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Our definition of chemical substitution

Substitution, replacing or phasing out, is known by many names. It simply means eliminating hazardous substances or replacing them with less hazardous alternatives.

Chemical substitution means finding a new, less chemically hazardous, solution for a certain process or product. The task could for example be replacing a hazardous substance or a hazardous chemical product with a less hazardous one. 

The word “substitution” indicates that something is being replaced with something else. In terms of “chemical substitution”, the purpose is to stop using - phasing out – the substances that are particularly hazardous. This can also mean that the substance is removed without being replaced. 

This is how we define chemical substitution at the Swedish Centre for Chemical Substitution: 

  • Replacing the hazardous substance with a less harmful one 
  • Removing the substance - if its function is non-essential 
  • Replacing a product, method or material 
  • Finding an alternative solution to obtain a certain function 

Step by step towards a sustainable future 

Our mission is to support companies in the process of identifying hazardous substances and finding better alternatives by using the so-called staircase for substitution developed by the Swedish Chemicals Agency: 

Step 1. Gather chemical content information 

  • Step 2. Identify unwanted substances in your goods 
  • Step 3. Identify possible alternatives  
  • Step 4. Assess and select alternatives  
  • Step 5. Develop new alternatives 

Learn more about substitution in practice in our Substitution guide 


Anna Jacobs

Contact person

Anna Jacobs

Centrumledare för substitutionscentrum

+46 10 228 45 30
anna.jacobs@ri.se

Read more about Anna