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SUSTAINABILITY

BPA-based polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins contribute substantially to the eco-efficient manufacturing and sustainable use of numerous valuable products.

Examples of polycarbonate products include lightweight safety components in cars and construction materials, mobile communications, insulation materials in buildings and professional greenhouses, medical devices, multiple use packaging and modern optical data storage, to name just a few.

Our modern lifestyle would not be possible without plastics in general.

In fact, polycarbonate plays a significant role across the environmental, societal and economic dimensions of sustainable development.

Contributing to resource efficiency

BPA-based polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins are extremely durable while remaining light.

From product manufacturing to end use, products made out of polycarbonate save energy and resources throughout their lifecycle.

During the manufacturing phase, polycarbonate scrap from the polymerisation and compounding steps is generally efficiently recovered directly on-site. Post-production waste material leaving the plants is recovered to the extent of about 90% in all European countries. The majority is mechanically recycled to special polycarbonate and polycarbonate blend “recycling grades”.

Articles made from polycarbonate have a long life and can be used many times if appropriate. For example, polycarbonate 5 gallon reusable water bottles can be refilled over 50 times before being mechanically recycled. In addition, polycarbonate is lighter and stronger than glass. This allows for energy and CO2 savings as well as reduced product loss due to breakage in the distribution and use phases.

The high mechanical strength of polycarbonate enables modular design. This facilitates upgrading and maintenance of electrical and electronic equipment in the use phase and eases disassembly for recycling and recovery.

Presently, post-consumer recycling for polycarbonate applications is common for applications where high volumes are available and no sorting is necessary. This is the case for the 5 gallon reusable water bottles. For all post-consumer polycarbonate waste, for which mechanical recycling has not proven to be economically feasible due to complex collection and/or dismantling steps, energy recovery is the option of choice to avoid waste ending up in landfills.  

From product manufacturing to end use, products made out of polycarbonate save energy and resources throughout their lifecycle.

Improving energy efficiency

Polycarbonate is a very durable plastic with long life cycles needed for construction and automotive materials.

Multi-wall sheets made of polycarbonate have a lower unit weight than glass, enabling savings in transport and supporting structures in large construction projects such as sports arenas. Additionally, polycarbonate sheets let in light and insulate better against heat which allows energy savings of up to 25% in certain products. Due to its transparency and light weight, polycarbonate is the material of choice for resource efficient free-formed roofs, like those used for sports arenas.

In the automotive sector, the use of polycarbonate in headlamps and panorama roof applications save 14-22 kg CO2 emissions/kg PC over the lifecycle of the vehicle when compared with glass and steel. In addition, use of lightweight polycarbonate in panorama roof applications lowers the centre of gravity and, therefore, increases the stability of the vehicle.

The exceptional light transmission of polycarbonate allows for architectural and interior LED lighting as well as LED vehicle headlamps. These excellent properties are also used to improve the back-lighting efficiency of flat screen televisions, thus contributing to energy and CO2 emissions savings.