The Chemical Industry and UN Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good Health & Well-Being

I am happy to launch Resinate’s 2019 blog series, where each month we will focus on a different UN Sustainable Development Goal and the chemical industry’s impact. If you are not familiar with the goals, Pyxera Global has an excellent infographic that provides a nice summary.

The chemical industry is essential to sustainable development, and green chemistry is its path forward. Human health and well-being is a prime example of the impact green chemistry innovations can have.  The EPA gives several human health benefits of green chemistry including cleaner air and water, increased safety for workers in the chemical industry, safer consumer products of all types, and safer food.

Goal 3 includes several targets, with target 3.9 stating, By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water, and soil pollution and contamination.” This target is right in line with several of the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry (including design less hazardous chemical syntheses; design safer chemicals and products; use safer solvents and reaction conditions; design products to degrade after used; analyze in real time to prevent pollution, and minimize the potential for accidents.)

Chemical industry leaders like Covestro are already recognizing the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals. Covestro has a goal to align their R&D project portfolio with them- and appears to be well on its way to achieving it. As an example, they have products for the medical industry that are improving human health, like the biocompatible polycarbonate resin, MAKROLON®. The company also works to prevent air, water and soil pollution by partnering along the value chain to create processes to strengthen a circular economy. In 2017, they established a central coordinating office for the circular economy.

Steelcase, a furniture manufacturer, uses a materials chemistry practice to assess materials in their supply chain and understand their potential impacts on human and environmental health. To date, they have assessed over 1,600 materials. This allows them to identify materials of concern, eliminate them, and work with their supply chain to develop sustainable alternatives.

At Resinate, our number one goal is always safety. This is why we have invested to create a strong safety culture that encourages and empowers employees to identify and eliminate hazards before they cause harm. We also consistently seek to use and create safer materials; as well as develop partnerships across the entire value chain that allow us to prevent waste and pollution by creating a circular economy.

90% of manufactured goods are in some way linked to the chemical industry.1 It is our collective responsibility to ensure that as industry and the population continue to grow, it does so in a sustainable way that improves the lives and well-being of all.

Mark Maxwell
Business Director

 

1. An Agenda to Mainstream Green Chemistry, Strategies for Innovation, Research and Adoption by the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council

From Medical Packaging Waste to High-Performance Coatings; A Case Study

From Medical Packaging Waste to High-Performance Coatings; A Case Study

The Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council states that healthcare facilities in the United States generate approximately 14,000 tons of waste per day, most of which is being disposed of in landfills or by incineration. It is estimated that 25% of this is plastic packaging and plastic products.1 In fact, according to BCC Research, more than 10 billion pounds of plastic healthcare packaging was placed on the market in 2013 and only 14% of that was collected for recycling.2

Hospitals say the waste is stockpiling because balancing patient safety, cost and sustainability is difficult. It doesn’t help that haulers and recyclers often have concerns about and shy away from healthcare waste – even though the World Health Organization estimates that 85% of hospital waste is noninfectious.3  Concerns grew at the beginning of 2018, when China placed an import ban on 24 types of recyclable materials, including plastics used in soda bottles, as part of an environmental reform movement designed to deal with its own growing waste problems.4

As we have seen in other markets, creating a successful circular economy for healthcare plastics will require educating and collaborating across the entire value chain. Hospital environments are busy and intense, so it needs to be simple and easy for employees to properly dispose of and sort the recyclable materials. Training may be needed on this subject, and champions are critical. Antea Group suggests starting with a few items and gradually adding other materials.2 However, the hesitation from some recyclers and haulers mentioned above will need to be addressed, and we must continue to seek new outlets for this and other recycled material.

Because of our commitment to the circular economy and solving the broader plastic waste problem, the team at Resinate was willing to help when the Plastics Industry Association and the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council reached out to us with a project.5

The overall goal of the project was to determine if PETG scrap from healthcare facilities, which have a significant embedded energy history and environmental footprint, can be upcycled into valuable assets. The data from this project showed promising performance from the resulting recycled PETG polyols. While much work remains to streamline this process across the value chain, it is now believed that this material could be used to create high-performing polyols for adhesives, sealants, elastomers, foams, and melamine-based coatings.  

