United Soft Plastics
has announced the development of a series of sustainable thermoplastic elastomer solutions which meet the eco-conscious needs of brand owners and consumers. The TPEs – currently under different stages of commercial development - are produced from renewable, post-consumer, post-industrial, and bio-based sources.
Products to Reduce Carbon Emissions
“With the market clearly focused on a circular economy, we are committed to the development of unique and innovative products that reduce carbon emissions and deliver sustainability advantages
,” said Rudi Herbst, President and CEO of United Soft Plastics. Market drivers include the emergence of state and federal legislation on single-use plastics and the firm commitment from various stakeholders including brand owners to meet aggressive sustainability goals during the next five years. Related Read: Emerging Trends and Developments in Thermoplastic Elastomers
The first commercially available grades, based on styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene (SEBS), are made from recycled post-consumer and post-industrial sources up to 100%. They provide typical soft touch, anti-slip properties along with adhesion and haptics. These injection molding grades are available in 45-65 Shore A hardness for a range of consumer applications including personal care.
Three other series of sustainable TPE solutions are currently under commercial development. These cost-effective SEBS grades include renewable products, consisting of up to 70% of wood flour, rice hull, and/or hemp. They offer a limited performance threshold, which excludes use in highly engineered TPEs but they come with ample supply.
Other sustainable TPEs in the commercial development pipeline are biopolymers which utilize non-fossil-based materials with up to 100% content. These TPEs show the greatest promise in terms of market impact and carbon emission reduction, according to Herbst. Bio-based TPEs deliver almost similar performance as standard materials for injection molding applications, although available quantities are limited.
Rounding out the sustainable TPE portfolio are bio-hybrid TPEs which can combine renewable, post-consumer, post-industrial, and bio-based content up to 100%. Related Read: Thermoplastic Elastomers 101: An Ultimate Guide
USP’s product development efforts are centered at its manufacturing facilities in Lawrenceville, Ga., and Houston, Texas. The company is also conducting sampling and manufacturing trials with end-use customers in the consumer products and healthcare industries.
United Soft Plastics' Injection Moldable TPEs Source: United Soft Plastic