KLONDIKE ENVIRO AW Inherently Biodegradable Hydraulic Fluids blog post and FAQs


Environmentally-Friendly, Non-Toxic, Zinc-Free Formula

This blog post answers the following Frequently Asked Questions:

KLONDIKE is pleased to introduce a full range of Inherently Biodegradable Hydraulic Fluids across Canada: ENVIRO AW 22, 32, 46, and 68; designed as an environmentally safer alternative to traditional zinc-based hydraulic fluids.

To support the launch of these products, we’re answering frequently asked questions we’ve received about our full range of biodegradable hydraulic fluids.

What Does Biodegradable Mean?

The definition of biodegradable means that a material or substance is capable of being decomposed by microorganisms. An example would be bacteria breaking down food scraps into water and carbon dioxide, which then mixes into the earth and atmosphere without leaving any toxic residue behind.

Why are Biodegradable Fluids Important?

Despite recent advancements in heavy machinery lubrication systems, there is no guarantee that a connection, hose, or seal won’t breakdown or leak. With the amount of work being performed in environmentally sensitive industries such as mining, forestry, exploration, construction, transportation, marine, and agriculture, there has been a growing need to protect these ecosystems in the event of accidental oil spills or leaks.

What Biodegradable Hydraulic Fluid Options are Available?

Different substances biodegrade at different rates. Within the oils and lubricants industry, fluid biodegradability falls into two main categories:


Lubricants that biodegrade by more than 60% within 28 days.

To achieve this rating, lubricants are typically formulated with plant-based oils (soy, canola) and/or synthesized esters, and must not contain any heavy metals, such as zinc.

Additives containing zinc are common in lubricants because of zinc’s exceptional anti-wear properties, so readily biodegradable lubricants must use alternative anti-wear chemistry, which are available but cost more to formulate.

KLONDIKE’s current range of Readily Biodegradable Hydraulic Fluids include:


Lubricants that biodegrade by more than 20%, but less than 60%, within 28 days.

To achieve this rating, lubricants may be made with plant or synthetic base oils, but often include highly refined virgin base oil. These fluids must also use additive chemistry that is free of zinc and other heavy metals.

KLONDIKE’s current range of Inherently Biodegradable Hydraulic Fluids include:

Within the oils and lubricants industry, the test that measures the rate of fluid biodegradation is OECD 301B (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Test No. 301).

What are the Differences Between KLONDIKE BIO AW Hydraulic Fluids and KLONDIKE ENVIRO AW Hydraulic Fluids?

The biggest difference between KLONDIKE’s range of Readily Biodegradable (BIO AW) Hydraulic Fluids and Inherently Biodegradable (ENVIRO AW) Hydraulic Fluids is the base oil chemistry. Not only does this affect the rate of biodegradability, it also affects the performance properties, lifespan, and manufacturing cost.

Below is a simplified chart that will help compare the differences. While this chart is helpful as a guide, we recommend you contact the KLONDIKE Client Care Team for more clarity about what hydraulic fluids will perform best for your particular application.

KLONDIKE Readily Biodegradable Hydraulic Fluids and Inherently Biodegradable Hydraulic Fluids comparison chart

And always refer to your equipment owner manual for correct viscosity grade recommendations.

What Happens in the Event of a Biodegradable Hydraulic Fluid Spill?

Spills of Readily and Inherently Biodegradable Hydraulic Fluids still need to be reported the same way as conventional zinc-based oils, but many regulatory agencies treat them differently, with less severe penalties and soil cleanup.

Project managers, equipment operators, and service technicians must keep in mind that regardless of the biodegradability level of the fluids, there is no substitute for regular service and maintenance. Preventing oil spills and leaks, and ensuring your equipment is operating at peak performance will always be more cost effective in the long run.

Where Can I Find KLONDIKE Biodegradable Hydraulic Fluids?

KLONDIKE BIO and ENVIRO AW Biodegradable Hydraulic Fluids are available at participating KLONDIKE dealers, in all 13 Provinces and Territories throughout Canada.

Please call toll-free 1-877-293-4691 or email us to find a dealer near you.

And for more technical information about this product range, including available viscosity grades, product data sheets, and safety data sheets, please visit the KLONDIKE Biodegradable Lubricants product family page.

KLONDIKE Lubricants Corporation is an independent Canadian company with oils and lubricants distribution facilities in:
Greater Vancouver, BC ● Edmonton, AB ● Winnipeg, MB ● Greater Toronto, ON ● Moncton, NB