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NextGenChem helps Preston cleaning specialist improve product sustainability to EU standards

NextChemGen EU Ecolabels

A cleaning and disinfectant company based in Preston, that specialises in manufacturing of janitorial and livestock products, has achieved EU Ecolabel eligibility with the help of NextGenChem.

The manufacturer aims to improve the sustainability of its products and packaging while keeping the improvements cost-effective, but to achieve this required chemistry expertise not present in-house.

The NextGenChem hub was able to support them through green chemistry and ecolabel solutions while remaining a cost-effective solution for the SME.

NextGenChem experts performed a technical assessment of the 16 products in question in order to determine the potential for applying for an EU Ecolabel. These criteria ranged from human toxicity, to biodegradation through to packaging topics. Therefore a thorough understanding of each criteria from the regulations was needed. The process included NextGenChem 'green' chemists breaking down the formulations and its sustainability experts reviewing their eligibility to apply for internationally recognised ecolabels. Each of the 16 products were ultimately categorised into one of three groups:

  • Group 1 – Eligible as is. All data, testing and labelling requirements fulfilled
  • Group 2 – Eligible, subject to fulfilling outstanding data, testing and/or labelling requirements
  • Group 3 – Not eligible. Changes to formulation/design required.

This categorisation aimed to support the manufacturer in their certification efforts by identifying the products that require further work or supporting evidence and which products were ready to proceed to the application process. With these improvements, the company is expected to gain a competitive advantage in the market. The EU Ecolabel is one of the first (and arguably) most successful environmental labelling initiatives available. The label applies a binary awarding system (pass or fail) whereby certified products are considered the ‘best in class’. The SME supported by NextGenChem wanted to demonstrate that their products were among the best on the market, environmentally. EU Ecolabel certification allows them to do this as it is independently awarded and verified.

Keel Heubner, NextGenChem Project Manager (Yordas Group) said: “Our sustainable chemistry expertise can help you understand and improve the environmental impacts of your products."

The NextGenChem team found the project to be well formed with a clear goal to assist the company to move towards achieving EU Ecolabels, which can also become a valuable marketing tool for its products. NextGenChem is a Lancashire-based Hub for chemistry innovation. Its mission is to help local businesses develop next-generation technology solutions, improved products and novel materials. The programme is co-designed between Lancaster University and Yordas Group to address the R&D challenges of 300 Lancashire-based SMEs involved in chemicals production and usage such as in the aerospace, automotive, energy, applied healthcare and life sciences sectors. 

Are you a manufacturer or retailer interested in communicating your sustainability efforts through product labels? Do you want to showcase your product’s environmental features to differentiate yourself from competitors? Do you want to learn how to validate environmental claims on your products? If so, join NextGenChem experts on Thursday 8th September 2022 to find out more.

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