Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants for the Construction Industry

How do Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EAL) compare to traditional industrial lubricants?

Share this Post

EALs: What they are and why you should be using them on your job site

Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants, or EALs, are lubricants initially developed to meet the regulatory requirements of sensitive marine environments. Minimally impactful if accidentally discharged, these lubricants are non-toxic and non-bioaccumulative.  They’re readily or ultimately biodegradable, meaning they have little to no impact on the natural environment. In the increasingly regulated construction industry – near water or not – EALs offer companies a competitive advantage, as well as a reduced liability over conventional lubricants.

Not all biodegradable lubricants are the same

Merely calling a lubricant “biodegradable” is no guarantee of its status as a non-pollutant or any indication of its performance. Consider the following to find the right lubricant to meet the performance needs of your equipment, environmental regulations and overall bottom line:

Environmental effect

The most common conventional hydraulic fluids on the market contain a zinc  additive that provides a wear-resistant protective coating for hydraulic components. This outdated lubrication additive technology dates back to WWII. The good news is this outdated technology can easily be replaced by readily-available zinc-free anti-wear additives that contain no heavy metals, and do a better job of wear protection.   The bad news is, while these “zinc-free” hydraulic fluids provide a more environmentally friendly fluid, they still result in costly remediation in the event of an accidental release because they do not meet the requirements of an EAL.

The most environmentally friendly lubrication products come with an EPA “Marine Vessel General Permitted Approval”, or VGP approval. Products meeting the stringent requirements of the EPA VGP approval fall under the EPA Clean-Water Act and are considered a “non-pollutant.”


Many products labeled “environmentally-friendly” end up being poor performers – often negatively affecting the tight margins of your equipment maintenance and production budget.  They cause component operational issues, and reduce component life. High-performing lubricants, like hydraulic fluids, can be ranked through ASTM oxidation-resistance testing. Your OEM will give you the level of lubricant performance required to keep today’s precision equipment running smoothly.

Also be aware that some EALs in the market may not be compatible with your conventional lubricants and components, and special steps may be required to convert your equipment over to EALs.

The EALs Carson markets meet OEM performance requirements, and do not have any compatibility issues with conventional fluids or components.


Unfortunately, many OEMs and some major oil companies are offering high-performance bio-degradable lubricant products developed using an expensive, conventional synthetic base oil. These products are considerably more costly than conventional lubricants – up to 4 times the cost or more than its conventional counterpart. That can put these type of environmentally friendly products out of reach of most customers.

Fortunately, Carson’s environmentally friendly lubricant offering for heavy machinery from Renewable Lubricants is more competitively priced.

EALs on your job site

The increased use readily biodegradable and non-toxic lubricants contributes positively to reduced petroleum consumption, better management of your carbon footprint, and the reduction of adverse environmental and health impacts on your job site. The increasing ecological standards required on job sites can only be met with the use of fully biodegradable lubricants. Strike a balance between environmentally-responsible operations, cost and liability with Renewable Lubricants from Carson.

Contact 503.224.8500 for more information.