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Dow offers a more sustainable alternative to styrenic copolymers

Dow offers a more sustainable alternative to styrenic copolymers
Recent Life Cycle Assessment Brings to Light Environmental Advantages for Infuse Olefin Block Copolymers by Dow.

Findings from a recent Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Infuse Olefin Block Copolymers (OBCs) conducted by Dow Elastomers, a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company (Dow), reveal sustainable advantages in hot-fill cap liners, an application where OBCs and styrenic copolymers can be used at the same mass loading.

The LCA compared the “cradle to gate” production of Infuse OBCs with styrenic copolymers for hot-fill cap liners in the following key impact areas: total energy use (the cumulative energy demand, or CED), global warming potential (GWP), acidification potential (AP), photochemical ozone creation potential (POCP), eutrophication potential (EP) and water consumption during the production of raw materials and polymerization to the copolymers.

Key findings of the Life Cycle Assessment, conducted following ISO standards 14040 and 14044 including critical review, were:
- The cumulative energy demand (CED) for producing Infuse OBCs is 23-39 percent lower compared to neat SEBS,
- The CED for compounded Infuse OBCs is 11-21 percent lower than for compounded SEBS (with mineral oil and polypropylene).

The GWP100a („carbon footprint‟) for the production of compounded Infuse OBCS is 23-38 percent less than for SEBS compounds “The Life Cycle Assessment of Infuse OBCs further exemplifies the commitment Dow has made to creating sustainable solutions that aim at meeting manufacturer and consumer demands for quality and performance,” said Karen Fennessy-Ketola, Global Infuse Platform Director for Dow Elastomers. “Dow is continuing to discover uses for Infuse OBCs every day, and the validation of this product as a more sustainable alternative to styrenic copolymers opens these opportunities further.”

Infuse OBCs are increasingly becoming a material of choice in a diverse range of market segments and applications, particularly where environmental concerns are high on the agenda, such as food contact containers, carpet backing, toys and sporting goods and hygiene products like baby diapers.

These thermoplastic elastomers offer a variety of advantages including formulation flexibility, elasticity at room and elevated temperatures and abrasion resistance.

Infuse OBCs can be recycled and also offer resilience, softness and toughness as well as excellent colourability.

The findings of the LCA study on Infuse OBCs will be presented at the Plastics Caps and Closures Conference 2011 by Enrique Torres, Caps and Closures Marketing Manager for Dow Elastomers in the EMEA region, and Dr. Olaf Henschke, Caps and Closures Technical Leader for Dow Elastomers in the EMEA region. In describing this work, Torres said: “The Life Cycle Assessment gives a good quantitative understanding of the advantages of Infuse OBCs in this application and complements our knowledge of their qualitative advantages.”


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