The Belgian and Luxembourg association for producers and distributors of cosmetics, cleaning and maintenance products, adhesives, sealants, biocides and aerosols.

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Newsletter 2013



  1. Editorial

  2. Construction: fighting material discrimination

  3. Cosmetics of every texture and fragrance

  4. Detergence: take the lead in sustainable development - and stay there!

  5. Aerosols in the spotlight

  6. In brief





DETIC’s newsletter now open to all!

DETIC is an association with many roles, operating in many areas.  Just think about it. The association brings together manufacturers and distributors of a range of products: cosmetics, detergents and maintenance products, adhesives and sealants, and biocides, too. DETIC also represents companies in the aerosols sector and the surfactants industry.  It covers activities aimed at professionals (B2B) and consumers (B2C) for all of these sectors and provides services and advice.  Above all, our activities focus on helping our members market their products, with advice on labelling, regulatory compliance, sectoral communication, sectoral initiatives for sustainable development, and more.  But of course you already know that. If you are not sure what kinds of activities we carry out, simply visit, where you will find the information you are looking for.

So what’s new at DETIC?  This newsletter answers that question!  Up to now, DETIC mainly communicated internally; our newsletters were only for our members. We expressed ourselves to the outside world largely through our websites – something of a paradox in this age of (over)communication.

Everything moves with the times, including DETIC! We have decided to share our activities and publicise the products and sectors we support.  You are receiving this first newsletter because we believe you might be interested in our sectors’ activities or the information we provide.  We will start modestly, and will e-mail you two publications a year.

We are delighted to be able to share this information with you, and hope the feeling is mutual.  If not, that’s fine. Just let us know by return mail and we will remove you from our mailing list.  If, on the other hand, you would like to support this publication, your suggestions are more than welcome!





Construction: fighting materials discrimination


The concept of “sustainability” is taking hold in all areas of human activity, and the construction sector is no exception. Yet if you look closely at most of the incentives promoting what we are calling “sustainable construction”, you will be hard pressed to find any approach other than choosing natural materials. This falls somewhat short.


materialendiscriminatieWhat is sustainable construction ?

What does sustainable construction mean?  A hard question!  All the more so as the concept of sustainable construction tends to be misunderstood in the construction sectors, where the rule is a “dogs dinner” of simplistic labelling.  Eco construction, green housing, eco design, natural construction, etc. are all simplistic concepts that limit thinking to an environmental approach that is often rigidly fixed on the origin and nature of materials. But sustainable construction is something quite different; it is a much more complex concept and is – above all – not clouded by pre-conceived ideas. 


A multidimensional approach

Going far beyond the prejudices, the concept of “sustainable construction” should be understood as a multi-criteria approach that creates a balance between a building’s economic performance, the social well-being it provides and its environmental impact. The building’s sustainability is measured throughout its life cycle and involves all players in construction. Ultimately, it is about understanding the quality and performance of a construction in a multidimensional manner. We can speak of an integrated approach that includes energy savings and CO2 emissions as much as environmentally-friendly materials use, rational use of water, comfort, accessibility, costs, mobility, safety, health, etc. The key word in this system is “performance” as we will see below.


DETIC’s  fight against materials discrimination 

The “greening” of our homes is introducing ever more original materials, such as sheep’s wool and hemp, into the construction sector. But their sustainability is far from certain, if only at the economic and social level. Of course, these materials are not without their qualities. But the mere fact of using them does not make a house compatible with sustainable development. Whether they are used for a new build or a renovation, all materials, natural or synthetic, must be considered in terms of the performance they bring into the system (the building) in doing their job, using a life-cycle approach. The choice therefore needs careful consideration and must be based on multiple economic, social and environmental criteria, from a building’s design to the end of its life. That is why DETIC and essencia have embarked on a major “educational” mission. This mission aims to convince all the players in construction, as well as the authorities, of the merits of the “sustainable construction” approach and the importance of the “performance” of materials in developing this kind of strategy, especially for renovation.   


For more information contact DETIC:




Cosmetics of every structure and fragrance


In a society where we constantly hear words such as ‘growth’ and ‘profit’, we sometimes forget the magical, original worth of a product: its sensuality.  This article takes us back to basics. It offers a literary puff, sniff or smell of the feeling that cosmetics can bring, products that are functional and sensual, of course, but that also have an immaterial and often very cerebral side. 

‘Functional products are present everywhere in our lives. You clean your house with a cleaning product and mow your lawn with a mower. Functionality is straightforward.  But a cosmetic has several aspects. From embellishment to hygiene, it is the only product that promotes its users' well-being and, going beyond their senses, stimulates their imagination.”   With these words, Marie-Eve Debrue, technical and regulatory expert at DETIC, immediately sets the tone for this article. “A cosmetic is not simply the product itself; it has many offshoots. When you buy a cosmetic, you feel a real sense of pleasure because you know you are acquiring a product that gives you a sense of well-being. Cosmetics and everything associated with them bring a feeling of happiness.” And this feeling is far from trivial; it creates a real link between physical and mental health. Pleasure is good for your health!


