An Electric Eco-Friendly Rolls-Royce?

April 23rd, 2011

Yes for a  few million bucks you can have one too, at least a prototype. Who would have thought someone with that kind of extra green cash would give much thought to a fuel saving eco-lux land yacht. Well apparently some do. In a 4-23-2011 Wall Street Journal, titled The Face of Green, the paper cited the 6,000 pound, battery operated, e-machine by Rolls-Royce.  The article claims even wealthy auto buyers have a multitude of motivations including being socially conscious and concerned about the earth. Read the full story.

Eco-friendly automobiles will continue be hot new offering from all the auto maker as all income consumer sectors seem to be desiring to be more responsible citizens, buy green and consume less fuel.

But, just how green will the auto buying market go? Will they care about the sustainability and full-cycle of the product they are buying? Will they demand eco-friendly flame retardants that could save their lives and will the release of carbon emissions from auto manufacturers be questioned?

Let’s hope so. Tell us what you think.

  • Share/Bookmark

No Comments »

Manufacturers and Fire Safety Solution Suppliers Work Together to Increase Environmental Initiatives for Planet, Employers and Consumers

October 26th, 2010

Our Green lab from earthwise - VECAP

Meet Danielle Goossens, Global Product Stewardship Director
Meet the EarthWise Team is a series of inspirational and often untold stories about the people behind important solutions, technologies and products that make our lives better and safer every day.

The series presents some of the key scientists and business professionals who have contributed to the development, progress and implementation of the green chemistry products, processes and principles of Albemarle and the Earthwise brand.

Albemarle Corporation, headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is a leading global developer, manufacturer, and marketer of highly-engineered specialty chemicals for consumer electronics, petroleum refining, utilities, packaging, construction, automotive/transportation, pharmaceuticals, crop protection, food-safety and custom chemistry services.

Earthwise™ is a new division of Albemarle Corporation. The brand represents a family of products that follows strict environmental-friendly standards, along with practicing green chemistry principles and include new green fire safety alternatives to existing fire safety solutions.

Albemarle is the global leader in flame retardants. Flame retardants or fire safety solutions that are critical ingredients in many consumer electronic products, as well as the interiors of automobiles and airplanes, save lives and protect property from fires.

A group of manufacturers of flame retardants launched an initiative to raise awareness of best practices in chemical handling processes among the companies that utilize these flame retardants. Let’s learn more about the Voluntary Emissions Control Action Programme (VECAP) from Danielle Goossens, Global Product Stewardship Director at Albemarle, who is based in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

Danielle, tell us about your role at Albemarle and the VECAP program
I am Danielle Goossens and I direct health, safety and environmental issues for Albemarle in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, except for manufacturing plants. I make sure the company is in compliance with the regulations in all the countries we serve. I also manage product stewardship worldwide. Which means I advise customers, who are themselves manufacturers, on the best ways to handle the products they purchase from us and how to avoid any environmental releases.

I received my undergraduate and doctorate degrees from the Catholic University of Louvain (Belguim) in 1979. I have worked mainly in research at the University and at Belgian pharmaceutical companies. In 1992, I joined Ethyl (which later spun off its chemical businesses as Albemarle) as an analytical chemist. I then moved to the Customer Technical Service area and assumed my current role in 2008.

What exactly is VECAP? How does it affect consumers and businesses?
As a voluntary program that promotes best practices for the handling of flame retardant chemicals, VECAP has a rather pragmatic goal: to make sure the customers are using the product safely at every stage. Albemarle and other flame retardant producers together acted on their concerns to limit the possible ways that these chemical products might enter the environment during manufacturing processes. In 2004, the companies launched this pioneering program. It’s highly unusual that the industry developed VECAP on its own, because often government regulators impose these kinds of standards on industry.

The three companies who formed VECAP are Albemarle Corporation, Chemtura Corporation and ICL-IP. Together, they sell to more than 500 customers worldwide. In 2009, the members of VECAP surveyed more than 135 sites in Europe, and perhaps another 100 each in North America and the Asia/Pacific regions. The number continues to grow in 2010, of course. At each company, there are between three and eight professionals (engineers, scientists, technical and advocacy staff) involved in the efforts, as well as third-party independent consultants.

By adhering to the best practices advocated by VECAP in sensitive areas, the makers of the plastic products and components that use flame retardants will reduce the potential contamination of food, air, water and earth. Plus, they limit their own employees’ and, downstream, consumers’ exposure to chemicals.

