Welcome to the second article in a short series of blog articles focused on the importance of a circular approach to a sustainable future. If you recall from the first article , “A Circular Approach to a Sustainable Future”, improving circularity involves six areas: design, source, make, use, reuse and recycle. This article dives deeper into the importance of the first two components – design and source.
Circularity thinking, in practice, considers each stage of a product lifecycle and its overall environmental and societal impact. Understanding circularity impact creates a baseline from which to grow in order to maximize the positive impact of products. Best case, in a circular economy, once the user is finished with a product, it goes back into the supply chain instead of the landfill.
At Lubrizol Performance Coatings, our goal is to help customers deliver that positive impact, so our handprint is all about providing innovative coating and ink component technologies that enable them to achieve their sustainability initiatives.
To help ensure circularity, Lubrizol Performance Coatings employs a product stewardship team. The team provides regulatory support to the business and to customers around issues that could impact existing products and new product development, as well as working to improve the overall sustainability and marketability of products from an environment, health and safety (EHS) standpoint.
Design is about creating safer, more sustainable chemistry. It involves the selection of materials with end-user performance, sustainability, and regulatory needs in mind, such as lower VOCs, biodegradability, or the elimination of chemicals of concern.
Design involves formulating beyond compliance through integrated regulatory monitoring and risk assessment to develop products that promote long-term sustainability, leaving a positive impact throughout the supply chain.
From a high level, we consider three key areas when thinking about design:
- We pay attention to customers’ claims and what’s happening in the market space.
- We monitor regulatory drivers.
- We focus on the actual performance of products and helping customers meet their performance needs. If we can extend the lifetime of an end-use product, then it’s more sustainable. By focusing on performance as well as the origins, we add value and sustainability.
Sourcing materials for circularity considers factors such as replacing scarce resources with renewable, bio-based materials, if possible.
Bio-based materials in the coatings sector are not new, and Lubrizol has a fairly extensive existing portfolio and continues to explore new sources of bio-based materials to supplement these products, and to provide alternatives to synthetic materials in more market spaces than ever before.
To name a few, Lubrizol currently offers bio-based waxes, PTFE alternatives in packaging inks, water-based coatings for wood surfaces that provide an alternative to solvent-based systems, Aptalon™ reactive polyamide polyurethane dispersions crafted with a bio-derived backbone material, disersants using bio-derived raw materials, packaging coatings that replace plastics in food and beverage containers, and bio-based inks and coatings.
One example of increasing the circularity of products can be seen in beer bottle labels. Lubrizol is a market leader in creating a quick release coating technology that allows labels to be easily removed so that bottles can be rewashed and then reused.
To help incorporate circularity and sustainability into products, Lubrizol collaborates with customers to enable them to achieve their design and sourcing goals and enhance the performance, productivity and sustainability of their products—while making the most of scarce resources.