Tightening US chem laws boost sustainable consumer goods - Henkel

18 May 2010 20:21  [Source: ICIS news]

PHOENIX (ICIS news)--Tightening US chemical regulations are driving consumer product goods (CPG) manufacturers to innovate and produce more sustainable products, an official from Dial, the soap business of Henkel, said on Tuesday.

"One of society's responses to global environmental challenges is tightening regulations in carbon emissions, waste, and production and use of certain chemicals,” said Richard Theiler, senior vice president of research and development with US-based Dial.

“The chemical industry is the second most intensive industry in greenhouse gas emissions,” he continued. “Meanwhile, over 232 chemicals are being found in consumers' blood everyday. Bisphenol-A (BPA) is one major concern.”

Regulations such as TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act) reform in the US and the European chemical regulations programme REACH were just some of the regulations that would also impact the CPG industry, he said.

Theiler noted that global chemical production exceeded $16,000bn/year (€13,000bn/year) and that the US imported 74bn pounds of chemicals each day.

"Around 17,000 chemicals have not been identified because of TSCA's so-called confidential business information (CBI). This has become a lot of concern for consumers," Theiler said.

As a result, Henkel was focussing on conducting lifecycle analysis (LCA) of its products to identify where the company could reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce energy and material use, and identify waste starting from raw materials to disposal of their products, he said.

"LCA is a very valuable tool, which would enable us to identify our environmental hot spots, and help us design more sustainable products," said Theiler.

As examples, he cited Dial's foamed hand wash that reduces water use up to 40% compared with non-foamed hand wash and concentrated laundry detergent that reduces plastic packaging use by 53%.

Theiler also noted incoming innovation in detergent formulation technology geared towards sustainability such as biocatalysts and better polymer technology.

"We are also looking at algae, which has the potential to be an effective alternative raw material within the oils and fats category," Theiler said.

Theiler was the keynote speaker at the American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS) annual meeting, which ends on Wednesday.

($1 = €0.81)

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By: Doris de Guzman
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