To learn more about this project, view the recycling today article here.

Rick Tabor
Chief Technology Officer

 

1. https://www.hprc.org/about-hprc   2. https://www.plasticstoday.com/medical/healthcare-plastics-recycling-project-identifies-challenges-opportunities/91876758547448   3. http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/health-care-waste   4. https://www.eesi.org/articles/view/turning-chinas-ban-of-recyclable-imports-into-americas-opportunity   5. https://www.recyclingtoday.com/article/petg-medical-packaging-recycling/

Cross-Industry Collaboration, A Disruptive Force

Cross-Industry Collaboration, A Disruptive Force

As government regulations become increasingly strict and consumer awareness continues to drive demand for greener, safer products, the pressure to innovate is mounting. The chemical industry, in particular, feels a great deal of this pressure with countless downstream industries depending on it as the foundation for their greener products. (90% of manufactured goods are in some way linked to the chemical industry.1)

Developing and implementing these greener products and practices is no small feat – as Joel Tickner of GC3 states, it “will require strategic thinking, coordinated and collaborative activities, careful planning, resources, and time.”

Green chemistry innovation requires a unique set of expertise and resources – and it takes more than chemical manufacturers alone to fully acquire and harness this disruptive force. Businesses, NGOs, government and academic sectors must collaborate in support of one goal – to advance the adoption of green chemistry. Governments can support and provide resources with legislation and funding (e.g. Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge). The academic sector can create strong programs to train the next generation of green chemists and can collaborate with businesses to conduct pivotal research (sign on in support of GC3’s policy statement on green chemistry in higher education). Non-profits advocate for change, enhance information flow, support informed decision making, connect firms across sectors, and support funding. Businesses must be willing to take calculated risks and invest time and resources for the purpose of being a leader in the future of chemistry. Just one of these pieces missing creates a roadblock for innovation and implementation.

As a company on a mission to advance green chemistry, Resinate has partnered with companies like Ford Motor Company and organizations like the Plastics Industry Association to explore how we can partner along the value chain to advance green chemistry adoption. These partnerships have confirmed what we already knew to be true – that green technologies will only be adopted if they are high performing and competitive in price. The results show that green chemistry innovation and collaboration can deliver performance, value, and sustainability in one package, but work to engage the entire value chain remains. Look out for more on this subject in the coming months.

For those of you who have not yet attended, I strongly encourage you to look into the GC3 Innovators Roundtable. The Resinate leadership team has been attending for several years now and has found great value in the unique opportunity to connect with so many people across supply chains and sectors, all in one place.

If we continue to collaborate and innovate, green chemistry can transform the industry and the world.

Mark Maxwell
Business Director

1. An Agenda to Mainstream Green Chemistry, Strategies for Innovation, Research and Adoption by the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council

Using Green Chemistry to Drive Material Efficiency and Value Gains

Using Green Chemistry to Drive Material Efficiency and Value Gains

According to the ACS Green Chemistry Institute®, green chemistry enables scientists to protect and benefit the economy, people and planet through the design, development and implementation of safer, more sustainable chemical products and processes. At Resinate, we believe green chemistry also enables downstream material efficiency and value gains.

Efficiency Gains
Cradle to Cradle® is a design framework that goes beyond ‘cradle to grave’ for designing sustainable products with materials that are in abundance in a circular economy.1 Due to robust performance properties, one material with a substantial opportunity for Cradle to Cradle use is polyethylene terephthalate (PET). A study conducted by Sustainable Solutions Corporation2 found that recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) demonstrated significantly less cumulative energy demand when compared to virgin or bio-based PET. Recycled materials have a significant energy and environmental footprint already paid to that point, considering the resources used to mine, transport and process them. This previous investment means that recycled materials can come into new product processing at a state closer to the intended end use. This can mean more efficient material processing when compared to virgin or bio-based feedstocks.

