Proper disposal of dirty IPA as far as EPA or hazardous material requirements


I am using mine in a commercial environment. Luckily we already have a company that comes weekly to pickup Acetone, mop water (oil contaminated), ozzy juice, and a few other things, so I just added the used IPA to the list. We get 5 gallon jugs and that lasts me a few months depending on my print load.

I did happen to ask my guy today what the law is. He of course said it differs county to county, but where we are (Los Angeles) it is illegal to dump IPA.


Thanks everyone! I called the local reclamation center and they said we can turn it in there. We’re up in the bay area so it’s probably about the same as in LA.


If you’re looking for tight regulations on the disposal of chemicals, you’re going to find them in California before you find them anyplace else in the US… But on the positive side, at least for consumers it seems California realizes people would pour the stuff down the drain anyway if it cost them anything to get rid of and they give you a place to get rid of it.


It’s a very good thing that California regulates environmentally hazardous substances. It takes a trivial amount of effort to meet those requirements relative to the benefit of doing business and living in this State.

For those who suggest pouring it down the drain, as a few posters have already pointed out: it’s not just IPA. It’s IPA permeated with both solid and liquid resin (gelatinous). Straining out the larger particulates with a paper towel doesn’t cut it. Used IPA should be treated as a hazard; our sewer and water-treatment systems are not designed to process it in any quantity.

The simple solution is to drop it off at your local county toxic waste disposal, which is open M-F and part day on Saturday. Drop off is free and you won’t have to worry whether some part of your IPA residue end up in the ocean or the local water supply.

You’ll notice that FL is conspicuously silent on this topic, which is all the more the shame because IPA is the largest consumable associated with their printer. My guess is that they are well aware of the environmental issues, but for marketing purposes don’t want this topic associated with their business.

If so, that would be a shame. It’s almost always better to be out in front on issues like this. It’s also irresponsible. Given the nature of used IPA and the quantity produced by their customers, FL has a corporate responsibility to communicate environmental risks and instructions for safe disposal.



I agree with most of your points here. To play devils advocate here for a moment, not everyone lives in the big city where a “local county toxic waste disposal, which is open M-F and part day on Saturday” is probably not true. Still not an excuse however, I agree its a toxic substance and sewer systems were not designed to handle it.

Regarding FL’s stance on the matter…or lack there of. While I do not think they suffer from any sort of an image problem at the moment I do think it certainly couldn’t hurt to add something like this to their site:

(that’s their about us page…obviously the 4th link does not exist now…I added as an example)

On such a page they could quickly and easily address the issue of IPA being toxic, contact your local waste management, etc, etc.

They could have links such as (sorry these are U.S.-centric links):


They could also add a best practices for the disposal of resin cartridges, trays, etc.

Just my $0.02


Thanks for your input Padua. All very good points and exactly why I originally posted that question here. It was very concerning to me seeing all these warnings on all the chemicals about the extreme hazards of coming into contact with ground or surface water systems and particularly any aquatic environments. I like my seafood! Just trying to do our part to be environmentally conscious and handle the materials responsibly. And I agree, It would be nice to have FormLabs give information on the proper disposal procedures or some kind of information on the subject. Thanks again for everyone’s input


You guys are awesome, seriously. I am going to take my soapbox and go home now.


Haha that brings me back to the days when I hosted and managed a fairly sizable forum many years ago which occasionally got political.



Depending on my mood, I pour it on weeds, burn it in a pan, or just pour it on the rocks around the house.

So far it seems that broad leaf weeds don’t like the stuff. It does lightly stain concrete; but I suspect it weather off in time.

It’s just rubbing alcohol, please keep the EPA environazis out of the picture.

Go forth and print.


Yeah, but no, it’s not. It’s rubbing alcohol with resin mixed into it. The concern isn’t the IPA so much as that remnant amount of resin in the IPA.


Oh come on, the amount of resin in the IPA is trivial.

By the way I throw CFL bulbs in the trash as the amount of mercury ( a natural element) is about the same amount as the tip of a ballpoint pen.

Whether it be waste IPA with dilute resin in it, or CFL’s; I’m not going to waste time, money, energy and creating pollution just to dump minute amounts stuff that Colonfornia claims will cause cancer, birth defects, 1950’s ‘B’ movie mutations, etc ad nauseum.

The solution to pollution is dilution.

Thanks for your reply.


If you read back through the thread you’ll see I said basically what you’re saying. Just pointing out it is not only IPA that’s going down the drain…


While IPA on its own is relatively benign, other components of the resin may be harmful to the environment and there are better means of disposal that shouldn’t require too much of a time investment on your part. One of the easier methods is to leave your IPA in the sun and allow the resin to precipitate out of the solution. Most of the resin can then be filtered out of the IPA.

We do hire a disposal service given the volume we of IPA we go through though we recognize that this isn’t realistic for all users. We’re continuously working on ways to make waste and consumable disposal easier for customers and more friendly for the environment.


Good point Frew. If I went through lots of IPA I’d consider a different disposal approach; but in my case I only need to get rid of few milliliters at a time. It makes no sense for me to drive 10 - 20 miles to find somewhere to dispose of it like I would used motor oil. The amount of dilute resin in the IPA is so trivial that dumping it on the ground results in the sunlight turning it into inert material.


Just curious about the “few milliliters” you mentioned. Are you primarily printing tiny little parts and then spraying them with some IPA?

I ask because most of us use the tanks which are part of the cleaning station, and those hold at least 2 liters each. So if by few you mean 2000 ml or more, then yeah…

Yeah… not really. I wouldn’t call an 8" cube of resin Jello, “trivial”.


I print parts of all sizes and I use the wash station. I have yet to dump the contents and replace them with fresh IPA. When I do I will dispose of it the way I have mentioned. 2 - 4 liters of IPA with dilute resin in it is trivial. So is an 8" resin Jell-O cube. It’s not like dumping a 55-gallon drum of nasty nuclear waste in a stream or contributing to the resin equivalent of a waste tire dump. It all boils down to a common sense disposal method for the quantity and type of material being disposed of.

Out of curiosity; how do you think the IPA and resin would be disposed of if taken to a recycling center? More than likely the IPA will be burned off and the resin ground up if even that and just buried. That’s no different than my method of letting it evaporate or burn it off and toss the cured Jell-O block in the trash. The big difference is I don’t have to waste time, money, and fuel driving to and from the recycling center.

By the way, you haven’t lived until you’ve had to clean up 5-gallons of hot hydraulic oil used in a tractor off the concrete garage floor because the pan tipped over while taking it out from under the tractor. That’s an all afternoon messy job.


Yeah… not really. I wouldn’t call an 8" cube of resin Jello, “trivial”.

but if you mixed this Jello with water and set it in the sun to harden the resin you would see just how little resin was actually included.


you could probably pour it into a tray and let it evaporate and then send the remains to the dump.


Thanks mjncad for your response!
I’ve just moved to the US for a new branch office of Apknite and I’ve got a couple of bags of paper towels stained with resin and a couple of empty bottles that the resin came in. I tried to find a proper way to dispose of this stuff in the US and your answer help me a lot!


Same here, I use the stuff for weed killer on the interlocking paving bricks on my driveway.