Posted on Wednesday 17th January, 2024

Is Your Trash ESD-Safe?

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An ESD-protected area, also known as an EPA (electrostatic protected area), is designed to minimize the risk of damage caused by static discharge during the manufacturing of electronic devices. While manufacturers of static-sensitive devices make efforts to control static during handling, assembly, and transporting, it is easy to overlook the waste that is tossed into the trash.

Companies and electronic engineers have thoughtfully implemented grounding systems, ionization, and dissipative surfaces in the work environment only to outsource the cleaning to an uninformed custodial crew. Audits can be useful to assess whether floors and table surfaces are cleaned and maintained properly, but garbage is not part of the ANSI/ESD S20.20 program, so it may be overlooked during inspection.

Managing garbage waste is as vital in preventing ESD damage as it is to managing any part of a S20.20 program. Consumer trash cans are insulators, so ESD-safe wastebaskets are essential. Since ESD-safe wastebaskets are qualified before accepted into an EPA, anti-static liners should also have the same consideration. When EPAs are originally set up, anti-static waste liners might be initially ordered and used. However, over time, if purchasers order the cheapest trash bags available or custodial staff do not use designated liners, anti-static trash bags are replaced with these over-the-counter products that are damaging.

Why are anti-static liners and baskets important?

Consumer trash bags are made with polyethylene — an insulator that generates a high charge. Even when using ESD-safe wastebaskets, tribogenerated charges from consumer trash bags can stay with the liner and not dissipate. As debris is tossed into the garbage and the liner is lifted out of the can, the static generated can cause an ESD event.

Good housekeeping and consumable control should be part of every static control and FOD prevention program. Using ESD-safe wastebaskets and anti-static liners together will suppress and minimize electrostatic charges and eliminate foreign object damage. Residual charges will travel through the can and onto the grounded conductive or dissipative floor ensuring a static-safe environment. To promote best practices, ACL Staticide offers ESD Wastebasket and ESD Wastebasket Liners for the conscientious manager.

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