Additionally, there is a certification component; Bureau Veritas is an independent auditor that will certify a company is VECAP compliant and a seal can be placed on their website and packaging. Albemarle’s Magnolia plant, which is the principal facility in the US that produces brominated flame retardants, has been certified.

Finally, it is important to note the methodology for the initiative is a model that has already been adopted for other products by several chemical companies and can be modified for use by manufacturers in other industries.

How do you work with customers to let them know about VECAP?
We conduct a survey in a face-to-face meeting with the customer who purchases our flame retardant solutions. We ask about certain practices and calculate the potential chemical emissions. We then share with them the best practices and perform a separate calculation for the emissions that would be produced by following these new procedures. In some cases, the difference is astonishing and customers are surprised to learn by how much they might lower their emissions and be eco-friendly to the earth and workplace, while making these simple changes.

For example, the area that can have the greatest impact on emission reductions is the handling and disposal of packaging. Albemarle delivers the flame retardant powder to the customer either in small paper bags or in polypropylene supersacs. The paper bag-type of package holds 25 kilograms. We determined that, in the process of emptying the package, there was a waste factor of 150 grams in each one.

In contrast, we suggest a 1,000 kilogram polypropylene bag, something that is 40 times larger, yet it has a remarkably lower waste factor: compare 500 grams remaining in the large bag to 6,000 grams for the many smaller ones. Customers immediately recognize the impact of the amount of product that is purchased and not wasted:

When it comes to disposing of the packaging, whether paper or polypropylene, we encourage our customers to incinerate the bags or to bury them in a chemically controlled landfill.

In many countries, it does not cost any more to implement this best practice and the payoffs in reduced waste and safer operations are obvious, as is the positive impact on the environment.

Please tell us about VECAP’s other areas of best practices in the next blog post.
That will be my pleasure.

  • Share/Bookmark

8 Comments »

Green in, Green out

July 19th, 2010

In the 1980s, computer programmers coined the phrase GIGO as an acronym for “Garbage In, Garbage Out.” This shorthand referred to the fact that computers are literal and will only process the information that is given to them. Therefore, if the input data is sloppy or inaccurate, the result will be similarly inadequate.

Extending the idea that “the quality of the output is a function of the quality of the input” to sustainable products, the acronym GIGO takes on a new aspect, if not a new definition, and becomes “Green In, Green Out.”

Green chemistry and eco-friendly news and information from Earthwise- GIGO

Green, sustainable and recycled are terms that refer to how the processes, production and distribution of a given item impact the planet. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has developed guidelines so that consumers can better understand how companies invoke claims of sustainable, green and recycled in labeling and advertising the entire gamut of products. The FTC also describes the limitations on such labels and ads, so that consumers are not deliberately misled.

Similarly, “organic” refers to the manner in which the product is grown and processed. Many food items and other products may be labeled as “organic;” and, in fact, there are government standards that govern the usage of this label from The National Organic Program of the US Department of Agriculture. In addition, the nonprofit organization NSF International has its own certification process that labels a product “contains organic ingredients.”

Whether green or organic, many companies have launched new sustainable products and implemented environmentally sensitive processes in response to consumer demand that even the components of complex products, such as televisions and computers, be more green.

In addition, these businesses work with corporate customers and suppliers to promote their adoption of eco-friendly standards.

For example, Albemarle, a manufacturer of a sustainable flame retardant and other specialty chemicals, has developed low-impact manufacturing processes for its chemical solutions. In addition, Albemarle encourages its customers to join the business in participating in the Voluntary Emissions Control Action Programme (VECAP), that aims to eliminate all harmful products from the environment.

Retailers, too, are responsive to consumers and together they are putting pressure on manufacturers to become more green, sustainable and organic.

Whole Foods, known as “the country’s first national certified organic grocer, has launched an initiative to require all personal care items, such as shampoo, bath soap and cosmetics, that are labeled “organic” to be independently certified organic. by June 1, 2011. Any products that do not meet the standard may be sold at their stores, but they will not be labeled organic.

In other words, NGI NGO; Not Green (Ingredients) In, Not Green Out.

Has your company made an effort to use green ingredients in their products? Tell us about it, or write up a post about your experience, and maybe we’ll feature it here at our green lab.

n the 1980s, computer programmers coined the phrase GIGO as an acronym for “Garbage In, Garbage Out.” This shorthand referred to the fact that computers are literal and will only process the information that is given to them. Therefore, if the input data is sloppy or inaccurate, the result will be similarly inadequate.

