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Engineering Materials

Providing you with low carbon circular materials for a sustainable future

Plastic pollution poses significant health risks to people and the planet. Legislators are increasing pressure on manufacturers to adopt circular material solutions that leave a low carbon footprint. However, finding a supplier that offers sustainable plastics that don’t compromise on quality can be a challenge. DSM leads you high-performance component manufacturers and brands through the transition from linear to circular production models. Our advanced circular material solutions are produced using low carbon bio and recycled based feedstocks and processes, enabling you to achieve sustainability targets.

Embracing a circular economy is vital to preserving the planet. Globally, only 9% of plastic waste is recycled each year, while the majority is incinerated, discarded in landfills or dumped in oceans, with unacceptable consequences. Burning plastic releases harmful chemicals into the atmosphere, while leaving it in landfills or oceans toxifies ecosystems and their species.

Manufacturers of plastic components are taking steps to improve product sustainability by adopting closed-loop processes and selecting materials that are free from substances of concern and easier to recycle. However, in addition to using up substantial fossil fuel resources, the global plastics manufacturing industry generates 232 million tons of CO2 emissions per year – the equivalent of 116 coal-fired power plants. As a result, governments and consumers are putting more pressure on manufacturers to leverage circular material solutions that leave a lower carbon footprint.

Helping you produce safe and sustainable components

At the core of our business, we help many industries restructure supply chains around renewable resources. Our global teams of material and application design specialists help you rethink product lifecycles and develop high-quality circular products that comply with increasingly strict environmental regulations. Industry-leading automotive, electronics and industrial equipment manufacturers rely on our advanced materials to produce safe and reliable parts that move their sustainability goals forward.

Delivering you best-in-class circular solutions    

This year, DSM launched its new Simply Circular™ initiative to guide our approach to helping you shift from linear production models to circular ones. Our mass balanced material solutions leave a reduced carbon footprint, enabling you and your customers to decarbonize value chains. We offer a range of mass balanced bio-based and chemically recycled feedstocks – giving suppliers the flexibility to choose a sustainable polymer that meets strict performance and design requirements.

These efforts are driven by our goal to transform our complete material portfolio to offer a full range of green engineering plastic materials, which contain at least 25% bio- or recycled-based content by weight in final products. Many of our sustainable alternatives to fossil-based materials are already on the market, with a complete selection planned for launch by 2030.  

In addition to aligning with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, our Simply Circular materials meet performance requirements for customer applications. Our mass-balanced materials can serve as drop-in solutions into widely-used production processes – saving re-tooling time and costs. We provide sustainability certificates, including International Sustainability Carbon Certification (ISCC) Plus, verifying compliance with standards set by environmental regulatory bodies and preventing greenwashing by providing full transparency on all feedstocks used in our materials.

Advancing our bio-based material innovation   

EcoPaXX® PA410, our groundbreaking bio-based engineering thermoplastic, is optimized for applications that require high mechanical strength and low moisture uptake. The polyamide is derived from the beans of castor plants, which don’t compete with food chains and offset the emissions generated during production of the material – further reducing its carbon footprint.

With its high versatility, EcoPaXX PA410 is ideal for producing engine covers, faucet systems and window profiles. You can also leverage Arnitel®, Stanyl® and Akulon® grades containing bio-based content to manufacture smart device components, food packaging, sportswear and more.

Giving new life to abandoned fishing nets

Each year, an estimated 10 million tons of plastic waste ends up in the ocean – damaging coral reefs and resulting in the death of 1 million marine animals. In 2018, we launched Akulon® RePurposed, a 100% recycled polymer made from discarded fishing nets. The material contains fully recycled polyamide 6 and is available as unfilled grade or in several glass fiber reinforced grades.

Our team reprocesses the plastic netting and reinforces it with glass fibre to create robust PA6 grades. The material has been used to produce parts for Samsung Galaxy smart devices, Ford Bronco Sport vehicles, and high-end surfboards.

Reducing our carbon footprint

Beyond introducing circular products, we reduce the carbon footprint of our materials by improving the processes in our own operations and working closely with our suppliers. This includes reducing emissions generated as raw materials are sourced, refined and further processed in our facilities. Our sustainability experts conduct in-depth lifecycle analyses of our products based on ISO14040/14044 standards, which are externally verified by a third party.

In 2020 we cut the carbon footprint of our Akulon PA6 materials in half ­– making them the lowest carbon PA6 solution available in Europe. We are also on track to lower our own emissions by using 100% renewable electricity in all our plants by 2025 and achieving carbon neutrality in all our facilities by 2040.  

Protecting our planet is an imperative yet complex responsibility that we all share. At DSM, we continuously re-evaluate how to reduce the impact of our materials on the environment, and proactively share this information with you. With our reputation for helping our customers embrace greener material solutions and cleaner manufacturing processes, we’re ready to help you comply with shifting environmental regulations and deliver products with sustainability built into their DNA.

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Published on

11 May 2022

Tags

  • Sustainability
  • Akulon

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christa Chiche-Weber

Sustainability Program Manager

Christa Chiche-Weber is Sustainability Program Manager. She holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Sheffield, UK. Christa has been with DSM since 2010 and has held several positions in global research and technology, and sustainability within DSM. She is passionate about sustainability and a strong believer in the circular economy.

 

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