K2019 - the world’s leading trade show for plastics and rubber – is approaching and exhibitors are starting to stir themselves. One thing is clear: the sustainability theme has once again been strongly embraced by participants across the board.
As action to tackle the challenge of plastic pollution gains momentum, including a new international framework signed by G20 ministers to address marine plastic waste, specialty chemical company Clariant announces proactive steps to foster partnerships and create a more sustainable plastics industry through a “Symphony of Collaboration”.
Whilst plastic has been described as the ‘success story of the 20th century’, its sustainability is increasingly under the spotlight. Every year, about 200-million tons are disposed of in landfills and about eight-million tons leak into our oceans. Responding to consumer-led concern around this waste, Clariant’s “Symphony of Collaboration” recognizes that regulators, industry and society have a responsibility to work more closely to drive design for, and innovation in, the reduction, reuse and recycling of plastics.
At K 2019, Clariant will shine a light on collaborative sustainability projects and the products behind them, supporting the development of solutions that will be adopted in the market. This includes the launch of a major new company-wide initiative specifically focused on plastics’ recycling. It aims to change the current take-make-dispose consumer attitude, moving towards a circular economy for post-consumer and post-industrial plastic through three key elements: the development of product and system solutions for recycling; partnerships with players across the recycling ecosystem to draw on different perspectives and develop new solutions; achieving a vast and diverse understanding of the challenges by sharing knowledge across different recycling technologies and the value chain of recycling.
Already, one important partnership has delivered some breakthrough results. Together with the Finnish oil refining company, Neste, which is passionate about giving fat residues and discarded cooking oils a second life, Clariant has been exploring opportunities to use renewable hydrocarbons, derived from this waste. More will be revealed at K, including new products for plastic applications based on mass-balance certification for usage of renewable polyolefins.
With a partner for Near Infrared (NIR) scanners , Clariant developed new colorants for the black coloration of plastics that can be identified by NIR sorting devices. This new range of black colorants can be used for various polymers (e.g. Polyolefins, PET, PA) and applications such as packaging and E&E. This offers brand owners and masterbatch producers new opportunities.
In line with making recycling a viable option, Clariant announces a support boost for effective mono-material consumer solutions. A key priority here is ensuring the attractiveness of virgin PET for packaging. At K 2019, Clariant will launch its new masterbatch for PET destined for the food and beverage market. The patented oxygen scavenger is based on a new molecule that goes beyond existing solutions for PET in protecting content shelf life and taste. It’s proving a real success in initial customer trials, offering the potential to address a number of challenges for packaging producers in one solution.
In a further drive for collaboration, Clariant is also taking its EcoTain® label, currently awarded to a portfolio of more than 200 products that show outstanding sustainability advantages, to the next level. EcoTain is being expanded to include EcoTain Partnerships that will foster collaboration between at least three partners in the value chain to create concrete sustainability and business impacts, and advance environmental protection and the circular economy. At K 2019, Clariant will issue an open invitation to companies to come together and collaborate specifically on one particularly challenging aspect of recycling.
Clariant’s Richard Haldimann, Head of Innovation Excellence and Business Incubator, said that the company is proud to be fostering these partnerships across the value chain, from producer to recycler: “Clariant has been providing solutions to reduce the use of plastics, extend their lifetime to enable reuse, and supporting recycling for years. But we’ve learned from experience that the wider problem can’t be solved at an individual company level. It’s a system problem and collaboration is key.”
The Symphony of Collaboration has begun, and will continue, to open dialogs, develop and deploy projects that minimize and manage plastic waste and promote plastic post-use solutions, helping to turn brand owners’ and manufacturers’ sustainability commitments into achievable goals. Advancing plastics in these directions through dedicated cooperation is the chosen way forward. Clariant believes it will more effectively find the optimal solutions for the recycling challenge of its customers, increasing the attractiveness and functionality of post-consumer and post-industrial recyclate. And ensure additives such as flame retardants or pigments don’t stand in the way of an application’s recyclability or biodegradability or the adoption of renewable-based plastics.
With EU, and other national plastics regulations, set to come into force within the next five years, it’s clear that collaboration, innovation and solutions to plastics waste are not only necessary, they must begin now.
Clariant is set to reveal several further exciting collaborations and the sustainable products behind them as well as its plans for EcoTain at K 2019, October 19-23, Düsseldorf, Germany (Hall 8a Booth J11). Insights and updates are available ahead of the show at http://www.clariant.com/K2019.