Within the industrial fence
Within the plant, management of chlorine is especially important as it is a highly toxic chemical. The majority of chlorine is used for the production of intermediates, often at adjoining facilities. Employees, the local community and the environment must be protected; companies are increasingly publishing annual environmental reports of their progress in these areas. A current focus is on reducing storage of chlorine and chlorinated products at plants and developing better process control procedures.
Most chlorine is used at the site where it is made, and is not transported at all. However, since it is used by industry to make such a diverse range of products, it is inevitable that some must be transported. Only 5% of European chlorine production is transported within Europe (2010).
Railways are the main method of transport, accounting for about 70% of chlorine movements (excluding pipeline). Stringent safety measures are taken during transport. Chlorine is transported in specially-designed steel containers, ranging from cylinders carrying a few kilos of chlorine to road and rail tank wagons containing 20-60 tonnes. The industry will continue to build on its strong safety record with continuous improvements in transport and distribution. Bulk chlorine has been shipped throughout Europe for 60 years without a single fatality.
The industry is committed to helping educate end-users on the correct handling of products. An example is the "Charters of Co-operation" scheme signed between the European Chlorinated Solvent Association (a part of Euro Chlor) with national groups representing chlorinated solvent users. Fourteen charters are in place in six countries with the aim of spreading Responsible Care and the continuous improvement of best practices throughout the industry. In dry cleaning and industrial degreasing, improved practices and increased recycling mean that volumes of solvents sold have fallen markedly whilst usage has risen.
Read more about the Responsible Care concept on the Cefic.org pages.
Increased recycling and the use of appropriate disposal methods minimise emissions to the environment. Euro Chlor will continue dialogue with regulatory authorities such as the European Commission, the United Nations and the marine commissions to minimise the impact of its members' operations and products on human health and the environment. It strongly supports negotiated agreements rather than prescriptive legislation.
Science is central to the success of chlorine-based products, resulting in steady improvements to production processes and product ranges over the century since the industry was born. It is also vital in evaluating any existing or potential hazards from chemicals to the environment and human health.
Life cycle analysis - a useful, scientific way of evaluating the environmental impact of a specific product or process - is being used increasingly. This takes account of the entire production cycle from raw materials, through manufacture and consumption to recycling and final disposal.
Companies are continuously developing improved process control procedures to ensure optimum safety, health and environmental standards.