Toni Trinh

OASE Intern at Boeing Company

  • Industry: Aerospace
  • Project Type: Hazardous and solid waste prevention
  • Location: Gresham, OR
  • Major/University: Chemical Engineering, Oregon State University


Project Summary

Toni Trinh interned for the Boeing Company located in Gresham, Oregon. She worked on several projects that could prevent pollution including:

  • Blast media management
  • Alkaline soap treatment
  • Vapor degreasing alternatives
  • Hazardous waste survey
  • Packaging use reduction and electroplating alternatives


4.5 tons

Reduce Hazardous Air Emissions


252+ tons

Reduce Solid and Hazardous Waste



The recommended projects Toni purposed have the potential to reduce solid and hazardous waste generation by 226 tons and air emissions by 4.4 tons.


Boeing is known for being the biggest manufacturer of commercial aircrafts; defense, space and security systems; and a service provider for aftermarket support. As of 2020, Boeing employs about 145,000 people across the United States and in more than 65 countries. Boeing’s Gresham facility primarily manufactures parts and sub-assemblies that will be used for all current commercial aircrafts and facilities. They are currently diverting the majority of their solid waste from landfills and are working towards reducing the amount of hazardous wastes that are produced.


Blast media are small, sand-sized beads used to remove paint or contaminants on various airplane parts. The blast media can be recycled and used for other purposes such as roads. Trinh finalized procedures for managing spent blast media and her recommendations are being implemented.
  • Annual cost to implement and savings are minimal; 27 tons of solid waste is being prevented annually

Alkaline Soap is used to clean airplane parts and the solution/product is considered hazardous by the EPA due to its high pH. The Gresham facility produces about 223 tons of hazardous waste from alkaline soap. Trinh recommended treating the alkaline soap onsite.

  • Potential annual savings is 50%; the annual hazardous waste reduction is 201 tons

Vapor degreasing is a common method for cleaning parts and the current chemical used for degreasing is perchloroethylene (perc). Perc is identified as a carcinogenic material and may be restricted for use. Trinh explored alternative chemicals and methods to vapor degreasing and recommended switching to aqueous degreasing which would be more environmentally friendly and safer for operators.

  • Potential annual savings high; annual hazardous waste reductions 4-5 tons; air emissions reductions 4.5 tons

Rotable packaging is packaging that can be used multiple times prior to disposal. This facility uses rotable packaging for their large parts and they are looking to expand the system to their small and medium size parts. Tons of single use packaging material is used annually. Trinh recommended they use rotable packaging for all parts.

  • Potential implementation costs are minimal; potential annual solid waste reduction is 960 yards of cardboard

A zinc nickel solution is used for electroplating airplane parts and the solution is considered hazardous according to the EPA due to its pH and carbonate content. The solution is cooled down to allow the carbonates to settle out and then the pH is lowered to create a non-hazardous solution. Trinh’s recommendations are in progress.

  • Potential implementation costs are moderate; preventing 19 tons of hazardous waste could be achieved

(Left) Toni Trinh gained valuable hands-on experience at Boeing including repelling off the side of a plane. This gave her a unique insight into what it is like for workers who repaint jumbo jets.