Due to the waste issues that we see in our bins and around the planet, plastics are currently under a global microscope and have become one of the most fiercely debated environmental topics. People around the world are questioning their relationship with plastics. And rightfully so, because the way we currently produce, use, and dispose of our plastics is not sustainable.
However, the facts and figures on the benefits, the resource efficiency, and flexibility which this material offers, seem to have been lost along the way. This makes it important to discuss what the future role of plastics can be and why we need plastics as a part of the solution. As a player in the plastics industry, Perstorp must act as a role model and play the part by actively participating in the plastics and PVC debate. Ensuring that it is fact-based and not run on emotion. At the end of the day, we all strive for the same thing - a better and safer environment.
The future role of plastics and PVC
We believe that PVC is an excellent material, provided that it is made in the right way. PVC inherently has a very low carbon footprint as it is far less dependent on fossil raw materials than most other thermoplastics. One of its ingredients for example is common rock salt. PVC is a lightweight, flexible and durable material with a long product life. It is also recyclable when made in the right way. For these reasons, PVC is a valued resource and offers tremendous potential in the immediate future as a sustainable material.
Dispelling the fears over ingredient safety (phthalates) and environmental concerns is key to fully unlocking the potential of PVC as a sustainable material. The answer to this is to start making this already valued and efficient product from more renewable ingredients. A major ingredient in soft PVC is the plasticizer, which softens the naturally rigid PVC. Making plasticizers more sustainable will therefore have a great impact on the final product.
Developing more sustainable alternatives
By transitioning to renewable, low carbon footprint raw materials and high performing non-phthalate plasticizers, we can express the environmental opportunities in four clear areas:
- Greater durability thereby extending the product life
- Reducing the use of fossil-based materials
- Using less material without any trade-offs in performance
- Future-proofing plasticized PVC by enabling recycling
Perstorp has pioneered the development of a new non-phthalate plasticizer, PETV (Pentaerythritol tetravalerate), that delivers on greater durability using less material making it a safe and sustainable plasticizer. Commercially marketed as Pevalen™, it excels in several vital areas that positively impact the formulation, the processing and the final product.
Walking the green walk
It is important that chemical companies do not just talk the green talk but walk the green walk. This is why we believe that any development of new pro-environment or renewable products need to be credible and drive a real transition to a greener future.
All our bio-attributed products, or Pro-environment products as we name then, are mass-balanced and certified according to the independent verification scheme ISCC PLUS (International Sustainability & Carbon Certification).This guarantees that we give our customers full transparency up-stream in the value chain and that we apply both physical and chemical traceability. The certification also covers other aspects such as protection against de-forestation and water usage.
Increasing the amount of sustainable raw materials in this approach will eventually lead to a real transition because it is transparently credible. Perstorp has chosen a mass balance concept that connects to reality and shows the real transition to renewables. with both physical and chemical traceability. This means rigorous scrutiny and independent verification under ISCC PLUS.
Enabling a faster transition to more sustainable PVC solutions
With PVC already being recyclable, enabling the use of non-phthalate plasticizers and phasing out unsafe additives we can truly become a part of a circular flow in our society where PVC can be both a valuable material and a resource. The addition of a bio-attributed plasticizer, free of phthalates, will help PVC make a significant step forward in shrinking the carbon footprint.
By introducing Pevalen Pro, we can accelerate the transition speed to more sustainable PVC products without sacrificing product performance or durability. This way, we can make the environmental changes required for a healthier environment at a much faster pace.
Our sustainability ambition
At Perstorp we have a clear and bold sustainability ambition. This ambition is to become finite material neutral and it drives our innovation in every sense. It is a challenging, but exciting journey we have ahead of us. In order to reach our goals, we need to engage with likeminded people, upstream and downstream, in our value chains and industry. We encourage any organization or person who feels inspired to contact us.