Sorbent Information

Melt-Blown: Melt Blown polypropylene is produced by melting resin and blowing long fibers randomly onto a collector producing a non-woven fiber. It resembles mashed cotton candy fibers. This product is widely used for emergency clean up, catching drips from machinery and is considered the economy version. It is a basic tool to address common issues where tight requirements are not required.

Sonic-Bonded: This mainstay of the sorbent industry is constructed from a single layer of high-quality, uniform polypropylene fibers “sonically” bonded together. This process creates dimples that add strength and reduce linting. Pound for pound, this product offers the greatest absorbency of the melt blown family.

Anti-Static: Prosorbents™ Anti-Static pads and rolls pass NFPA 99 standards and Meets Mil-STD-301C, Method 4046 for static decay and surface resistivity
This absorbent pad is specifically designed to selectively absorb vaporous flammable hydrocarbon based fluids, such as gasoline and Jet A fuels to name a few. The anti-static additive reduces the possibility of static charge in the presence of volatile fluids.

SMS: Spun Bond / Melt Blown / Spun Bond: This product is used in non-lint applications where tough jobs such as wiping and scrubbing is required. The spun bond outer coverings are made from polypropylene, but made by spinning the fibers into a very strong and thin material. The outer covering does not aid in the total absorption in a significant way, however it allows the user to wring out and re-use the material several times. Once saturated it will also not break apart from the weight of the material. Other uses include lining tool cribs, catching drips, wiping down sensitive equipment that require non lint or to simply wipe off hands.

Fine-Fiber: Precision-engineered and manufactured to maximize loft and absorbency, our premium-grade Fine Fiber melt blown sorbents provide high absorbency. Premium fine fiber covers provide low lint and fast wicking. They are ultrasonically bonded to a high-loft melt blown core. Pads and rolls are perforated.

Cross and Center perforations: Like the perforations in your paper towels, and toilet paper, we add this to the pads if the customer requires them. It allows the user to more effectively use what is needed and save money.

Color: Color of the sorbent is an indicator of its function and disposal coordination.

  • White and Blue is to absorb hydrocarbons only,
  • Gray is Universal and used to absorb all liquids.
  • Green is used for Environmental, Chemical or Haz-Mat, and absorbs all liquids.
  • Yellow is Haz-Mat and can be used for all liquids.

You can use color to help segregate your disposal. For instance, the yellow pads can be used to pick up sulfuric acid and the Green pads used to pick up bleach.

Everyone of us has tried to make something work no matter what it took, believing it will save money and that MacGyver has nothing on us. It might prove that we have the ingenuity of an 80’s TV Star, but we are most likely wasting time and money.

By simply taking the time to survey your area, you should start to notice a few things like:

Slope: Warehouse floors, drive ways, parking lots and natural terrain will show you where the spill will travel. The trick here is not to chase the spill but meet the spill with the products in a strategic location. Drop a golf ball and see where it rolls…

Water Ways: If you are near bodies of water, you will have to take stock and imagine the worse case scenario possible and prepare for it. Have an action plan in place along with adequate material on hand. When hydrocarbon hits the water, it can spread very quickly.

Response: How far and how much? How far will your response team have to go get to a spill, and how much mate-rial will they need to carry. Shortening the response time and having adequate material in strategic locations will allow your response team to adequately and effectively address the spill.

Loose Particulates: Used for damming the spill, and offers great coverage as the responder can broadcast the particulates into the spill.

Socks and Pillows: Socks can be used to contain spills on water or land, and absorbs as it blocks the spill pillows are used passively to absorb large volumes or catch drips and leaks.

Boom: Used to contain spills on water and land. Comes in different diameters and configurations. The two types of boom, standard which the sorbent material is encased within a spun bond material surrounded by polyester netting, rope, rings and snaps. Spaghetti boom does not have the sock material but instead strips of melt blown oil only white material encased in the polyester netting, rope, rings and snaps. The purpose of the Spaghetti boom is to allow water to pass through while catching thick hydrocarbons.

Pads and Rolls: For quick coverage of a spill or to catch drips from machinery and vehicles. The ease of replacement and low cost per use makes this a very affordable solution.

Sweep: To “polish” the water by removing the oil sheen off the water. This product can be used passively or actively. A reinforced Polypropylene webbing allows the product to be dragged across the water or anchor the sweep to allow the water to pass under it.

