Are Refined Borates in Your Sustainability Plan?

:: Thursday, February 16, 2023 :: Posted By Evan Stevens

Have you set sustainability goals this year but are unsure of how to reach them? Reducing waste and saving energy usually surface as obvious priorities.

However, these are not simple checklist items. They involve a series of small, sometimes complex, changes. That may leave you wondering: Where should I start?

A great first step is by assessing your process inputs. Using high quality materials, such as refined borates, can significantly improve manufacturing efficiency and advance sustainability progress.

Who you source process inputs from also matters. We take a collaborative approach to sustainability, closely partnering with like-minded customers that are looking to become more responsible producers.

See how numerous industries already benefit from boron’s unique properties to support energy efficiency and reduce waste—both in manufacturing processes and finished products.

How do refined borates save energy?

Refined borates have the capability to lower processing temperatures—which can save you money in your manufacturing process.

Borosilicate glass

Glass melting furnaceBorates’ unique properties are extremely useful in glassmaking fluxes. Adding 5-20% boric oxide to the silica base in a glass batch significantly lowers the melting temperature and gives you greater control over the melt’s consistency.

Recent research suggests anhydrous borates further reduce energy consumption by melting batches at even lower temperatures than hydrous counterparts. As a result, you can lower production costs and experience higher furnace throughput. Read more about the research on the value of anhydrous borates in glass.

Battery graphitization

The graphitization process for lithium-ion batteries consumes considerable amounts of energy because it requires temperatures near 3000°C. But, if borates are added before graphitization, you can lower the necessary treatment temperature while also improving the graphite’s electronic structure, resulting in a higher capacity.

Learn more about borates in batteries and capacitors

Metal smelting and refining

When refined borates are used in metallurgical fluxes, they not only reduce the melting temperature but also effectively dissolve metal oxide impurities. The outcome is metal that’s purer, and, in the case of metal recovery, reduces the amount of metal lost to slag.

Read more about borates in metallurgy

Reducing waste with refined borates

As a manufacturer, you’re always looking for ways to cut back on waste. If successful, you can achieve significant cost savings and improve your reputation in customers’ eyes.

However, waste extends beyond manufacturing to the-fully finished products themselves. If you truly want to reduce waste, you must first recognize the need to prevent your products from becoming waste. Refined borates support this goal by:

  • Increasing durability
  • Enhancing protection


Borates provide greater thermal expansion control in glass, making the material more resistant to sudden temperature swings, which can crack or break glass and render it waste.

Refined borates not only prevent glass from becoming waste by fortifying its durability, but they also help glassmakers employ recycled glass waste—called “cullet”—in glass melts. With refined borates, you can ensure quality, consistency, and optimize the raw materials mix in the melt.

Watch how one of our partners uses recycled glass in product manufacturing


For ceramic products, borates increase durability by creating stronger, scratch-resistant wares. Using a proper concentration of boric oxide (B2O3) in a glaze improves its chemical and mechanical durability. That reduces the product’s susceptibility to damage and ultimately being tossed in the trash.

Download our technical bulletin: Borates in ceramics


Wood as a sustainable building materialModern builders prefer to source sustainable, durable materials. Wood remains a top material choice because it’s strong, sustainable (low carbon), and extremely energy efficient.

Refined borates play a key lifecycle role, supporting wood’s vitality and health throughout. Boron is an essential micronutrient for tree growth. Once harvested, refined borates equip wood products with multi-dimensional protection against harmful actors, ranging from flame to moisture to pests. Treating wood with the right borate concentration and application method ensures long-lasting protection, which helps avoid costly repairs. Learn how borates protect environmentally sustainable wood products.


Corrosion is metal’s top enemy, threatening to compromise its integrity. Borates prevent corrosion by forming a protective layer on metal surfaces to stop oxidation. Without this borate shield, metal may be irreversibly damaged and result in waste.

Download our technical bulletin: Borates in metallurgical applications

Improvement never stops

Our team is eager to help you find better ways to achieve more responsible, sustainable operations through refined borates.

We bring robust knowledge and experience of how borates will react in certain production environments, so you can lower your impact.

If you’re looking for more details on how borates reduce waste and save energy in a specific use case, visit our application pages. Or contact our technical support team.




U.S. Borax, part of Rio Tinto, is a global leader in the supply and science of borates—naturally-occurring minerals containing boron and other elements. We are 1,000 people serving 650 customers with more than 1,800 delivery locations globally. We supply around 30% of the world’s need for refined borates from our world-class mine in Boron, California, about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles.  Learn more about Rio Tinto.

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