yard box." With more than 18,000 Btu/lb dry, you can see why those PIG Mats are a favorite material of waste-to-energy operations.

    3) Collect information of volume, frequency and waste info to fill out a Waste Material Profile.
    To be able to accept and price hydraulic hose waste, the processor needs to know what they are receiving... what contaminants or liquids are present? Is there any free liquid? Is it typically 3" sections of 30' sections? It's typically a two-page document, and the processor can approve future shipment based on the same profile. I attached a sample Waste Material Profile.

    4) Start creating energy from those hoses and stop landfilling!
    After the logistics are handled, you're up and running. It's pretty straightforward after you go through certification and setup, just make sure to record the waste reduction stats for your program!

    Tip: Depending on your volume of hose waste and how you are shipping, a low-speed, high torque shredder may be a "nice-to-have" to reduce volume... and you can use for a wide range of materials. We'll go into more depth on reducing volume of waste, but here's one example:

    Other ideas or experiences dealing with hydraulic hose waste? Share them here!
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014