Snare: Used to capture very thick oil from the water making it into a Tar Ball. Can be used individually by hand or used on a 50 foot rope with 30 attached to drag through the water. Can be steam cleaned to re-use a few times.

Pom Pom: Used to pick up light oils and fuels from the water. Can be used individually to scrub rock, trees and shore lines. Or 30 Poms on a 50’ rope to drag through the water or used in place to catch oils as they pass by in the current.

Spill Kits: Spill kits contain a specific list of products that facilitates the adequate response to a spill or supports an established maintenance plan: Spill kits can be customized to meet the users needs.

The definition of an absorbent is: “a material having capacity to absorb another substance”

If you look at absorbents as a container, you should be able to judge approximately how much something can hold or absorb based on the container size. Absorbents that are made from Polypropylene, Polyester, Clay, Perlite, Peat Moss, Cotton recycled fabrics and other like material are limited to a fixed capacity by their static volume, and do not swell in any meaningful way to increase the volume of the product.

Absorbents such as Polymers and some Cellulose will swell to increase in volume to allow more liquid to be absorbed or solidified. Cellulose absorbs the liquids and pulls into its cells which makes it swell to accommodate more liquid. Polymers such as Sodium and Potassium Polyacrylate, are man made for a specific reaction with aqueous liquids and swell to the designed capacity.

To find the capacity of an absorbent, we have to do some math to determine the volume of the product. But there are few things we need to know:

  • 1728” cu. inches is equal to 1 cu ft. (12” x 12” x 12” = 1728”)
  • 1 cubic foot of space will hold 7.5 gallons of liquid.
  • Volume of a cube (bales of pads, pillows, sweep) L x W x H / 1728” = X cubic feet
  • Volume of a cylinder (boom, socks and rolls) πr²h / 1728” = X cubic feet

First find the cubic footage of the product, then multiply by 7.5 and you have the volume in gallons of the empty container. We are not using empty containers of course, and depending on density, you can figure up to 80% of the volume of the container is your actual capacity or absorbency. However the more dense the absorbent is the less it will be able to absorb.

Volume of a Cylinder

After you find the volume of your roll, sock or boom, you can figure that the sock or boom will hold up to 80% of its total volume.

So if the total volume of an absorbent boom, 5” x 10’ is 1.36 ft.³’,or 10.2 gallons. Then your actual capacity is approximately 8.16 gallons.

V = 2.5²” x 3.1416 x 120” = 2,356.2³” / 1728” = 1.36 ft³
1.36 ft³ x 7.5 gal = 10.2 gallons
10.2 gallons x 80% = 8.16 gal. actual absorption capacity.

Volume of a Cube

After you find the volume of your Pad, Pillow or Sweep, you can figure that it will hold up to 80% of its total volume.

So if the volume of a 15” x 18” x 18” bale of pads equals
2.81 ft.³’or 21.09 gallons. Then your actual capacity is approximately 16.9 gallons.

V = 15” x 18” x 18” = 4,860³” / 1728” = 2.8125 ft³
2.8125 ft³ x 7.5 gal = 21.09 gallons
21.09 gallons x 80% = 16.9 gal actual absorption capacity.

Finding the absorbent capacity by multiplying the weight of the product…..
The problem with multiplying the weight of an absorbent to find the capacity, is that the liquids they absorb will vary in weight. We see on various websites and literature, claims of absorbency from 15 to 30 times its own weight for polypro-pylene absorbent pads.

Using the 15 times its own weight formula and if the bale of pads weighs in at 14 lbs., then we can conclude it will ab-sorb 210 lbs. of liquid. (15 x 14 = 210 )

We know that a “Gallon” is a unit of measure and the volume capacity of a gallon never changes. We also know that different liquids have different densities and weights. One gallon of Water is 8.3 lbs. per gallon and Gasoline is 6.3 lbs. per gallon. So based on the absorbency ratio above, how is it that the same bale of pads can only pick up 25.3 gallons of water but can pick up 33.33 gallons of gasoline.

If the temperature rises above 60° F, the lighter fuels will start to expand and they will start to weigh less per gallon. If one gallon of gasoline in volume is equal to one gallon of water, then how do you get different numbers on bale of pads that does not expand.

