Sustainable Chemical Use

Getting Started with Sustainable Chemical Use at Work



Introducing chemicals into the workplace can offer various benefits, from enhancing manufacturing processes to maintaining cleanliness and hygiene. However, working with chemicals also entails inherent risks that must be managed effectively to ensure the safety and well-being of employees and the environment. Moreover, with growing concerns about environmental sustainability, it’s imperative for businesses to adopt green practices when using chemicals in their operations. In this article, we’ll outline some key considerations and best practices for getting started with sustainable chemical use at work.

  1. Conduct a Hazard Assessment with Environmental Impact in Mind

Before introducing any new chemicals into the workplace, it’s essential to conduct a thorough hazard assessment to identify potential risks and hazards associated with their use, including their environmental impact. Consider factors such as:

Toxicity: Determine the potential health effects of the chemical on both humans and the environment.

Biodegradability: Assess whether the chemical is biodegradable or persistent in the environment, as persistent chemicals can accumulate and cause long-term harm.

Ecotoxicity: Evaluate the potential impact of the chemical on ecosystems and wildlife if released into the environment.

  1. Choose Environmentally Friendly Chemicals

Selecting environmentally friendly chemicals is crucial for minimizing the ecological footprint of your operations. Consider the following factors when choosing chemicals:

Eco-Certifications: Look for chemicals that have been certified by reputable eco-labeling organizations for their environmental performance.

Safer Alternatives: Choose chemicals with lower toxicity, reduced environmental impact, and improved biodegradability compared to conventional counterparts.

Renewable Resources: Opt for chemicals derived from renewable resources or waste streams to minimize reliance on finite fossil fuel sources.

  1. Provide Training and Education on Sustainable Practices

Proper training and education are essential for employees who will be working with chemicals. Ensure that employees receive comprehensive training on:

  • Sustainable chemical use practices, including reducing waste, minimizing emissions, and conserving resources.
  • Proper disposal methods to prevent pollution and contamination of soil, water, and air.
  • Alternatives to hazardous chemicals and ways to promote eco-friendly alternatives in the workplace.
  1. Establish Sustainable Handling Procedures

Develop clear and concise procedures for safely handling, storing, and using chemicals in a sustainable manner, such as managing safety with COSHH cabinets. Key components of sustainable handling procedures include:

Minimizing Waste: Implement practices to reduce chemical waste generation, such as accurately measuring quantities, using spill-proof containers, and recycling or repurposing leftover chemicals.

Energy Efficiency: Optimize processes and equipment to minimize energy consumption during chemical handling and storage.

Pollution Prevention: Implement measures to prevent pollution, such as containing spills, using containment berms, and implementing spill response protocols to minimize environmental impact.

  1. Implement Green Engineering Controls

Green engineering controls are physical or mechanical measures that are designed to minimize environmental impact while using chemicals. Consider implementing the following green engineering controls:

Sustainable Ventilation Systems: Install energy-efficient ventilation systems that minimize energy consumption while effectively removing airborne contaminants.

Closed-loop Systems: Implement closed-loop systems or recirculation processes to minimize chemical discharge and wastewater generation.

Sustainable Packaging: Choose environmentally friendly packaging materials, such as recyclable or biodegradable containers, to reduce waste and minimize environmental impact.

  1. Regular Monitoring and Evaluation of Environmental Performance

Regular monitoring and evaluation of chemical use practices are essential for identifying potential environmental hazards, assessing sustainability performance, and making necessary adjustments. Conduct periodic inspections, audits, and reviews of sustainable handling procedures to ensure compliance with environmental regulations and best practices.



Introducing chemicals into the workplace can be beneficial, but it’s essential to do so in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner. By conducting hazard assessments with environmental impact in mind, choosing environmentally friendly chemicals, providing training and education on sustainable practices, establishing sustainable handling procedures, implementing green engineering controls, and regularly monitoring environmental performance, businesses can ensure the safe and eco-friendly use of chemicals in the workplace.

Prioritizing sustainability not only protects the environment but also promotes corporate social responsibility and enhances the reputation of the business in the eyes of customers and stakeholders.