Covestro Unveils Recycled Polycarbonates for High-Purity Applications
Covestro Unveils Recycled Polycarbonates for High-Purity Applications

Covestro Unveils Recycled Polycarbonates for High-Purity Applications

  • 25-Apr-2024 1:41 PM
  • Journalist: Sasha Fernandes

At the Chinaplas 2024 international trade fair held in Shanghai, Covestro debuts Makrolon® RP, a line of polycarbonates derived from chemically recycled post-consumer waste using mass balance attribution for the first time. As part of its commitment to the circular economy, Covestro emphasizes collaborative efforts with partners, including suppliers like Neste and Borealis, for the development and sourcing of raw materials for this initiative.

The initial market discussions with automotive brand owners regarding the serial application of a high-purity polycarbonate are encouraging. This application would involve the use of a transparent polycarbonate attributed to chemically recycled raw materials.

"We're thrilled to enhance our current range of more sustainable polycarbonates with this latest product line, representing another significant step in advancing the circular economy," says Lily Wang, Global Head of the Engineering Plastics Business Entity at Covestro. " In partnership with our collaborators, we are actively involved in conserving fossil resources and repurposing waste streams. Moreover, we're assisting our customers in fulfilling their sustainability objectives by offering materials that adhere to the strictest purity criteria."

Increasingly, various industries are seeking products incorporating a specified portion of recycled materials, partly in anticipation of forthcoming regulatory mandates or voluntary initiatives. Examples include the European End-of-Life Vehicle Directive (ELV), currently under review, and the U.S. Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) for electronics. The RP series maintains the same quality standards as conventional fossil-based grades and is part of Covestro's CQ family, denoting products containing a minimum of 25 percent alternative raw materials. Moreover, at select facilities like Krefeld-Uerdingen in Germany, the plastics in this new range are exclusively manufactured using renewable electricity.

Neste and Borealis are the suppliers of the input materials for Makrolon® RP: Neste furnishes premium recycled feedstock for fresh polymers, which Borealis subsequently transforms into phenol and acetone. These components then proceed to Covestro's facility for the production of Makrolon® RP.

"By employing chemical recycling, we can incorporate recycled materials into even the most stringent applications," remarks Jeroen Verhoeven, Vice President of Value Chain Development for Neste’s polymers and chemicals division. "This allows us to assist companies across diverse sectors in reaching their recycling objectives – and we are thrilled to witness Covestro putting this into action."

"Collaborating with Covestro on this significant initiative is a source of great satisfaction for Borealis – it underscores our commitment to offering credible sustainable solutions and highlights the significance of cooperation throughout the value chain to impart new value to waste," remarks Thomas Van De Velde, Senior Vice President of Base Chemicals at Borealis.

Apart from serving the automotive sector, Covestro aims to cater to vital industries like electrical & electronics and healthcare. The objective is to produce top-notch, long-lasting items using chemically recycled raw materials. Even after extensive use, these plastics can potentially undergo a "third product life" through mechanical recycling and advancements in chemical recycling technologies.

The latest series enhances Covestro's current range of eco-friendly polycarbonates, which includes the mechanically recycled Makrolon® R line and the Makrolon® RE series, featuring certified mass-balanced grades made from biowaste and bio-residues. The RE series now offers a 25 percent sustainable share attributed to renewables.

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