Circular Economy Solutions Braskem Expands ‘I’m green’ Product Portfolio

Editor: Ahlam Rais

Braskem has expanded its sustainable products portfolio and will now include products based on the concept of a circular economy such as Post-Consumer-Recycled (PCR) resins, a mixed bio-based plastic, and other PCR solutions.

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The expanded brand portfolio was launched at K Fair which is currently being held in Düsseldorf, Germany from October 16–23.
The expanded brand portfolio was launched at K Fair which is currently being held in Düsseldorf, Germany from October 16–23.
(Source: Braskem)

Brazil – The largest producer of thermoplastic resins in the Americas and the world's leading producer of biopolymers have recently announced the expansion of its ‘I'm green’ brand used worldwide. The brand will be extended to Braskem's full circular economy product range as part of the commitment that the company announced last year to help transform the linear economy into a circular economy. The official launch took place at the K Fair, the world's largest event in the plastics and rubber industry which is currently being held in Düsseldorf, Germany from October 16–23.

Combining PCR and renewable resins

Since its launch in 2010, the company's sustainable ‘I'm green’ portfolio has grown and includes several bio-plastic solutions made from sugarcane. Now, this sustainable products portfolio is being expanded to include products with a circular economy approach, including those containing PCR resins. These type of resins are made from products that have already been recycled and continue to be recyclable.

In addition, this year Braskem has set up a partnership with Embalixo, the leading Brazilian producer of trash bags, to produce the first mosquito repellent trash bag called ‘Embalixo Repelente.’ The trash bag is made from a combination of industrial sacks previously used by Braskem to deliver its resins and Green Polyethylene resin to clients. This mixed bio-based and recycled plastic incorporates a mixture of citronella, mint, lemon and clove that neutralises waste odour and repels mosquitoes. The material used is non-toxic so there is no harm to insects or humans.

Knowing the growing importance of climate change, Braskem is a CDP Climate A, CDP Water A and CDP Supply A listed company, having reduced its intensity of greenhouse gases emissions by 21 % since 2008. Braskem has also developed a ‘Carbon neutral Shrink Film’, made from PCR resins and bio-based resins. Combining these two types of resins is a relatively new technique of combining sustainability and the circular economy, towards a view of neutral CO2 emissions balance in the plastic production cycle. It enables CO2 emissions from the recycling process to be offset by the sequestration of CO2 during the entire green polyethylene production cycle.

According to Marco Jansen, director of Circular Economy in Europe & Asia at Braskem, these initiatives are in line with the company's many sustainability and circular economy initiatives since its foundation. "K Fair is the most important event in our industry, bringing together key partners and market players. We believe this is the ideal opportunity to announce the expansion of our sustainable portfolio, underscoring our commitment to the circular economy and showcasing our initiatives to an important audience," he said.

Increasing demands for sustainable solutions

Fabiana Quiroga, director of Circular Economy in South America at Braskem, explained that demand for sustainable solutions has been increasing significantly in virtually all sectors of the economy, especially after large brand owners undertook voluntary commitments to use bio-based or recycled raw materials. "We have teamed up with large clients to develop post-consumer plastic waste solutions that close the cycle of existing products, for example by recycling-friendly design, reverse logistics and support for the recycling chain. The expansion of the ‘I'm green’ portfolio will help our partners to easily identify products that contribute to circular economy and sustainable solutions," she said.

Nearly ten years of bioplastic development

The ‘I'm green’ brand was born in 2010 together with the world's first bioplastic (Green Polyethylene) produced on an industrial scale, using sugarcane as raw material. The biggest difference of this bio-based plastic is the capture of 3.09 tonnes of carbon dioxide during its production process that remains sequestrated throughout the lifecycle of the final product, helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The product was developed at Braskem's Technology and Innovation Center located at the Triunfo Petrochemical Complex, where the company invested 290 million dollars to build an industrial unit with production annual capacity of 200 kton.

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Since its launch, the company's sustainable portfolio has grown and now includes other solutions made from sugarcane. One example is EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate copolymer) developed in partnership with Allbirds, a company based in San Francisco, California, and which has been used since last year in the Sugar Foam footwear line, combining comfort, design and sustainability. In addition to the footwear industry, the solution can also be used in the automotive and transport sectors, among others.

"The ‘I'm green’ brand is known worldwide through the more than 150 products that use the logo. Thanks to its high versatility, the resin is used to manufacture packaging for both durable goods such as chairs and vases, as well as for packaging for and food and personal care products. The expanded brand portfolio, which includes bio-based, recycled and combined bio-based and recycled resins are being launched at K Fair. This reinforces our strategy of investing in sustainable and innovative products and makes our commitment to the circular economy more tangible," concluded Gustavo Sergi, director of Renewable Chemicals at Braskem.

Braskem's circular economy journey has happened since 2002 when the company was stablished with a public commitment to use sustainable development principles in Braskem´s way of doing business. In 2018, Braskem published a new commitment to circular economy.