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Chemical Management

First Aim To Reduce Chemical Waste

— By Joe Truini As printed on April 1, 2002 of the Waste News issue
Vancouver, British Columbia - Industrial waste generators are shifting the way they buy chemicals, moving to manage programs to reduce hazardous waste and the liability and expense attached to it.

Chemical management reduces a company’s cost of chemical use and improves environmental performance. It simple can mean reducing the amount of cleaning fluids a company is using. But many manufacturers employ complex programs to cut back on chemical use in several departments.

The complexity of such programs has given rise to chemical management companies, which specialize in reducing costs and the environmental liability associated with chemical use. There are only about 10 companies worldwide specializing in comprehensive chemical management, including a handful of chemical corporations that offer the service, said Thaddeus J. Fortin, CEO of Haas Corp., a West Chester, PA, chemical management company.

Haas does not make money by selling chemicals. Rather, it works off of an incentive basis, which moves away from consumption in favor of efficiencies and optimization. The firm has offered services for about 15 years, but was awarded its first comprehensive contract in 1994.

“The goal chemical management is less is more,” Fortin said. “The less we buy, the more we make.”

The cost of managing chemicals throughout their lifecycle is four to seven times the purchase price of the chemical itself, said Fortin, who spoke last month at Globe 2002, one of the world’s largest business environmental conferences, held every two years in Vancouver.

Chemical management companies have spawned from the automotive industry’s innovative approach toward chemical purchasing in the late 1990s. Automakers started asking their chemical suppliers to take on more responsibility given that they were the experts in chemicals.

“Automobile manufacturers were finding themselves in the business of chemicals and not in the business of cars as much,” said Darcy Whaley, a spokeswoman for the Chemical Strategies Partnership in San Francisco.

About three-quarters of the auto industry have adopted programs, much more than any other industry segment. General Motors Corp. was one of the first to implement a program, Fortin said.

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What is Chemical Management Services? Chemical Management Services (CMS) is a business in which a customer engages with a service provider in a strategic, long-term contract to supply and manage the customer's chemicals and related services... more »

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