Replacing petrochemical components in household products with products containing renewable resource raw materials can be done. Augeo®, a line of solvents developed by Solvay, uses glycerin derived from biodiesel program in Brazil.

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Solvents are everywhere in our daily lives: in the paint on your wall, the ink in your printer, the cleaning products in your cupboard – even in the leather for your shoes. Typically, they are made from petroleum derivatives, smell bad, and could be toxic for people and for the planet, like in the case of interior aromatics. Luckily, alternatives are now available on the market; Solvay has developed Augeo® solvents with both sustainability and high performance in mind. 

These new generation solvents are produced from glycerin, a colorless and odorless substance well known for its common use as a humectant in the food industry (it improves moisture in food, typically cakes), and as such, harmless for humans as well as the environment, and fully biodegradable. One of the molecules in this family is Augeo® Clean Multi, which is used (as its name indicates) in household cleaners, but also in interior scenting products such as plug-in and reed diffusers. In fact, this is such as widely used molecule that “a hefty proportion of North American customers have already had contact with it in their homes,” says Priscila Karan, Head of New Business at Solvay Coatis.

Toxic for none

Augeo® Clean Multi is produced using glycerin that is derived from biodiesel production in Brazil, a renewable resource, as opposed to oil. “Not only is the raw material coming from a renewable source, the total lifecycle analysis for the product demonstrates that the production of Augeo® Clean Multi significantly reduces COemissions compared to petrochemical competitors,” adds Priscila.

The molecule itself is well known; what’s new here is the sustainable origin of the raw material, and all within well-established industrial protocol. “We have the chemical process to guarantee we can handle large scale production within the specifications and standards that consumer goods products require,” indicates Priscila.

The good news, both for Augeo® and for the planet, is that sustainable solvents are the fastest growing market among solvents today. And they gracefully combine their low carbon footprint with low toxicity - their biodegradability means they have no harmful impact on water resources, a significant quality for products that generally end up washed down the drain.

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