Sabic introduced its LNP Elcrin iQ portfolio of PBT compounded resins derived from rPET to support the circular economy and help reduce plastic waste. By chemically upcycling consumer-discarded PET (primarily single-use water bottles) into higher-value PBT materials with enhanced properties and suitability for more-durable applications, the company is encouraging the use of recycled resins. These products are claimed to offer a smaller cradle-to-gate environmental footprint than virgin PBT resin, as measured by Cumulative Energy Demand (CED) and Global Warming Potential (GWP).
This technology is intended to overcome some of the limitations of mechanical recycling by using chemical processes to depolymerise PET bottles and other PET waste into their precursor chemicals, purify them and then use them to create new PBT resin. The technology can deliver performance and processing benefits such as good chemical resistance, colourability, high flow for faster throughput and flame retardance (FR).
LNP Elcrin iQ resin is a drop-in solution for virgin PBT and other conventional PBT materials, making it easier for manufacturers to make their products more sustainable. By displacing virgin raw material used to manufacture PBT, LNP Elcrin iQ resin has been shown through peer-reviewed life cycle assessment to reduce the energy and carbon footprint of the material by up to 61 percent and 49 percent, respectively. Further, each kilogram of LNP Elcrin iQ resin uses up to 67 post-consumer PET water bottles (0.5 liter).
The Elcrin iQ portfolio offers customers multiple options, including glass- and mineral-reinforced grades and non-halogenated FR and UV-resistant formulations. Some of the grades even have the potential to achieve compliance with U.S. Food & Drug Association (FDA) food contact regulations. Potential applications for these new polymers include durable internal and aesthetic components for consumer electronics, automotive connectors, and housings for medical devices. Such applications can extend the useful life of the original, single-use PET resin, which helps keep the material out of the waste stream for a longer period.