Hazardous Adsorbents, Part 3: Corn Cob

Everybody loves corn on the cob. It’s a staple of summer picnics. What could be better?

Corn on the cob is delicious. But corn cob, used as an adsorbent, is hazardous. For one, it’s biodegradable, which means it will break down and release whatever it has absorbed back into the environment the worst thing a spill containment product can do.

Also, once it biodegrades in a landfill, corn cob will release methane gas,the second most prevalent greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. So corn cob is environmentally destructive on a number of levels.

Consider these facts:

  • Corn cob and cellulose absorbents are “carriers”, which means they carry chemicals pesticides, hydrocarbons, etc. from one place to another, then biodegrade, releasing those chemicals back into the environment. It’s like people who give their cold or flu germs to everybody they come into contact with not desirable folks to have around!
  • If incinerated, corn cob will pollute the air with greenhouse gasses.
  • Because corn cob biodegrades quickly, it limits the amount of time someone has to get the used material to a disposal site before it begins to break down and contaminate the holding area.
  • Once in a landfill, corn cob will decompose and pollute the ground with the absorbed chemicals.
  • Finally, and most frightening, corn cob has a low flash point 350_ degrees and is combustible, so it’s an extreme fire hazard.

Corn cob, clay, soybean husks, ground newsprint…while inexpensive, these mineral and plant-based absorbents can add significant volume and weight to the original waste load, sometime doubling or tripling the volume! All of which increases your disposal costs.

XSORB, by contrast, is:

  • Non-leaching, trapping chemicals indefinitely.
  • Lightweight and does not break down.
  • Adaptable: it can be used to condition soil.
  • Safe: non-toxic, not flammable.

It’s also much simpler and safer to dispose of XSORB spill clean up solutions once they’ve done the job. XSORB that has been used to pick up food and other non-hazardous spills can simply be thrown away.

If you’ve used XSORB products on hazardous or toxic liquids, follow local, state, and federal regulations for disposal. Generally, landfills accept non-leaching absorbents. Check with your local disposal site to confirm.

When it comes to choosing absorbents and adsorbents, be sure to select products that are environmentally friendly, and safe as well as effective. Otherwise spill clean up will be no picnic.

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