SABIC Expands Post-Consumer Recycled Engineering Thermoplastics for Consumer Electronics and E&E Applications

Responding to calls from major brands in the consumer electronics business and electrics and electronics (E&E) industry as a whole for more sustainable materials, SABIC – a global leader in the chemical industry – announced that its engineering thermoplastics business is expanding its portfolio of CYCOLOY™ and LEXAN™ resins containing high levels of post-consumer recycled material (PCR). Typical applications for the portfolio will include consumer electronics and accessories such as chargers and adapters, printers, copiers and laptop housing.

The new PCR material is blended with the virgin material to create compounds with PCR levels of initially up to 30%. According to an internal SABIC LCA Study[1], these compounds offer potentially significant reductions in carbon footprint of up to 25% and in energy consumption of up to 30% compared to virgin material.

SABIC hopes to be able to offer materials with PCR content of up to 60% in 2021. The compounds and their properties will be tailored according to different industry requirements.

Typical applications for the portfolio will include consumer electronics and accessories such as chargers and adapters, printers, copiers and laptop housing. (Picture: SABIC)

“The initiative to produce a broader portfolio of engineering thermoplastics with PCR content complements our existing efforts in making base resins from certified renewable feedstock. Together, our circular solutions from our TRUCIRCLE™ portfolio and services can help to improve plastic recyclability, lower emissions and drive towards closing the loop on used plastic,” said Sergi Monros, Vice President of Performance Polymers & Industry Solutions for Petrochemicals at SABIC. “Our vision of a circular economy requires collaboration across the value chain, and we are committed to working with downstream and upstream partners to drive the transformation needed.”

The extended range of materials will contain PCR polycarbonate coming from applications such as five-gallon water bottles and optical media. “Such products are made with clear polycarbonate, and they are easy to obtain, sort and clean,” continued Monros. “We are also investigating use of PCR polycarbonate from end of life automotive applications such as head-lights and dashboards.”

Within the expanded portfolio, SABIC will also develop materials to meet the various needs of different players in the market, grades with different levels of flame retardance, reaching up to 5VB @ 1.5 mm, targeting various business equipment applications and electrical applications such as internal components. The company will also offer grades with PCR content for applications that require good clarity. The new portfolio will therefore encompass both unfilled grades and grades containing filler.

SABIC has set very strict requirements on the quality of the incoming PCR material, which it will acquire by partnering with approved suppliers who will source feedstock from around the world. SABIC will obtain the PCR material in ready-to-process granular form, to be compliant with China’s policies on plastics waste.

The new PCR materials form part of SABIC’s TRUCIRCLE portfolio and services, which showcases the company’s circular innovations and can help to provide manufacturers with access to more sustainable materials. In doing so, SABIC aims to help manufacturers give the end-consumer more confidence about buying products with the knowledge that the material can be recycled and repurposed, or that it has been produced in a way that can help protect our planet’s natural resources. The TRUCIRCLE portfolio spans design for recyclability, mechanically recycled products, certified circular products from feedstock recycling of used plastic and certified renewables products from bio-based feedstock.

[1] SABIC internal LCA study has not undergone ISO 3rd party critical review

Source: SABIC (Shanghai, China, November 24th, 2020)