Beyond Environmentally Friendly Lubricants

Buyer Beware!

Two Mining Workers waling with equipment in backgroundMany companies and government entities are moving toward higher levels of environmental awareness and action within their operations. In fact, many of them have created sustainability teams or departments to help guide them to achieve better environmental outcomes. It is vitally important to make sure that all parties are aware of any misleading phrases being used today in the marketplace in order to ensure these teams are actually getting what they expect with their lubricant purchases.

In today’s world, manufacturers are directing their sales and marketing efforts to stretch the limits of misrepresentation when it involves perceived ENVIRONMENTAL benefit characterizations. The industrial petroleum lubricants market has jumped into the pool of ambiguous marketing claims with both feet.

So, you might ask, why are petroleum lubricants, made from crude oil, allowed to make such representations? The answer is fairly simple, it’s a Iack of appropriate industry standards and labeling requirements. In the absence of structured regulatory standardization, manufacturers have almost free rein when it comes to marketing environmental benefits of their products. Typical petroleum lubricants have little to no regulatory standards requirements when it comes to making environmental benefit claims. This is certainly truer in the USA than it is in other countries such as Europe and Canada.

Let us look at some of the most common meaningless marketing nomenclature:

  • Environmentally Friendly
  • Environmentally Sensitive
  • Environmentally Beneficial
  • Environmentally Preferrable
  • Environmentally Safe

These and others like them are nothing more than marketing “Catch-Phrases” intended to give a perceived environmental benefit. In reality, they have no scientifically accepted standard definition and certainly no place in any regulatory structure and by extension marketing claims. The phrase and backing documentation you should be looking for is “Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants”. Since the environment is fundamentally a science-based arena, it only makes sense that true benefits be based in science. At BioBlend Renewable Resources we do just that.

Our lubricants are formulated to adhere to proven scientific principles and accepted test methods that truly benefit the environment as represented. Our product chemistries are designed to mitigate the potential for negative impact in the event of a release into the environment. They also meet the standards set by the US EPA for “Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants” as defined in EPA 800‐R‐11‐002 November 2011. Additionally, be sure to review the product’s data sheet or technical data sheet and look for the various tests Like OECD 301B for Biodegradability % and ASTM D6866 for Bio-based Content % among others.

So, if your corporation has made the all-important decision to procure and utilize products that truly help minimize adverse environmental impact, do not be fooled by just a few meaningless words on a sell sheet or label. Do the research and make sure your decisions are based on proven science, not just feel good marketing.

Here are a few of the terms you should look for when searching for an Environmentally Acceptable Lubricant :

  • EAL
  • Environmentally Acceptable Lubricant
  • Biobased – derived from naturally occurring plant-based oils
  • Biodegradable with an identified test result % greater than 60
  • Toxicity with a standardized test result of greater than 1000 mg/l
  • Renewable and Sustainable formulations greater than 65% content
  • Non-bioaccumulative

Hopefully, this article has provided some food for thought in your search for industrial lubricants that offer true environmental benefits.

Contact us at BioBlend, www.bioblend.com to find a complete line hydraulic fluids, rock drill lubricants, gear oils, specialty lubricants and greases that yield high performance AND environmental benefits based on science.

Remember, just because someone claims biodegradable or something akin to environmentally friendly does not necessarily make it so!!