Why should I substitute?

There are many reasons why companies are taking this step. As part of their research to improve the technical functionality of their product, companies may want to reduce the potential risk caused by a substance they use.  They can decide to switch to a less hazardous chemical, an alternative technique or to a different product design. In practice, it is often a combination of these actions which takes place. These actions generally improve efficiency, drive innovation, help gain a competitive advantage and enhance safety or save costs.

Innovation and efficiency

Looking for safer alternatives makes your company look systematically at what you are doing and how you are doing it. You may even realise that the function performed by the substance or mixture you are using is no longer necessary if you change your process or the design of your product. This in turn is a driver for innovation. Revisiting your materials and production process can also result in more efficiency, including the lower use of resources or the generation of less waste during the life-cycle of your end product.

Competitive advantage

Replacing hazardous chemicals can give you a competitive advantage in the market place. Your customers will appreciate effective products that are also safer for workers and consumers and with fewer adverse impacts on the environment. Your substitution can also enable your customers to gain a market advantage and can reduce their costs of complying with the legislation on chemical safety. Market your product well and you will stand out from the competition.

Savings in regulatory costs

Hazardous chemicals are more tightly regulated so as to protect humans and the environment from their harmful effects. They consequently require higher levels of control in the workplace and down the supply chain. By replacing them with safer alternative chemicals or techniques, you save the time and effort involved in managing the risks related to their use.

Doing the right thing

Many companies see substitution as simply doing the right thing. Reducing the potential risk for your employees working with the substance, for consumers using your products and the environmental impact of your activities is a good thing to do. You are playing your part in making Europe a healthier place for all of us and for future generations.

Need more time?

Finding alternatives and testing them can take a long time. If your substance is included in the REACH Authorisation List, you are not allowed to use it after its sunset date. If you don't have an alternative by then, you need to apply for authorisation to use your substance.

For further information, please see REACH Authorisation


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