Covestro expands its range of more sustainable polycarbonates

Advanced solutions for the circular economy

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Covestro offers a polycarbonate with 90 percent recycled plastic from post-consumer waste (PCR) that can be used in consumer electronics and other applications. Photo - Covestro
Covestro offers a polycarbonate with 90 percent recycled plastic from post-consumer waste (PCR) that can be used in consumer electronics and other applications. Photo - Covestro

More sustainable plastics, especially those with increasing proportions of recycled material or biomass and consequently a lower carbon footprint, are increasingly in demand. At the same time, the industry is developing new solutions to achieve a circular economy and climate neutrality.

Covestro now offers a polycarbonate with a 90 percent recycled content of plastic from post-consumer waste (PCR) that can be used in consumer electronics, among other applications. The carbon footprint of the new Makrolon® PCR polycarbonate resin is 70 percent2 lower than that of a comparable fossil-based virgin plastic and is part of the CQ portfolio of circular solutions at Covestro. The company plans to initially offer this grade in the Asia-Pacific region.

“We are very proud of this breakthrough solution as it will enable our customers to achieve their sustainability goals faster. This is especially true for industries such as consumer electronics and audio and networking equipment manufacturers, which have ambitious sustainability goals of their own,” said Lily Wang, Global Head of the Engineering Plastics segment at Covestro. “This is another step toward our vision of becoming fully circular, and an important contribution to accelerating the transformation of industries toward a recyclable and carbon-neutral future.”

This type of plastic can achieve exceptional whiteness and highly saturated colors, which is typically a challenge for PCR plastics with high recycled content. This is made possible by selecting high-quality recyclates and optimizing the material composition during the compounding process. The PCR grade is manufactured with halogen-free flame retardants that meet performance requirements without increasing environmental impact. It also meets the highest V-0 rating of Underwriters Laboratories’ UL 94 flammability standards.

Partnership with Jabra

Covestro’s Bayblend® FR3010 R75 polycarbonate blend is used, for example, in the ear cups of Danish brand Jabra’s latest Evolve2 headset series for audio equipment and video conferencing systems. This type is made of 75 percent recycled material and has a 50 percent lower carbon footprint2 compared to its conventional fossil-based counterpart, but still meets performance requirements well.

To meet rising demand, Covestro is currently building a dedicated compounding plant for PCR polycarbonates at its integrated site in Shanghai. Once commissioned, which is scheduled for later this year, it will be able to supply more than 25,000 metric tons of high-quality PCR polycarbonates annually.

Climate-neutral1 solutions through mass balancing

In addition to PCR grades produced through mechanical recycling, Covestro is also making progress with polycarbonates attributed with raw materials produced using a mass balance approach derived from biowaste and residual materials and certified to the internationally recognized ISCC PLUS standard.

The company now regularly supplies Makrolon® RE polycarbonates with a renewable attributed raw material content of up to 89 percent3. Selected products, including climate-neutral1 polycarbonates, are supplied with 100 percent renewable electricity under a TÜV-certified system4. Already at the end of 2021, Covestro supplied customers in Europe with the world’s first climate-neutral1 polycarbonates. Also the RE series is part of the CQ portfolio of circular solutions at Covestro.

The mass-balanced products demonstrate an identical good quality and performance as fossil-based polycarbonates and offer an out-of-the-box solution for customers with a significantly lower carbon footprint.

1 Climate neutral according to a verified life cycle assessment based on ISO standards 14040/14044. Climate neutrality is demonstrated by assessing a partial product life cycle from resource extraction (cradle) to factory gate, also known as cradle-to-gate assessment. The calculation takes into account biogenic carbon sequestration rather than first “life” pollution. It is based on preliminary data from the supply chain and replaces the electricity grid mix with renewable electricity used in the Covestro manufacturing process. No compensation measures were applied. The LCA methodology developed by Covestro AG is scientifically sound and corresponds to the state of the art. ID no. 0000083440: Covestro AG – Certipedia 

2 According to an internal calculation by Covestro based on the TÜV reviewed EcoPAss LCA method (ID No. 0000083440: Covestro AG – Certipedia)

3 According to the newly published ISCC PLUS system document V3.4, oxygen atoms from ambient air that react with ISCC-certified raw materials are counted towards the sustainable fraction. ISCC PLUS (www.iscc-system.org)

4 Certified management system: ID no. 0000084999: Covestro AG – Certipedia

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