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»Your guide through the sustainability jungle«

Sustainability is an important but very complex area. So how can you deal with the issue and everything it entails in a practical way? I have a few tips based around three areas – purchasing, use of lubricants, and waste – which will help you find your way through the sustainability jungle.

PURCHASING – LIMIT AND PHASE OUT
Even at the purchasing stage there are a few rules of thumb you can follow. The first is about buying the right products. There are countless products available today that have less of an environmental impact, and the first tip is to let your supplier help you find the right ones. This matter is particularly important if the products are used in sensitive areas, such as outdoors where a leak or spill could be devastating if the oil is non-biodegradable. What’s more, products that are harmful to health and the environment also affect your working environment – yet another reason to start using more sustainable alternatives.

Another rule of thumb is to limit the number of products, so basically to reduce the range. This means fewer products to handle, which will make your sustainability work simpler. Finally, use local suppliers so that the products do not require long-distance transport to your location.

USE OF LUBRICANTS – THINK SERVICE LIFE
When it comes to actually using lubricants, sustainability is essentially the same thing as service life. Therefore, try to choose products that can be used for as long as possible. Such quality products may also encompass more applications, which means you can reduce the range of lubricants you use. Focus on long-life quality products and you will enjoy fewer oil changes and less handling, and you’ll also save energy. And speaking of service life, obviously you need to keep an eye on your equipment, for example with inspection rounds, lubrication schedules, and regular oil analyses to ensure the products are doing their job effectively throughout their useful life.

Allow me to round off this reasoning with an example. It’s taken from an industrial company that uses about 50 cubic metres of lubricants a year. Analyses have shown that using lubricants more efficiently could save energy in excess of SEK 200,000/EUR 20,000 a year. Moreover, smarter handling could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 43 tonnes. Interested in finding out more about this example? Contact us for further details.

WASTE – REDUCE VOLUMES
When it comes to waste, the most important tip is to reduce volumes, for instance by investing in quality products that don’t need to be changed so often. Another key is to choose the right suppliers, who can take care of the waste in a safe, environmentally friendly way. Also, don’t forget that separating your waste at source is often a profitable idea. It is possible to sell some waste oil, or at least avoid having to pay a cost for disposal. Here too, good handling means good news for the environment, and for your finances.

Niels Højer

Smart Lubrication

Smart Lubrication is a blog from FUCHS where we share our common knowledge about lubricants and lubrication.

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