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Waste Minimization Program Improves Chemical Spill Clean-Up Efficiency While Reducing Costs by 40%

Can-Ross initiated a Waste Minimization Program for a large gold production company to reduce costs, eliminate carcinogenic products, and improve spill control efficiency. The granular absorbent Can-Ross recommended is 25% more effective than the competitor’s product and could save the client $7,400 annually in waste disposal costs alone.

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Keep reading to learn how we applied our waste minimization program to help one of the world’s largest gold production companies dramatically reduce waste and cost.

The Challenge

blue cans full of chemical wasteThe client is one of the largest gold production companies in the world and employs more than 15,000 individuals worldwide. The company engages in gold mining and related activities such as exploration, extraction, processing, and reclamation.

The client had been using a clay-based granular absorbent for small spills but were unsatisfied with the product’s performance and absorbency. Employees noticed that the clay-based granular required for even a very small spill was significant and concluded that it was not an efficient way of cleaning up small spills.

The disposal costs of the clay-based granular that the client was using were also very high. Not only was the granular expensive but coupled with the excessive amount needed to clean up the smallest of spills, the client was significantly overspending on their chemical spill clean-up initiatives.

The client also wanted to avoid products with carcinogenic properties (any substance that promotes carcinogenesis, the formation of cancer). When the clay-based granular was poured onto a spill, employees noticed a cloud of carcinogenic dust particulate forming as they poured.

The client was uncertain of the human health impact, but to maintain the safety of their employees, they knew a safe, carcinogenic and dust-free product was required.

The Approach

Due to the size and specific requirements of the client, the company needed a program designed and customized for their facility. Can-Ross employed a Waste Minimization Program to address the needs and concerns of the client, which included:

  • Improved product performance and absorbency
  • Lower overall costs, including material and disposal
  • Safe and carcinogen-free

Can-Ross’ Waste Minimization Program included a comprehensive look at the clay-based granular that the client had purchased over the previous two years. When compared to Can-Ross’ granular with a 1:1 absorption ratio, the competitor’s granular absorption ratio of 0.5:1 came up short.

This discrepancy is largely due to how the two granular products absorb liquid. Can-Ross’ granular fully absorbs and saturates itself in the liquid it is poured into, while the competitor’s granular is only coated in liquid.

The Solution

Using a cost reduction analysis, we showed the client how much money they could have saved if they had been using Can-Ross’ granular. Our granular products are a viable alternative to larger scale spill control and clean-up products, such as boomsmatspadssocks, or rolls. Granular was the most appropriate option for this client because their spill risks involve small, isolated spills.

The hidden cost of any granular program involves the disposal of liquid waste, or in this case, absorbent saturated liquid waste.

The average cost to dispose of a drum full of used liquid waste ranges from $125 per drum to $250 per drum, depending on where the user is in Canada and the agreement the user has with the disposal company they’re using. Can-Ross’ costs are on the lower end of that scale because our granular passes the TCLP Leachate test, in accordance with Ont. Reg. 347 criteria. Can-Ross’ granular is also made of corn cob fractions, and do not include any known or listed carcinogens. This is all to say that Can-Ross’ granular product is safe enough to go in landfills, as opposed to hazardous waste facilities, the latter of which are more expensive.

  • On average, a skid of granular absorbent, filled with oil (or other hydrocarbons) will fill about 10 drums.
  • The cost, per skid, will range from $1,250 to $2,500, based on average disposal cost per drum.
  • If the average company disposes of ten skids per year, they will spend an average of $18,500.


cans of chemical waste

Considering that Can-Ross’ granular absorbs 25% more than average, and uses 40% less product, companies could save $7,400 each year in disposal costs alone.

The Result

The client eliminated a carcinogenic product from the workplace and lowered overall costs, all while improving chemical spill clean-up efficiency. The waste minimization formula demonstrated cost savings of up to approximately 40% based on Can-Ross’ granular absorbency ratio compared to the previously used clay-based granular and hazardous waste disposal costs, the latter of which is a hidden cost to any granular program.

Granular absorbents, as opposed to traditional absorbent booms, pads, or socks, was the right solution for the client due to the specificity of its application and the client’s need for a simple, everyday small spill solution.

The company is now fully equipped with all of the products necessary to protect their employees, as well as mitigate environmental impact and cost in the event of a chemical spill.


Can-Ross Environmental Services Ltd. is a leading provider of spill control and containment products and assessments in Canada. Serving the most dynamic businesses in the country, we provide security and peace of mind by identifying spill risks and providing practical and effective solutions to those risks.

Interested in learning more about minimizing waste and reducing costs in your own facility? Contact us!