Value Gains
It is important to distinguish the difference between Resinate’s view of various recycling methods- downcycling, which degrades material performance and longevity; and upcycling, which builds performance and extends the material’s lifecycle. For example, when a PET bottle is reclaimed, it goes through many processing steps to become a usable flake or pellet material. In the case of a downcycling method, that flake or pellet material is then melted down and remolded into new plastic consumer goods. However, the melting process results in a loss of performance properties that existed in the virgin material- things like toughness, flexibility and chemical resistance. To correct that degradation of material, virgin material has to be blended into the recycled content. Each time the material is recycled thereafter, you lose more of those performance properties, meaning even more virgin material has to be added. This cycle can only be repeated four or five times, on average, before you have lost any basis of performance properties in the original material. Although commonly referred to as recycling, this process is actually downcycling, as it results in the degradation of performance, value and ultimate longevity of the material.

For more information about the ACS Green Chemistry Institute, visit acs.org. 

Mark Maxwell
Business Director

1 McDonough, William & Braungart, Michael. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things.  Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2002.
Sustainable Solutions Corporation; May 2014.

Green Chemistry Curriculum for Advancement of Sustainable Innovation

Green Chemistry Curriculum for Advancement of Sustainable Innovation

As environmental and social consciousness continue to drive demand for green chemistry solutions, universities have a key role to play in preparing tomorrow’s chemists. I am excited to see schools across the country developing courses, certificate programs and full curriculums dedicated to sustainable and green chemistry design.

As a company on a mission to advance the use of recycled content in green chemistry solutions, the Resinate team has traveled the country to share our knowledge and inspire other companies to adopt more sustainable feedstock materials. We know, however, that real change comes when sustainability is built into the front-end of chemistry design. It is excellent to see that many companies and organizations are supporting universities as they prepare future chemists to do just that.

The American Chemical Society has several useful resources for anyone trying to teach, learn more about, or help advance education around green chemistry. One of my favorite pages from this portion of their website is a list of educational resources that includes activities and experiments grouped by student grade level as well as Green Chemistry Pocket Guides, amongst other excellent resources. They have also compiled a list of green chemistry academic programs in the United States. Many of the schools included in this list have an ACS Student Chapter that is eligible to win an award if they complete three or more green chemistry outreach or educational activities during the school year.

The Green Chemistry and Commerce Council is another organization working to support green chemistry education. They have established a policy statement on green chemistry in higher education that I strongly encourage you and your company to sign on in support of as we have at Resinate!

Rick Tabor
Chief Technology Officer

Gary Spilman, Ph.D. to Present at 2018 American Coatings Show

Gary Spilman, Ph.D. to Present at 2018 American Coatings Show

Resinate Materials Group, a company advancing the use of recycled content in specialty polyols, is pleased to announce that Dr. Gary Spilman, Research Fellow, will present at the 2018 American Coatings Show.

Dr. Spilman’s presentation, titled Sustainable, Low Emissions, High-Performance Polyols for Wood Coatings, will review how Resinate has achieved polyol and coating innovations using recycled and renewable content. Resinate will be exhibiting in booth 2687 this year.

American Coatings Show and Conference, a biannual technical conference for the coating industry, will bring chemists, formulators, and R&D personnel together April 9 – 12, 2017, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dr. Spilman is scheduled to present at 10:00 a.m., on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. For more information, or to register, visit www.american-coatings-show.com.

To register for free trade show admission, visit https://www.tradeshowregistrar.com/regsystem_rs/?event=ACS2018&brand=EB-312

About Resinate Materials Group

Resinate Materials Group is committed to advancing the use of recycled content in specialty polyols, the backbone of materials such as coatings, adhesives, sealants, elastomers, and foams. Since 2007, Resinate has been innovating ways to divert landfill waste, extend the lifecycle of finite resources, and upcycle used molecules into valuable green chemistry solutions.

