Controlling substance flows: The case of chlorine
- Cite this article as:
- Kleijn, R., Van Der Voet, E. & Udo de Haes, H.A. Environmental Management (1994) 18: 523. doi:10.1007/BF02400857
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The contribution of chlorinated hydrocarbons (CHCs) to environmental problems in the Netherlands is discussed in an economic context. The economic interactions within the chlorine market, including the link to caustic soda production, are described, and PVC is taken as a case study. Key policy options are evaluated in terms of their potential for environmental improvement. It appears that 95% of CHC emissions causing environmental problems are due to dissipative applications. With respect to the specific problems of ozone depletion and global warming, only a small group of compounds is responsible for most of the impact. Moreover, economic interactions within the group of CHCs can strongly influence the net effect of environmental policy measures. Policies aimed at a reducing volume output of certain specific groups of CHCs will inevitably lead to trade-offs between environmental problems. The environmental impact of a hypothetical ban on CHCs is discussed in relation to the use of PVC as a sink for chlorine. Both these options appear to have drawbacks. Moreover, no absolute conclusion can be drawn until the environmental impact of CHC substitutes is known.