Lubricants are used in various applications where an entry of substances into the environment cannot be completely avoided, especially when used for loss lubrication of rails, points, block trains or for sealing purposes and similar fields of application where high lubricant losses occur during the intended use. Also, loss lubrication during wood cutting causes the release of approximately 10,000 tons of chain lubricants into the environment per year. Even during the intended use of hydraulic fluids in agriculture and forestry as well as in the building industry significant quantities may escape in an uncontrolled way into the environment due to leakages and other defects. If the lubricants include components that are toxic to humans or the environment or have insufficient biodegradability, these releases into the environment can have an adverse effect on soil and water. This negative effect should be minimized in order to preserve intact ecosystems and avoid indirect impact on human health.
The aim of the Blue Angel eco-label for biodegradable lubricants and hydraulic fluids is to enable the user to choose products that, for example, consist primarily of renewable raw materials (vegetable or animal oils) and, first and foremost, stand out due to their good biodegradability.
With regard to the DE-UZ 178 Basic Criteria for "Biodegradable Lubricants and Hydraulic Fluids" it was decided to set up, in Appendix 1, a publicly accessible "Lubricant Component Classification List" based on the LuSC List of the EU Ecolabel for Lubricants. This list is meant to make application filing easier for manufacturers of lubricants since the products which will be listed in said Appendix 1 will not require the submission of further data. The manufacturers of lubricant components shall be able, from now on, to have their products evaluated with costs in accordance with DE-UZ 178 and to apply for inclusion in Appendix 1 to DE-UZ 178.