Some examples of average gallon weights of different liquids, at 60° F. (FAA Standard Benchmark Temp)

  • 50% Sodium hydroxide  –  12.8 lbs. per gallon
  • Water  –  8.3 lbs. per gallon
  • 30 weight Motor   –  Oil 7.5 lbs. per gallon
  • No. 2 diesel  –   7.15 lbs. per gallon
  • Jet A  –   6.6 lbs. per gallon
  • Gasoline   –  6.3 lbs. per gallon

If the above example is true, then the one bale of pads able to absorb 28 gallons of 30 weight motor oil, has to somehow increase in size to pick up 33.3 gallons of gasoline.

To pick up 28 gallons of 30 weight oil you will need a bale of pads measuring 3.73 cubic feet (15” x18” x 24” bale) and then expand to a 5.2 cubic foot (15” x 18” x 33”) bale to pick up 33.3 gallons of gasoline. We are asked to believe that somehow, a Polypropylene bale that does not expand, grows 9” taller based on a liquid type and weight of the liquid.

However, this method of figuring out capacity is used in factoring budgets and to determine what is required to address emergencies in some of the largest companies and agencies. Which over time, it has proven out that every emergency spill has fallen short of having enough product to do the job.


There has to be some sort of balance between volume and weight of the product. You can’t have such a high loft product that weighs almost nothing. Having a high loft underweight bale may look nice but the fibers are so weak and far apart they will not be able to hold the liquid or even stay together when saturated. And then if the product is so dense and heavy, the fibers will be so close together the capacity of liquid it can handle is restricted.

Essentially, we have to find the product that exhibits enough loft to give us the capacity , and the proper weight of material to give you the strength. Of course other factors come into play such as the quality of resin used, the ma-chine , and the methods of producing the absorbent.

The best method is to ask for the dimensions (L x W x H) and weight of the bale and if it falls with in an average weight of 3.3 lbs. to 4.3 lbs. per cubic foot, then this should be ok for a quick assessment.

29 CFR 1910.22(a)(2) – Floors in your workplace should be, “maintained in a clean and, so far as possible, a dry condition.”


You can see the action word “Maintained in a clean….dry condition”, this is stating that you should have a PM (preventive mainte-nance) in place and this should be looked at every day. Keeping floors clean and dry, reduces the chance of having slips and falls in the program.

Employee and customer slips and falls is very costly and the long term costs of higher insurance rates over several years far out spends the cost of maintaining a simple PM program to prevent such accidents.
Beside the obvious penalties a business can face from what was mentioned above, one of the most over looked benefits of using spill products in your preventative maintenance programs is to improve the bottom line profit of a company.

By using the proper tools and disciplines, you will cut down on the cost of labor, improve productivity and give a sense of pride in your business. It makes a very strong statement to the employees and all who come by for a visit.

You can purchase inexpensive products that would normally be used to address spills related to incidents or accidents, and use them to help keep your work area clean and safe. Some people read the CFR regulations as something a business has to buy and store and hope to never use.
Albeit this is one of the topics that is not on the forefront of minds of many business owners and managers. But it should be. It is one of those expensive hidden costs that can hurt a company that is looking at what costs hit the profit margins.

There are many business that unfortunately make the fateful statement “ Well we have never had an incident”, and all the years of not buying spill products, one incident wipes out everything they believe they saved, and maybe the entire business.

Below are some of the costs of which you should be aware, but keep in mind that “Indirect Costs” are normally many times more expensive than that of direct costs.

Incidents and accidents always come at the worst time, be it bad economies, low sales or tight profit margins. But these are the times where you should protect your self the most, this is when you can not afford a fine or an accident.
The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that slips and falls are the most common cause of emergency room visits. The most fre-quent complaints related to slips and falls are shoulder, back, elbow, wrist and knee injuries. According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), an average slip/fall injury costs roughly $28,000.

This puts a financial strain on individuals and companies alike, since slips and falls are the third largest cause of workplace injuries. Within North America, these injuries lead to approximately 104 million lost workdays each year which translates into approximately $36 billion dollars annually.
The profits you are trying to build now could be gone in a instant if you are not prepared for an accident or incident.

Indirect costs such as:

  • Lost or decreased productivity
  • Administrative costs
  • Overtime pay
  • Replacement hiring
  • Employee morale
  • Slowed work pace due to fear of injury

Direct costs such as:

  • Workers’ compensation
  • Medical costs,
  • Higher Premiums
  • Possible Law Suits and Legal Fees