|Country:||a) Northern Europe,||b) Sweden|
|Area:||City/Town, 100,000 - 1 mill.|
|Actors:||Local government, Economic sector|
|Funding:||Local government, Economic Sector|
|Objectives:||Improve access to information|
|Improve chemical pollution control|
|Increase public awareness|
|Instruments:||Demonstration and pilot project|
|New environmental policies and regulations|
The Swedish City of Gothenburg has set up an advice and technology programme for lubricant products which should encourage the manufacturing industry to switch to environmentally adapted products and production methods. The co-operation between municipal authorities, consultants and industries should encourage the development, testing and marketing of less harmful alternatives for hazardous products. The Clean Lubricant project, which analysed the effects of used hydraulic oils from machines and vehicles, was the first of its kind in Sweden. The project has been chosen as an example of good practice for the following reasons:
Cities with a strong industrial sector have to face special environmental challenges in the field of waste disposal and water treatment. Since large quantities of toxic discharge made its way into municipal drainage systems, the local government has a vested interest in ensuring compliance with the administrative regulation which should restrict the emission of hazardous substances. Every year the enormous amount of 85,000 tonnes of waste oils from leaks in hydraulic systems are spilled into the environment in Sweden. This volume is equal to the amount of oil that ran out of the oil tanker near the Shetland isles in 1993. About half of the amount consists of hydraulic oils. These oils cause health as well as environmental problems (e.g. skin damage, allergies or unpleasant smells).
At the end of the 1980s Swedish municipalities got increased responsibilities in different environmental areas. The Gothenburg project on Clean Lubricants can be also regarded as a testing ground for a new comprehensive approach in environmental legislation in Sweden. To a certain degree the success of the local pioneer in the specialised field of hazardous waste also helped to speed up the nation-wide development. In 1993 the Swedish Government presented the Ecocycle Bill. This bill stated that more efficient resource management and the cyclic management of materials is essential if sustainable development should be achieved. It also stated that an ecocycle society must be economical with resources, reduce its impact on the environment and preserve biological diversity. After the bill was adopted by parliament without amendments, the government appointed a special expert committee, the Ecocycle Commission, with the directives to propose strategies for ecocycle principles in the goods sector. The Ecocycle Bill has the following basic objectives:
According to a government decision of 1991, municipal responsibilities should be used to play an active role in the avoidance and handling of wastes, especially hazardous and toxic wastes. In the changed context of national and regional strategies for environmental protection, environmental policy activities in Gothenburg had been reviewed. It was the first time in Sweden that a city has started to tackle the problem of environmental pollution from industrial substances. However, it had been considered worthwhile to improve the environmental and urban situation and to reverse the dirty image of the industries.
Already in 1988-89 the local government carried out the Project Gothenburg (EPG), an investigation on how the environmental situation in Gothenburg could be considerably improved within the next ten years. Concerning environmental impacts of economic activities, the EPG gave special attention to the issues of emissions of hazardous substances, the production methods and waste related problems. The philosophy of projects in the sector of ecological industry is to offer a service rather than to prosecute companies for non-compliance with environmental legislation. The idea is to reduce, eliminate or substitute this special group of chemical and to identify, develop and test less harmful alternatives in the areas of manufacture, sale and use. This substitution rule originates from the provision in the Swedish National Act on Chemical Products that states handling or importing a chemical product must take such steps and otherwise observe such precautions as are needed to prevent or minimise harm to human beings or to the environment. This includes avoiding chemical products for which less hazardous substitutes are available. In short, the local environmental authority is in a strategic position to bridge the gap between control and co-operation. The main task is to bring together know-how and competence from outside and inside the industries.
The Clean Lubricants programme aimed to introduce environmentally friendly lubricants in different industries as well as in the transport sector. Manufacturers should be encouraged to develop environmentally adapted products and users should be engaged to test the products under real life circumstances. The incentive for the manufacturers was to explore the chances of gaining a share of a growing market. Furthermore, the oil industry was invited to participate in a one-year test of different products. In such programmes, which seek the co-operation with industrial actors, the underlying philosophy can be summed up in one sentence: environmental protection is good business.
In 1992 the Clean Lubricants project started to cooperate with the National Chemicals Inspectorate on the development of environmentally adapted hydraulic oils. The first priority was the setting up of environmental and health standards for the requirements of hydraulic oils. The project undertook this task by concentrating on the transport sector. A pilot project was carried out using vehicles from GothenburgTruck Centre, the Central Excavation Authority, and the Refuse Collection Authority.