Extending the idea that “the quality of the output is a function of the quality of the input” to sustainable products, the acronym GIGO takes on a new aspect, if not a new definition, and becomes “Green In, Green Out.”

Green, sustainable and recycled are terms that refer to how the processes, production and distribution of a given item impact the planet. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has developed guidelines so that consumers can better understand how companies invoke claims of sustainable, green and recycled in labeling and advertising the entire gamut of products. The FTC also describes the limitations on such labels and ads, so that consumers are not deliberately misled.

Similarly, “organic” refers to the manner in which the product is grown and processed. Many food items and other products may be labeled as “organic;” and, in fact, there are government standards that govern the usage of this label from The National Organic Program of the US Department of Agriculture. In addition, the nonprofit organization NSF International has its own certification process that labels a product “contains organic ingredients.”

Whether green or organic, many companies have launched new sustainable products and implemented environmentally sensitive processes in response to consumer demand that even the components of complex products, such as televisions and computers, be more green.

In addition, these businesses work with corporate customers and suppliers to promote their adoption of eco-friendly standards.

For example, Albemarle, a manufacturer of a sustainable flame retardant and other specialty chemicals, has developed low-impact manufacturing processes for its chemical solutions. In addition, Albemarle encourages its customers to join the business in participating in the Voluntary Emissions Control Action Programme (VECAP), that aims to eliminate all harmful products from the environment.

Retailers, too, are responsive to consumers and together they are putting pressure on manufacturers to become more green, sustainable and organic.

Whole Foods, known as “the country’s first national certified organic grocer, has launched an initiative to require all personal care items, such as shampoo, bath soap and cosmetics, that are labeled “organic” to be independently certified organic. by June 1, 2011. Any products that do not meet the standard may be sold at their stores, but they will not be labeled organic.

In other words, NGI NGO; Not Green (Ingredients) In, Not Green Out.

  • Share/Bookmark

2 Comments »

Chicken or Egg? Green Processes or Sustainable Products?

July 14th, 2010

Green chemistry and eco-friendly news and information from  Earthwise- green sustainability

You know the joke: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

In the new world of sustainability, the question is: Do green processes come before sustainable products?

Perhaps both are possible simultaneously. As companies expand their operations globally, they implement best manufacturing practices that are eco-friendly and also bring new sustainable products to the market.

In the chemical industry, Albemarle Corporation and BASF are among the leaders in this shift to processes and products that are more environmentally sensitive and promote sustainability.

Albemarle, a producer of flame retardants like GreenArmor and other specialty chemicals, has developed manufacturing processes that eliminate emissions into the environment. In addition, it has implemented programs that reduce carbon dioxide emissions and use alternative sources of energy at their facilities worldwide.

Albemarle also encourages local distributors, customers and competitors to join the company in participating in programs, such as the Voluntary Emissions Control Action Programme (VECAP), that eliminate all harmful products from the environment.

For example, in China, Albemarle’s facilities in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Nanjing all adhere to guidelines to reduce emissions. These facilities also serve as models for local manufacturers who seek to implement modern safety and environmental standards.

One new technology that Albemarle has developed is a mercury reduction process that reduces the amount of mercury emitted to the atmosphere from coal-fired power plants. Specifically, through the use of a new activated carbon injection technology, mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants can be reduced by 80-90% at a cost of less than $1.00 per household per month.

This green technology can be implemented anywhere in the world where coal is a major energy source producing electricity for consumer and industrial markets.

Where the rubber meets the road is the development of sustainable products. BASF is manufacturing sustainable construction materials for participants building pavilions that meet high environmental standards for the infrastructure and edifice at the Expo 2010 Shanghai. These include insulation, paint and flooring; such products represent tremendous potential for the construction of commercial, industrial and residential buildings for the near-term and long term horizons.

As US and European regulators develop stricter requirements, these new standards may be adopted by other nations. By implementing the sustainable processes consistent with these regulations, global companies will ensure that new and improved green products will be competitive in all international markets.

Which means the question will become: What’s next for sustainability, in the US or in China?

And, how can our company develop more green processes and sustainable products?

Ironically, as we were posted this article the nightly news broke an interesting news story.

Chicken-and-Egg Mystery Finally Cracked

  • Share/Bookmark

2 Comments »