The starting point - hygiene and protection

Health is, in the first place, the result of personal hygiene, which is achieved by using cosmetics. Personal care and hygiene products, such as soap, shampoo and shower gel, are essential to modern hygiene and good health, and contribute to longevity. In today’s society, life expectancy is constantly breaking new records. And since soap became available to everybody, the quality of life has only improved. Illnesses due to a lack of hygiene have disappeared from western societies.

Protecting the body against external influences is an essential function of many cosmetics. Although few people really appreciate it, toothpaste and sun cream are also cosmetic products. An amount of toothpaste equivalent to the size of a pea is enough to protect teeth against decay; dentists recommend twice-daily brushing quite rightly. Meanwhile, sun products protect us against the sun’s rays, in which we often spend more time than is good for us. Used correctly, these products can slow down premature skin aging and, essentially, sunburn, a major cause of skin cancer.


Psychological effects of cosmetics

cosmetica3But the hygienic and protective value of cosmetics goes beyond their functional operation to the level of human psychological health. Through their odours and textures, these products can reawaken emotions and memories hidden away in our deepest minds. In fact, throughout our lives we sketch an image of ourselves made from scents, experiences and memories. Scents are with us throughout our development. Subconsciously or consciously, they mark specific events – pleasant or otherwise – while reinforcing our personality and maintaining our self-image. Think, for example, of the scent of an aunt who was very strict and unloving. Not the best of memories! Subconsciously, you will not be drawn to anyone who wears the same perfume. Think, too, of a crying baby whose tears dry up like magic when he smells the odour of his “blankey”.  

These subjective experiences of odours and textures and their positive effects have also been confirmed objectively in various studies. In recent years, there has been analysis of the impact of cosmetics on the quality of life. Here, Data Mining International, an independent Swiss research agency, has confirmed the validity and reliability of a new instrument for measuring the quality-of-life impact of cosmetics (BeautyQol). For some people, this impact is considerable. A particularly good example is a video posted on YouTube in which an American teenager used camouflaging make-up to hide her acne, helping hundreds of other teenagers to feel better about themselves – a beneficial act of self-acceptance delivered by a few beauty products! The effect of cosmetics is far less superficial than you might think.

In addition to giving a boost to self-confidence, applying cosmetics can also have other ‘unexpected’ beneficial effects.   As an example, a small French study showed that the tactile experience of applying cosmetics can aid eye-to-hand coordination leading to improved balance, and even to protecting older people against falls.  Yet another good reason, if needed, for getting out those little jars that are lurking at the back of your cupboards.


A third dimension

A final use of cosmetics in our environment is more strategic in nature. “For centuries, the use of cosmetics has been part of a natural tendency of humans to impress, frighten, seduce or manipulate. This goes from hunters who rubbed ochre into their skin to hide their scent to the “psychological” preparation for an important meeting to close a deal, where the “predator” mimics the appearance of the “prey” as much as possible. The reassurance of a familiar scent, the recognition of a make-up item, even the same style of clothing can transform an enemy into a friend. For example, scent mimicking allows a “family-like” connection to be created where it does not exist – and to take advantage of it.” stresses Frédérick Warzée, communication manager and cosmetologist at DETIC.

Cosmetics have long been part of our quality of life and, consequently, have improved our health. They also determine how people perceive each other and the world around them, while providing a framework for our experiences and memories. Cosmetics are lived, smelled and felt: their effect is sensual and psychological but is hard to describe in words. Which makes this article somewhat futile!







Detergents - Take the lead in sustainable development - and stay there!


The Rio trigger

In 1996, while others were still trying to analyse the Rio declaration on the environment and development (1992), the detergent industry was already taking concrete action. DETIC, along with AISE at the European level, applied a “code of good environmental practice” to the sector. This code included a set of quantitative targets (formulation, packaging, recycling, consumer communication, etc.), which were achieved in 2001. Adopted by 170 companies, representing 90% of the market, the code was ratified in 1998 by the European Commission and included a major “communication” component, embodied in the famous “Washright” panel. 

This success marked the beginning of the detergent industry’s long journey towards achieving better compatibility with sustainable development.