The group of products tested was hydraulic fluids because usually large amounts are released through leakage from vehicles. Six hydraulic fluids were selected from six oil companies. These environmentally less harmful products had not been tested so far. The products had to meet the technical and environmental as well as health standards set by the programme. The environmental and health standards were the accepted standards of the EC and the OECD as well as the Swedish Chemical Inspection Board. The hydraulic oil products have also to fulfil the requirements for rapid breakdown, low toxicity, and low content of substances which can cause allergies. A special feature of the tests was that participants did not know which oil they used. In total 300 samples were taken for analysis. After technical and biological tests it was clear that the oils functioned as well as the mineral oil products. However, caution with older machines has been recommended. Nevertheless, the project managers estimate that the results and the procedures can be regarded as a standard for similar programmes in the field of environmentally adapted products. The co-operation with industry had been encouraging as all major oil companies participated and, in addition, showed interest in further activities (Binol Filium, Mobil Oil, OK, Raisio/GA Lindberg, Shell and Statoil).
A further activity of the Clean Lubricants programme was the development of an education and promotional programme of large volume users. In co-operation with the University of Gothenburg, the Swedish National Chemical Inspection Board and two technical institutes, a comparative study was worked out in 1994.
Until 1995 a list of 14 hydraulic oils from 10 companies was published as the tested hydraulic oils met the required standards. The list also contains instructions for the purchase and operation of these hydraulic oils. The list is now also used as a guideline for their services in 13 other municipal authorities in the Gothenburg area. Information has been also given to other potential users like forestry companies, construction companies and individual users of hydraulic oils.
The Cleansing Board of Gothenburg decided to purchase its new truck fleet according to the recommendations of the Clean Lubricant project.
As currently there is no Swedish standard on environmentally adapted hydraulics, the Public Standardisation Group uses the results for the developing of such a standard.
A Swedish lubricant producer which had co-operated with the Clean Lubricants project developed an environmentally friendly grease as a new product. As a result the company conquered a share of the market by the development of a production and marketing concept for an environmentally adapted grease.
Statoil, the leading oil company in Sweden, is engaged in a project to develop new environmentally adapted hydraulic fluids.
Due to the interest from one of the user companies that participated in the Clean Lubricants project, a further project to test synthetic motor oil has been initiated.
The Clean Lubricants project was administered by the Gothenburg Cleansing Board which is the municipal solid waste agency. Two external consultants with expertise in engineering and toxicology were hired to run the 18 month project. The Clean Lubricants project is managed by a staff of two.
In particular the catalyst function of the project is also stressed by the political actors. Arne Österber, chairman of the Environmental and Health Board of the City of Gothenburg and deputy major, was one of the initiators of the Clean Lubricant project and he points out the importance of establishing a network implementation structure: will recommend the way we have been working when you want to tackle more complicated environmental problems. An actor with society responsibility co-operates with users and producers to start up and promote a development and market of environmentally adapted products.
Another initiator of the Clean Lubricant project, Kerstin Svenson, the environmental minister of Gothenburg, draws attention to the disseminating effects: have had visits from several international oil and chemical companies which are interested in the Gothenburg project. We have also already started up a new project about motor oils in diesel engines as a consequence of the Clean Lubricant Project. (Press-release by the Gothenburg Environmental Protection Office)
Environmental Protection Office of the City of Gothenburg 1992: An environmental Standard for car washing detergents, Gothenburg
Hedgenmark, Magnus 1993: Recharging without Cadmium. Metal hybride etc. as an alternative technique in rechargeable devices and batteries, Report R5 by the Environmental Protection Office of the City of Gothenburg
ICLEI 1994: Product Development, Gothenburg, Sweden, Case Study 22, Toronto
Swedish Environmental Protection Agency 1994: Strategy for Sustainable Development. Proposals for a Swedish Programme - Enviro Solna
The National Board of Housing, Building and Planning, (ed.) 1995: The Ecological City - The Swedish Report to OECD, Karlskrona
Personal correspondence with the Environmental Officer
|Telefon||:||++46 / 30 / 232281|
|Telefax||:||++46 / 30 / 232403|
|Clean Lubricants Project|
|S - 448 50 Tollered|
Gothenburg is a coastal city with a population of 460,000 and a wider conurbation of 730,000 in the south of Sweden (approx. 9% of the Swedish total population). It is the second largest city with a traditional economic base in trade and industry. The port is the largest in Sweden. The dominant economic activities are automobile and affiliated product production (Volvo), oil refining, ball bearing industry (SKF), and modern high technology (Ericsson and Saab Space). In addition, research industries are also important (e.g., the drug industry has strong links to the medical research at the University of Gothenburg).
Project was added at 21.06.1996
Project was changed at 10.03.1998