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Finding Greener Chemicals: A Practical Guide

The word “green” used to be figuratively associated with some unflattering characteristics, such as naivete and envy. Thanks largely to the green movement, the word is now associated with purity — the purity of a natural environment that contains no pollutants and, therefore, is safer for humans, fauna, and flora. Organizations can support this new environmental outlook by replacing toxic solvents with greener chemicals that are better living organisms.

The Role of Green Chemistry

Protecting the environment by finding greener chemicals that replace toxic chemicals is made possible by green chemistry — a relatively new branch of the centuries old science that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines as “The design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the generation of hazardous substances.”

Green chemical formulation has flooded the industrial solvent market with thousands of solvents that are safer than older solvents they are designed to replace. But some of these green solvents offer more safety — or offer safety in different ways — than others. Organizations should carefully choose green chemicals that meet productivity and safety requirements.

Finding Greener Chemicals

For organizations interested in finding greener chemicals, step one is shopping at a chemical manufacturer that specializes in green chemistry, and offers a wide selection of solvents. Once you choose your shopping destination, look for chemical replacements that offer the following seven environmental safety factors that many old generation solvents do not.

  • Biodegradability
  • No SARA or RCRA listed ingredients
  • No ingredients scheduled for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation
  • Low or no VOC percentage
  • “Environmentally safe” or “environmentally preferred” status
  • Use simply requires common sense safety precautions
  • Low or no flashpoint

These seven characteristics typify chemicals that are safe for the environment at large. Available in stock solutions, the characteristics can also be created through the formulation of custom solutions that are specifically formulated to provide high efficacy and excellent safety.

Looking for Greener Chemicals?

Whether you’re committed to finding greener chemicals because the EPA is regulating a solvent you use, or you simply need to increase safety in the workplace, we understand your position. We employ our own green chemistry team to work with organizations in various industries, improving the safety of industrial solvent operations as much as possible, while ensuring the customer maintains productivity.

Sometimes, it’s possible to supply “environmentally safe” solutions that require only the smallest safety measures, such as wearing safety glasses and gloves. Other times, the nature of the solvent application requires a solution that’s “environmentally preferred”, which means the solution is a lot safer than a toxic solution but requires more safety considerations than an environmentally safe solution.

The goal is to supply the safest product without sacrificing chemical efficacy. This is what green chemistry helps Ecolink do. To inquire about finding greener chemicals, please call us today at (800) 563-1305, or send us an email through our contact form. We look forward to presenting you with an array green chemical options that are safer and just as effective as toxic solvents.