Step by step towards a sustainable future.
For a company that takes a long-term view of the future, the effort to replace a hazardous substance with a better alternative is a significant step towards a sustainable and competitive future. The Swedish Centre for Chemical Substitution offers support for every step up the substitution staircase.
Step 1 – Structuring chemical efforts
The first step involves creating a system for conducting a regular inventory of chemicals used, but also of the chemical elements present in the materials or goods manufactured or purchased. Companies that want to stay a step ahead of competitors need to keep track of what substances may need to be replaced.
Step 2 - Identifying any hazardous substances
The second step calls for identifying the hazardous substances present in products or manufacturing processes. The inventory clarifies the chemical risks in the company, depending on factors such as type of material or group of products.
Step 3 - Evaluating alternative substances to replace the hazardous substances
Based on the identification, an inventory is then made of alternative solutions for the unwanted substances in a third step. This situation may involve changing technologies or finding a substitute chemical with the same function as the previous one. To do so requires more in-depth analysis. Only then can you choose a replacement alternative. For trading companies, it may be necessary to establish new standards for suppliers. This can take the form of restriction lists, which are lists of substances not allowed in the purchased goods, and requirements for substances that may be present (positive lists).
Step 4 - Developing and implementing a sustainable alternative
When an alternative substance or technique is chosen, a pilot test needs to be conducted. Then the results and the organisational changes resulting from the alternative solution need to be assessed. If the outcome is positive, you can start applying the solution on a larger scale and gradually seek further improvements. Implementing an identified alternative in an industrial environment is often considered a critical part of the substitution process. If you lack expertise in developing a new substance, outside help is available, and sometimes you can also co-finance projects with other companies that need the same solution.