Textile industry guidelines: for a Baltic Sea without chemicals

Cargo ships are in the Baltic sea at sunset past the lighthouse against the sky with sun rays

The goal of the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) of the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) is to preserve the natural habitats and biodiversity of the Baltic Sea. The HAZBREF initiative, funded at the European level, was created to realise this plan, and carries out regular wastewater and air analyses of industrial plants. On the German side, the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) is helping implement the initiative. adelphi is providing support by preparing recommendations for the textile sector.

In addition to testing, the HAZBREF project will analyse and document emission pathways for industrial facilities in the Baltic Sea region. There are still some gaps in regulations – the European regulation on chemicals (REACH), for example – and ‘Best Available Techniques’ (BAT) documents lack information on hazardous substances and detailed responses to questions of chemicals management. This is because the substance information and risk management recommendations have not been systematised and are not easily accessible. The results of the HAZBREF project from four EU partner countries are intended to make the information in these BAT leaflets concrete in order to work out legally binding conclusions from them. To this end, the project is compiling and evaluating comprehensive, plant-specific information on the use of hazardous substances along with the approval process of the plants in legal terms.

As part of this interregional initiative, adelphi helped the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) coordinate and process the results, with a focus on the textile sector in Germany, Estonia, Poland and Sweden. Based on sectoral case studies, surveys and questionnaires, adelphi developed an industry guide – not only to provide information on the application and management of hazardous chemicals in the textile sector, but also to introduce model chemical approvals. adelphi also used the case studies to identify and document industry-specific and generally transferable measures for the selection and management of chemicals, substitution options, and the prevention of emissions.