Plastics supplier aims for 60 percent recycled material for electronics

New Products |
By Nick Flaherty

One of the major suppliers of plastics to the electronics industry has increased the proportion of recycled material it is using in its resins.

This is 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, says Sabic, based in Saudi Arabia. It is aiming to have 60 percent recycled materials in its resins.

It is increasing the portfolio of CYCOLOY and LEXAN resins containing high levels of post-consumer recycled material (PCR). Typical applications 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 percent. According to an internal study, these compounds offer potentially significant reductions in carbon footprint of up to 25 percent and in energy consumption of up to percent compared to virgin material.

Sabic says hopes to be able to offer materials with PCR content of up to 60 percent in 2021. The compounds and their properties will be tailored to different industry requirements including 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 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.”

Next: Other areas for recycled plastics in electronics

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,” said Monros. “We are also investigating use of PCR polycarbonate from end of life automotive applications such as head-lights and dashboards.”

The quality of the incoming material for recycling is key, and Sabic says it will acquire this by partnering with approved suppliers who will source feedstock from around the world. This will be supplied in ready-to-process granular form to be compliant with China’s policies on plastics waste.

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.

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