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Covestro introduces polycarbonates from recycled, attributed materials for high purity applications

Premiere at the Chinaplas 2024 trade fair from April 23rd to 26th in Shanghai

At the Chinaplas 2024 international trade fair in Shanghai, Covestro introduces a range of polycarbonates based on chemically recycled, attributed material from post-consumer waste via mass balance for the first time: Makrolon® RP. In connection with its complete alignment to the circular economy, Covestro relies, among other things, on intensive collaboration with partners. For this project, the company is cooperating with two suppliers, Neste and Borealis, on the developments and for its own supply of the corresponding raw materials.

Initial market engagement with automotive brand owners for a serial application of a high-purity polycarbonate is promising, it would represent having a transparent polycarbonate attributed with chemically recycled raw materials.

“We are very excited to expand our existing portfolio of more sustainable polycarbonates with this new product range, which marks another milestone in building the circular economy,” explains Lily Wang, Global Head of the Engineering Plastics Business Entity at Covestro. “Together with our partners, we are already helping to conserve fossil resources and to give a second life to existing waste streams. We also support our customers in achieving their sustainability goals by providing materials that meet the highest purity standards.”

Recycled raw materials in trend

More and more industries are asking for products with a specific proportion of recycled raw materials, also in the expectation of upcoming regulatory requirements or voluntary programs, such as the European End-of-Life Vehicle Directive under review (ELV) and the U.S. Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) for electronics products. The RP series offers identical quality as incumbent fossil grades and belong to Covestro’s CQ family. The company uses this suffix to identify products that contain at least 25 percent alternative raw materials. At certain sites, such as Krefeld-Uerdingen in Germany, the plastics in the new range are also produced exclusively using renewable electricity.

The input for Makrolon® RP is provided by Neste and Borealis: Neste provides high-quality recycled feedstock for new polymers, which is then turned into phenol and acetone by Borealis before it finds its way to Covestro’s site to produce Makrolon® RP.

“Through chemical recycling, we can enable recycled content even for the most demanding applications,” says Jeroen Verhoeven, Vice President Value Chain Development for Neste’s polymers and chemicals business. “Therewith, we can help companies across various sectors to achieve their recycling-related targets – and we are excited to see Covestro put it into motion.”

“Borealis is very happy to support Covestro in this important initiative – helping to provide credible sustainable solutions and demonstrating the importance of value chain cooperation to give new value to waste,” says Thomas Van De Velde, Borealis Senior Vice President Base Chemicals.

In addition to applications in the automotive industry, Covestro also wants to address other key industries such as the electrical & electronics and the healthcare industry. The aim is to manufacture high-quality and durable products with chemically recycled attributed feedstocks. At the end of a long usage phase, the plastics can still achieve a “third product life” through mechanical recycling and the further development of chemical recycling technologies.

The new series complements Covestro’s existing portfolio of more sustainable polycarbonates – the mechanically recycled Makrolon® R products and certified mass-balanced grades of the Makrolon® RE series, which are produced using biowaste and bio-residues. The RE series are now also available with 25 percent renewable attributed sustainable share.

SOURCE: Covestro

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