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Biodegradable Lubricants

Distributor of Biodegradable, Zinc Free and Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EALs)

The terms “biodegradable hydraulic oil” or “zinc free fluid” or “environmentally acceptable lubricants” have been quite common in recent years. But do you know the differences between them all? No? Good thing you came to the right place! In North America alone, there are approximately 2.5 billion gallons of lubricant sales annually! National Geographic reports 60% of the North American waters are polluted with natural seeps of oil. On top of that, it has been reported by environmental scientists that there are “nearly 100 billion barrels of oil-contaminated wastewater each year.” For this purpose it is the right time to gain knowledge of the regulations and new environmentally acceptable lubricants available. At Overlake Oil our experts have technical training and field experience to help you make the best choice. While you focus on projects and deadlines, you can seek technical advice from one of our lubricant experts!

What Are Biodegradable Lubricants?

Biodegradable lubricants are also known as Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants or EALs. According to Machinery Lubrication “62% of lubrication professionals do not use any biodegradable lubricants at their plant.” Due to the raising concern to protect the environment; governments and groups urge the agriculture, marine and forestry industries to follow new regulations. For this purpose, these regulations are in place to protect the environment, aquatic life and wildlife from toxins. Since there are different regulations it is necessary to know the different types of biodegradable lubricants. The two main categories include:

    • Readily Biodegradable

Firstly, Readily Biodegradable lubricants utilize a vegetable or canola base oil. The base oil then blends with synthetic esters, enabling them to pass the “60 day aquatic test.” This means Readily Biodegradable lubricants will degrade within 60 days of contact. All in all, the biodegradability of these oils make them popular in areas where water in present.

    • Inherently Biodegradable

On the other hand, Inherently Biodegradable lubricants are most common in sensitive areas requiring a “passing grade” on aquatic animal tests. This means Inherently Biodegradable lubricants use additive chemistry containing no heavy metals or zinc. They are actually blended with a synthetic or highly refined base oil like a polyol ester base.

Read: Readily VS. Inherently Biodegradable written by Tia Fraatz

Where Are Biodegradable Lubricants Used?

In light of the environmental impact, biodegradable lubricants are most common in sensitive areas. Until now, there has not always been a concern for pollution however the regulations are changing that. A trend we have seen is projects are requiring EALs or vegetable based lubricants instead of your standard mineral oils. To ensure you are following the regulations, always verify your environmental impact before deciding on the lubricant.


  • Construction
  • Elevator
  • Forestry
  • General Manufacturing
  • Metal Working
  • Military
  • Mining & Quarry
  • Oil & Gas Production
  • Pulp & Paper

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