SABIC Expands Post-Consumer Recycled Engineering Thermoplastics

Chemical manufacturing company SABIC, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, responding to calls from major brands in the consumer electronics business and electrics and electronics (E&E) industry as a whole for more sustainable materials, has announced that its engineering thermoplastics business is expanding its portfolio of CYCOLOY™ and LEXAN™ resins containing high levels of post-consumer recycled (PCR) material. Typical applications for the portfolio will include consumer electronics and such accessories as chargers and adapters, printers, copiers and laptop housing.

The new PCR material is blended with the virgin material to create compounds with PCR levels of initially up to 30 percent. According to an internal SABIC life cycle assessment (LCA) study, these compounds offer potentially significant reductions in carbon footprint of up to 25 percent and in energy consumption of up to 30 percent compared to virgin material.

SABIC hopes to be able to offer materials with PCR content of up to 60 percent in 2021. The compounds and their properties will be tailored according to different industry requirements.

Sergi Monros, vice president of performance polymers and industry solutions for petrochemicals at SABIC, said the initiative to produce a broader portfolio of engineering thermoplastics with PCR content complements the company’s existing efforts in making base resins from certified renewable feedstock. Together, its circular solutions from the TRUCIRCLE™ portfolio and services can help to improve plastic recyclability, lower emissions and drive towards closing the loop on used plastic. The company’s vision of a circular economy requires collaboration across the value chain, and SABIC is committed to working with downstream and upstream partners to drive the transformation needed.

The extended range of materials will contain PCR polycarbonate coming from applications such as five-gallon water bottles and optical media. Monros said that such products are made with clear polycarbonate, and they are easy to obtain, sort and clean. The company also is investigating use of PCR polycarbonate from end-of-life automotive applications such as headlights and dashboards.

Within the expanded portfolio, SABIC also will develop materials to meet the various needs of different players in the market, grades with different levels of flame retardance, reaching up to 5VB @ 1.5 mm, targeting various business equipment applications and electrical applications such as internal components. The company also will offer grades with PCR content for applications that require good clarity. The new portfolio will encompass both unfilled grades and grades containing filler.

SABIC has set very strict requirements on the quality of the incoming PCR material, which it will acquire by partnering with approved suppliers who will source feedstock from around the world. SABIC will obtain the PCR material in ready-to-process granular form, to be compliant with China’s policies on plastics waste.

The new PCR materials form part of SABIC’s TRUCIRCLE portfolio and services, which showcases the company’s circular innovations and can help to provide manufacturers with access to more sustainable materials. In doing so, SABIC aims to help manufacturers give the end-consumer more confidence about buying products with the knowledge that the material can be recycled and repurposed, or that it has been produced in a way that can help protect our planet’s natural resources. The TRUCIRCLE portfolio spans design for recyclability, mechanically recycled products, certified circular products from feedstock recycling of used plastic and certified renewables products from bio-based feedstock.

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