For more information, contact Resinate at +1 (800) 891-2955, or visit www.resinateinc.com.

Upcycling as a Circular Economy Approach to Chemistry

Upcycling as a Circular Economy Approach to Chemistry

“There’s a world of opportunity to rethink and redesign the way we make stuff.” – The Ellen MacArthur Foundation

As a 30-year chemical industry veteran, I know that our industry’s growth is directly correlated with our ability to find sustainable feedstock solutions. That is why I chose to join Resinate Materials Group in 2013. I was drawn to what is now my shared commitment to pioneer the use of recycled content in specialty chemical applications.

The traditional chemical value chain relies on a linear model of resource use- typically called the “take, make, dispose” model. Natural resources, such as petroleum, are mined from the earth and processed into high-value chemistry solutions. However, at the end of the product lifecycle, those products are often discarded in landfills as waste; thereby, losing all of the inherent value of the initial investment.

However, the good news is that these growing waste streams actually provide an opportunity for a Circular Economy approach to chemistry. The opportunity we’re discussing is not an opportunity to completely replace the traditional linear value chain, but rather an opportunity to create a new, complimentary one- a value chain that significantly extends the life of these valuable and finite resources.

 Resinate’s proprietary technology allows us to harvest post-consumer and post-industrial materials at a molecular level- thus diverting these resources that still retain significant value from the landfill. Those molecules are then used to create high-performance chemistry solutions, potentially taking materials such as automotive waste and harvesting molecules to be used to create and deliver upcycled chemistry solutions back into other automotive applications. This example and many others like it demonstrate the very real potential for a truly Circular Economy approach to green chemistry.

Brian Chermside
CEO & President

Rethinking Green Chemistry

RETHINKING GREEN CHEMISTRY

In the quest for greener chemistry, bio-based content has provided a valuable alternative to traditional feedstocks, which are drawn from natural resources. However, recycled content has remained relatively unexplored for high-performance, specialty applications.

As the world population continues to grow, demand for chemistry solutions is growing as well. Mining and material processing require consumption of fuel, water and energy. And U.S. landfills are reaching capacity, with some statistics pointing to 80% capacity or more. The good news is that these growing waste streams actually provide an opportunity for a Circular Economy approach to chemistry.

The opportunity we have is a step beyond recycling, to upcycling. Rather than simply collecting, cleaning and repurposing waste streams, such as water bottles, Resinate has developed technology that allows us to harvest materials at the molecular level. This approach, which includes harvesting PET molecules from water bottle waste streams, allows us to preserve material integrity and use those molecules to create higher-value, longer-life chemistry solutions- such as polyester polyols for high-performance coating, adhesive, sealant and foam applications. Doing so allows us to extend the material life-cycle– keeping it out of landfills for decades, versus a much shorter lifecycle when recycled into lower-value applications. It’s a solution that allows us to rethink high-performance green chemistry.

Brian Chermside
CEO & President

Green Chemistry Blog

2018 Blog Series

Resinate® Polyols for Direct to Metal Coating Applications Deliver Corrosion and Chemical Resistance

Resinate Materials Group, a company advancing the use of sustainable content in specialty chemicals, announced a line of polyols for direct to metal coating applications. As part of the company’s full line of high-performance polyols, the products provide well-balanced properties, including hardness and flexibility.

“These polyols have been formulated to meet the growing demand for high-performance coatings,” said Kris Weigal, Resinate Chief Commercial Officer. “Resinate polyols have been shown to perform as well, or better than, traditional polyols in coating applications.”

Resinate’s specialty polyols for direct to metal coatings are specifically designed for demanding applications where chemical and corrosion resistance are required. These sustainable polyols can be used alone, or as blending polyols to achieve required performance requirements. For more information, or to request a copy of Resinate’s direct to metal coating sell sheets, visit the company website at www.resinateinc.com.