The charter for sustainable cleaning

Since 2005, the industry has embarked on its flagship initiative: the Charter for Sustainable Cleaning. A considerable challenge – and one that has broken new ground. The industry now really takes social, economic and environmental aspects into account in its sustainable development criteria, using a “life cycle” approach to develop a voluntary standard for these. DETIC is directing the initiative in Belgium and supports its members in implementing the charter. Quite a task! The charter contains numerous metrics for production, raw materials selection, worker safety, product safety, waste, environmental impact, consumer protection, etc. For SMEs, this is difficult, but not impossible. Despite a slow start, the sector is now doing well and the results are matching its ambitions. In 2013, 200 companies were in compliance with the charter (919 production units in Europe), including 82 companies active in Belgium and 51 in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The benefit, particularly in terms of the environment, is considerable: since 2006 (the date of the sector’s first sustainability report), energy consumption per ton of production has fallen by 19% and water consumption by 24% (2012-2013 figures). 

In parallel, in Belgium, DETIC is implementing various programmes to concentrate detergents. This process is inspiring the industry to go even further and create environmental criteria that are more oriented towards product characteristics.


ASP - Advanced sustainability profiles

Advanced Sustainability Profiles were created early as 2010, during the first revision of the charter, for different categories of product on the basis of a life cycle analysis. The results were immediate: laundry powders and liquids, multi-purpose cleaning products and spray cleaners were allocated ecological performance indicators wherever the life cycle analysis identified the most significant environmental impacts (aquatic impact, packaging, utilisation stage, concentration, etc.). This ecological “standard” is in addition to the charter’s requirements for sustainable cleaning. Immediately adopted by a large number of companies, the first ASPs are now being implemented, and AISE is developing future criteria for other product categories.


A European pilot project

This voluntary industry approach is very similar to the European approach in the project to determine the environmental footprint of products. The medium-term (4-year) objective of the latter is to create a comparative labelling system for the consumer.  AISE and DETIC and various companies, SMEs, national associations and stakeholders submitted a pilot project in July 2013 so that they could participate in this new undertaking. In addition to supporting the sector’s biggest players, DETIC is particularly supportive of SMEs committed to the project and that are eligible for aid from the Belgian authorities. This new challenge should result in greater transparency, environmental labelling based on a harmonised calculation method and a renewed profile for the Charter for Sustainable Cleaning.


DETIC at the forefront!

“DETIC is working to open its members’ eyes to the new social model that Sustainable Development represents.” DETIC applies this philosophy to the letter, which is why its sectors – detergents in particular – are involved in all initiatives that can create added value in the field of sustainable development. DETIC is already looking at ways to bring added value to its members in the years to come. It aims to promote a sustainable and innovative industry, position itself as a pioneer – and stay there.





Aerosols in the spotlight


On 25 September 2013, the European Aerosol Federation, aerosolor FEA, will be awarding its INTERNATIONAL AEROSOL AWARDS for the second time. This event is the ideal opportunity for DETIC to take a closer look at a sector that is all too often ignored.

Dictionaries define an aerosol packaging or spray as “a container holding a substance that can be sprayed with the help of a propellant”. The dictionary definition doesn’t tell the whole story, fortunately. A spray-can or, to use the general term, an aerosol, is much more than that. It has a valve, an actuator, a stem, a shaft, a spring, an inner gasket, a spring cup, an outer gasket, a dip tube and housing. From a purely technical perspective, this technology is nothing short of ingenious.


Technology with a lasting design…

Eric Rotheim would be amazed to see how his original invention has evolved over the years. Today, the modern aerosol – unlike his original prototype – has countless areas of application. Its dimensions and materials are adapted to these, so that, for example, it is typical for the nozzle to be adapted to the spray’s use and contents or its active ingredient. This guarantees that the aerosol sprays out the correct dose for a given substance without wasting a single drop. Furthermore, an aerosol is a hermetically sealed packaging, which ensures a very long shelf life. Because an aerosol is under pressure, there is no risk of pollution or contamination by bacteria, making it particularly attractive for cosmetic or pharmaceutical applications, as well as for the food industry. The contents keep their original hygienic character until the expiry date. Which of course, you had already worked out for yourself!


…made of lasting materials

One of the FEA awards is for the Environment and Sustainability. In this context, is the sense of guilt we feel when we throw away an aerosol justified? The hygienic state and sustainable dosing of the product are made possible by only one thing: the packaging. It is almost a work of art – but happily one that is fully recyclable in most cases. Since sorting waste has become something of a national sport in Belgium, aerosols are simply placed in the bag for plastic, metal packaging and drink cartons or included with the “Small Dangerous Waste”.   Steel and aluminium containers are then sorted out to be crushed and smelted separately before being recast into bars or rods. These recycled metals can then be reprocessed to produce bicycles, machines, cans and… aerosols. For tin and aluminium aerosols and cans, the process can be repeated countless times without the least loss of quality. The plastic parts, such as the protective cap or spray nozzle, are also perfectly recyclable. 


