W.E.I.R. Explanation and Calculations

1. Raw Materials Used
The higher the percentage of raw materials present in a product, the higher the impact and the higher the rating. Certain raw materials are considered to have more of an impact than others, which again results in a higher rating.

The raw materials we use in our products have been classified into 4 sections in accordance with the 'Guidance for Responsible Procurement of Cleaning Products' and 'The Detergent Regulations' (EC 648/2004).

A Raw materials for which an 'alternative is strongly recommended' High Impact Rating
B Raw materials which are 'justified for specific application' Medium Impact Rating
C Raw materials with 'no issue for procurement' Low Impact Rating
D Raw materials not covered by any of the above Minimum Impact Rating
 

2. Risk Of Release To The Environment
Consideration of the risk of chemical release to the environment has been taken into account. Ratings differ for products supplied in a concentrate form, which are diluted on site, and for ready to use formulations.

3. Environmental Hazard Classification
The higher the level of raw material that have an environmental Hazard Classification present in a product, the higher the impact and the higher the rating.

A H412 Harmful Medium Impact Rating
B H411 Toxic High Impact Rating
C H400 and H410 Very Toxic Very High Impact Rating
 
4. Impact Of Water Used In Product
Certain formulations require the use of deionised water in their manufacture. Deionised water undergoes a regenerative process which uses chemicals and these have an additional impact. Therefore products manufactured with deionised water have a higher rating than those made with mains water.

5. Impact Of Usage
Various factors of how the product is normally used have been taken into account and a relative rating system has been allocated in each of the following four parameters:-

a. Concentration
A higher rating has been given to a product which is supplied in a ready to use formulation and a lesser rating for a product which is diluted prior to use.

b. Usage
The application and use of the product has been taken into account and rated accordingly. A product used on a daily basis will have a higher rating when compared to a product that is only used infrequently.

c. Disposal Methods
After a product has been used, will the remains be poured down the drain, will they remain on the surface or will the product evaporate into the atmosphere? Each disposal method is rated accordingly.

d. Disposal Of Packaging
We have calculated the amount of packaging waste each product produces when compared to its use, for example, a ready to use trigger spray bottle will produce more packaging than a 5 litre bottle of concentrate product and therefore have a higher impact rating.

6. pH
Acidic and alkaline products have more of an impact than neutral products and therefore carry a higher rating figure.

7. Impact Of Energy Used To Prepare & Manufacture A Finished Product
We have a large range of products which vary considerably in the manufacturing procedure. Some products are a simple cold blend of a few liquid chemicals which only takes a short time to mix, whilst others are a hot blend of several ingredients which can be a mixture of powder, prills or liquid, and can take over 48 hours to manufacture from start to finish. The rating system has been divided into two sections:-

a. Heat Required In Process
Products which need heat use more energy and are rated higher than cold mix formulations.

b. Time To Manufacture, Test And Fill
All aspects of the manufacturing process are taken into account, the longer the time to manufacture the product the more energy is used, therefore a higher rating is added to the final calculation.

Conclusion
All seven factors involved require certain amount of judgement and calculation, but the final scores do provide us with workable numbers to categorise products.

Very importantly, we now have a comprehensive workable system which provides us with specific guidelines to help make decisions and direct our energies to continue reducing the impact each product has on the environment.