The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) constitute the agenda to address climate action while enabling social and economic progress. Many types of organizations, from nations to non-profits to businesses, are playing a role in achieving these goals. The plastics industry is well positioned to make a positive impact on SDGs, particularly those related to climate action and protection of land and water. Organizations across the plastics value chain are taking decisive action, both individually and in partnership, to address concerns about the use of non-renewable fossil-based materials, about carbon emissions and energy consumption from plastic manufacturing and part processing, and about the proliferation of plastic waste, especially in the oceans.
Here is how SABIC, through its Specialties business, is contributing to three SDGs by deploying a broad strategy focused on circularity.
SDG #13: Climate Action
Mirroring the broad scope of this category are the many types of specialty thermoplastic resins, compounds and additives available today and in development. These diverse materials can help address complex thermal, mechanical, optical, and electrical performance requirements for many different climate resilience aspects.
These can range from replacement of virgin resins with recycled and renewable materials, to reduction of carbon emissions in several industries, from personal care, electronics to transportation and energy storage.
SABIC is focusing on:
- Developing new bio-based thermoplastics to help reduce the use of fossil-based raw materials. SABIC’s LNP™ portfolio contains more than 60 grades using second-generation feedstocks, such as hydrotreated vegetable oils, which do not directly compete with the food chain. These bio-based materials carry the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC+) and can contribute up to 61% of CO2 reduction while offering virgin quality & consistency, and can qualify for REACH and ROHS SABIC plans to expand its bio-based certified renewable offerings with ULTEM™ resins this year.
- Encouraging mechanical and chemical recycling by incorporating post-consumer plastic waste in novel materials. SABIC’s LNP™ compounds containing up to 80% of post-consumer recycled (PCR) content can reduce their carbon dioxide (CO2) footprint by almost one half. With a potential fit in certain electronics healthcare and mobility applications, these PCR offerings are ROHS and EPEAT compliant with properties close to virgin feedstock versions – allowing them to become a potential drop-in solution with decarbonization benefits.
- Helping customers design more sustainable products with longer life and improved recyclability. SABIC provides expert guidance and technical support to help customers embed sustainability elements into their applications from the very beginning of their product development. For instance, part consolidation, elimination of secondary operations, and better wear and friction performance can help facilitate recycling, reduce energy use during processing and extend useful life, respectively.
SDG #14: Life Below Water
Scientists are studying the damaging effects of plastic waste being discarded in rivers, lakes and oceans. Expanding potential applications for the discarded plastic can create an economic incentive for capturing and reusing the waste before it goes into water streams.
To raise the value of commodity, single-use polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles waste stream from incineration, landfill or the ocean-bound, SABIC can chemically upcycling them into LNP™ ELCRIN™ iQ products a polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) family of high-performing engineering thermoplastics widely used in consumer and durable goods. The depolymerization technology used to produce the upcycled PBT resin delivers virgin-like properties, allowing these materials to serve as a drop-in replacement for fossil-based PBT. The process also generates new supplies of PBT that are needed to help meet projected increases in market demand.
An estimated 100 million single-use PET beverage bottles have already been diverted from various waste streams since this upcycling initiative began in late 2019. SABIC anticipates diverting about 10 billion PET bottles by 2030.
SDG #17: Partnerships for the Goals
To support SDGs, material suppliers can collaborate at multiple points in the value chain, both through one-on-one partnerships and by participating in industry alliances. The following are examples of partners that a materials supplier can work with to increase its contribution to climate action and other SDGs.
- Recyclers: Plastics suppliers can work with recyclers to improve the consistency and quality of the recycled feedstocks offered to end customers.
- Molders: Plastics suppliers can provide expertise with material selection, tooling design optimization and process parameters that promote the use of bio based and recycled or upcycled resins in end-use applications. Suppliers can also share performance data on their materials to demonstrate suitability for specific applications.
- End customers: Plastics suppliers can work with brand owners to identify more-sustainable alternatives to traditional materials, designs and processes that appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.
- Third parties: Plastic manufacturers should endeavor to use independent third parties to quantify the environmental contributions of their plastics. As an example, the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) is a certification system that covers all sustainable feedstocks, including agricultural and forestry biomass, circular and bio-based materials and renewables. Also, plastic producers can work with design consultancies and material database libraries to add data on their sustainable thermoplastics.
- Industry alliances: Value chain initiatives such as the Alliance to End Plastic Waste bring together many organizations for collective action.
Plastics manufacturers, are actively pursuing multi-pronged strategies to support net zero emissions and climate resilience by linking the UN SDGs to their strategies. Plastic manufacturers are investing in assets, resources and developing socially responsible supply chains to advance their decarbonization goals.
To learn more about the multiple ways SABIC’s Specialties business is supporting net-zero carbon goals – and how our unique portfolio of advanced thermoplastics and compounds – can benefit customers and partners – join our free webinar on May 19 at 16:00h CET / 10:00h EST hosted by SABIC and UL Prospector.
To secure your spot, please register by 14th May here .
 REACH according EC1907/2006 and related ECHA list of restricted substances
 RoHS according Directive 2011/65/EU, 2015/863/EU, 2017/2102/EU and its amendments.
 The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) is a method for purchasers (governments, institutions, consumers, etc.) to evaluate the effect of a product on the environment.
 Source: https://www.iscc-system.org/
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