…supported by new developments

‘The metal industry is constantly developing aerosols with an ever-longer life. At present, thinner metals are being developed that can resist the same pressure. This means that we use less energy and fewer raw materials and auxiliary materials,” explains Jef Brouwers, head of the aerosols committee at DETIC, member of the board of the FEA and Vice President European Operations with CRC Industries Europe bvba/sprl. TNO, an independent research agency, has also recently published a study on behalf of the metal industry, showing that the environmental impact of the average aerosol fell by 17% between 2006 and 2008. This remarkable result is principally due to improvements in steel and tin production, combined with increased recycling rates.

It is not just in the field of the environment that the industry is excelling itself. “In the United Kingdom, the aerosol industry has developed an instrument that calculates the concentration of various substances present in the environment. This makes it possible to measure air quality after using an aerosol and, if necessary, to improve it by adjusting product formulae. This local, voluntary initiative is now being continued at the European level,” explains Jef Brouwers. “The aerosol industry is evolving towards sustainability. And this is the only way in which we can keep making progress.”

The other prizes to be awarded are for the most innovative packaging design, the most innovative aerosol product and the most creative aerosol marketing strategy. DETIC is looking forward to the announcement of the winners of these awards during the FEA’s International Congress and Exhibition.




In brief


Product environmental footprints

DETIC is actively involved in the European pilot project to calculate and publicise the environmental footprint of products.  A.I.S.E. (the European detergents association) – along  with DETIC and AFISE (the French association), Ecover, Vandeputte, Henkel, McBride, SC Johnson, Procter & Gamble and Unilever – has put forward a concrete project for two categories of product: laundry detergents and trigger-spray bathroom cleaners.  DETIC would also like to participate as stakeholders in the project submitted by Cosmetic Europe for shampoos.  The ball is rolling!


“I prefer 30°” to combat climate change

A.I.S.E. and DETIC have begun a major communication campaign to reduce the average washing temperature in Europe, especially in Belgium, where the detergent and distribution sectors have signed a sectoral agreement committing them to this.  DETIC is actively looking for partners to implement “I prefer 30°”, launched in Milan during Fashion Week by the European Commissioner for Climate Action. The mass campaign is expected to start in January 2014. Are you are interested? For more information, visit: and


Soleil Malin/Veilig in de zon

After a long and dreary winter, July and August warmed up little Belgium again! The sun shone brightly, and many Belgians enjoyed its rays.  DETIC took the opportunity to relaunch the “Soleil Malin/veilig in de zon” information campaign via Facebook.  Visit or .


Looking for a lab? We’ll find it!

DETIC has a new service for its members.  Together with a student who is a trainee cosmetologist, DETIC has produced a database of European laboratories that carry out trials on the properties of cosmetic products.  Are you looking for a lab for a classic or a “custom” substantiation? DETIC will supply you with the details of the laboratories that meet your expectations.


Belgian Alliance for Sustainable Palm Oil

DETIC has joined the Belgian Alliance for Sustainable Palm Oil.  Our sectors are constantly looking for sources of renewable raw materials that are sustainably managed, and palm oil is a first step in this process.  DETIC intends to raise the issue of the traceability of derivatives, in particular, that of surfactants.  For more information, visit our website FR or NL


DETIC members save 23,907 tonnes of CO2

By participating in the packaging recycling system introduced in Belgium by Fost Plus, DETIC members helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 23,907 tonnes of CO2 in 2012. The 2012 figure was calculated by Intertek-RDC.


International Classification Network

DETIC members will soon benefit from an exclusive advantage in accessing the ICN (International Classification Network).  The ICN, developed by European industry, is a service that provides access to “expert judgements” to evaluate the corrosiveness of formulae.  The ICN is based on test results rather than a calculation-based assessment, giving an efficient and more appropriate approach.  For more information, e-mail:


Information dates for your diary


28th International Congress of the FEA

Don’t miss the 28th International Aerosol Congress.  The 2013 meeting will be held in Madrid on 24, 25 and 26 September and will be enhanced with an exhibition.  For more information, visit:


DETIC - Biocide Training – Understanding and benefiting from the regulations

The regulations on biocides are no simple matter!  Yet the success of your products’ launch and market positioning in Belgium depends largely on understanding them properly.  What changes are required?  What timeframe is imposed?  How can you take advantage of this strict regulatory framework? 

From formulation to labelling, going via licencing, DETIC will provide you with the keys to success!  The meeting is on 30 October 2013. For more information, e-mail:


AISE Info Day 2013

Block your diary. AISE is organising its 10th Info Day for 3 December 2013, with the title “Safe use of cleaning products: making the label work and securing consistent consumer communication”.  This day will also mark the launch of the ICN tools (International Classification Network).





Responsible publisher: Frédérick Warzée -