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Using Magnesium Hydroxide for Acid Streams

My company has a client that has a large amount of impure Magnesium Hydroxide. We are trying to find a potential use for this product. I have read some old posts on this web-site about using mag products for acid streams in the finishing industry. I am wondering if the use of such a product is viable in this industry, and if it is, who would I contact to try and develop a use for this product in the finishing business. Thanks in advance for any help or comments.

Richard Taylor
- Reno, Nevada, USA

Most plating shops have acidic waste which must be neutralized, and magnesium hydroxide is highly useable to almost every plating shop as an excellent neutralizing agent ... the "impure" is the problem :-)

You are a few years too late; I don't know of a single plating shop anywhere who will take another company's waste products anymore. It used to be a wonderful idea to use materials like this for neutralization to conserve resources and promote sustainability, and there were "industrial waste exchanges" all over the country. Instead of one company buying fresh caustic soda [affil links] to neutralize their acid waste, and the company next store buying fresh acid to neutralize their caustic waste, they could buy, sell, or exchange wastes to use for neutralization.

But regulatory harassment of plating shops was stepped up one notch too many, so the shops will have nothing to do with someone else's waste anymore. Nobody is willing to risk being fined, shut down or jailed over something in their waste stream like cadmium, lead or mercury that actually came from someone else :-)

If you can certify the contents and sell them as a valuable reagent you might have a shot; but if you are trying to get rid of a mixed waste product by giving it away or selling it cheaply to someone who could beneficially use it, the law of unintended consequences bit us all: it's simply hopeless anymore. Sorry.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Mr Mooney,

Thank you for the quick reply to my inquiry. Yes, the material is a waste product and 'impure' means that it is approximately 60-65% magnesium hydroxide and 10-15% aluminum hydroxide. You mentioned that cadmium, lead and mercury were problems for finishing wastes, is strontium considered 'bad' too? What types of concentration levels of these metals is considered non-regulatory in the finishing business?

From your response it sounds like magnesium products are used in the industry successfully, and obviously they purchase pure mag products.

Richard Taylor
- Reno, Nevada, USA

Hi. To my knowledge strontium is not regulated in most areas except as part of total contaminants. But that misses the point I was trying to make: the specifics don't matter because no shop will take the chance of putting someone else's waste products into their waste stream anymore. Some shops will not even buy sulfuric acid anymore without testing and certification of each individual drum, and at very best they would not accept your product for free without you providing testing and certification of each drum, which they still might not trust.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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