SABIC Makes Polycarbonate From Mixed Recycled Plastics
Sabic has announced the launch of certified circular polycarbonate (PC) resin and blends made from the upcycling of post-consumer mixed plastics. The company says the development is an industry first.
The certified circular PC is produced in an advanced recycling process (also known as chemical recycling). Representatives say it demonstrates Sabic’s commitment to advance a circular economy for plastics, by increasing the availability of sustainable products.
Based on an internal life-cycle analysis by Sabic that takes into account the impact arising from diversion of plastics waste from incineration-to-energy recovery processes, the certified circular PC offers a potential carbon footprint reduction of up to 23 percent in comparison with the conventionally produced polycarbonate the company supplies.
The PC is produced by recycling of post-consumer mixed plastics that could otherwise end up in incinerators or landfills. Using pyrolysis, difficult-to-recycle plastics are broken down into pyrolysis oil. This is used as a feedstock to create certified circular building blocks for high-performance plastics with the same properties as virgin material—in this case, polycarbonate.
Polycarbonate—specifically Lexan resin—is part of Sabic’s extensive engineering thermoplastics portfolio, which includes PC blends like Cycoloy and Xenoy. End-users in a number of markets—electrical/electronics, automotive, healthcare, building and construction, and consumer goods, for example—can specify the certified circular PC under identical process conditions to those used for its incumbent.
The PC is certified by an independent third party under the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC Plus) scheme using a standardized mass balance approach, which provides a method of asserting the recycled content based on predefined and transparent rules. The ISCC Plus accreditation additionally provides traceability along Sabic’s supply chain, from feedstock to final product, demonstrating a chain of custody based on the mass balance system.
The PC is part of Sabic’s Trucircle portfolio of circular solutions. Launched in 2019, the portfolio is intended to close the loop and create a circular economy for plastics by providing manufacturers with access to more sustainable materials. The portfolio includes design for recyclability, mechanically recycled products, certified circular products from feedstock recycling of plastics, certified renewables from biobased feedstock and closed-loop initiatives to recycle plastics into high-quality applications, all of which help prevent valuable used plastics from becoming waste.