A Circular Approach - Make Better, Use Better

Posted by Performance Coatings Team on 09/22/2022

Welcome to the third 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. The second article, "Design & Responsible Sourcing" was a deeper dive into those two components. This article focuses on the importance of the next two components of a circular approach– make and use.

Regardless of the stage of circularity, the focus is always on maximizing a product’s environmental and societal benefits, with its own end-of-life taken into consideration.

At Lubrizol Performance Coatings, we are committed to a circular approach that is mindful of our manufacturing impact (footprint) and maximizes our positive downstream impact (handprint) through our innovative technologies.

Make—Reduce Water, Energy and Waste

The third stage of circularity—make—is where our facilities are key by having sustainability initiatives in place to reduce the environmental impact of our manufacturing processes. All of our plants domestically and globally are committed to reducing the amount of energy used and waste generated in creating our products, and to reducing the water used to produce and transport products.

These efforts include:

  • Recycling all packaging materials we generate.
  • Treating waste material at all of our sites, which reduces environmental impact and manufacturing costs.
  • Collecting carbon-based waste from our processes and converting it into compressed natural gas that can be used as a fuel source by partnering with a third-party company.
  • Recycling waste heat generated from the production process. When a reaction generates heat, the plants uses it elsewhere to heat their facilities instead of letting the heat dissipate or cool.
  • Switching to materials that can be recycled. As an example, one site was using black polypropylene to package Lubrizol products. Because the polypropylene could not be recycled, the plant switched to a packaging material that could be recycled.

By having regional manufacturing facilities close to customers, we can reduce lead times and shipping distances, which further reduces our environmental impact and that of our customers.

Reducing water used in our products is achieved through high-solids formulations that enable greater formulation flexibility and help reduce downstream emissions—which leads into the fourth stage of circularity.

Use—Enable Greater Use and Greater Efficiency

We design our products (stage 1) with the goal of enabling greater use (stage 4), which could be increased lifetime of the finished product or the formulation of products with improved formulation flexibility to minimize the number of products needed by our customers. Increased lifetime adds value and improves our handprint because the end-use product lasts longer.

From a water savings standpoint, not only do we actively work to reduce the amount of water required to produce our products, we are also committed to delivering products with higher solids content and 100%-active ingredients. For example, a Solsperse™ Hyperdispersant could be available as a 40% solution or as 100% solids. Solids can be more difficult to handle, but they contain all the active contents and don’t require the carrier. The result is that only the active content needs to be transported, which reduces packaging material, shipping costs, CO2 emissions, handling and the overall environmental impact. It also provides the user with more flexibility in formulation.

Aptalon™ Reactive Polyamide Technology is representative of this commitment to the “use” stage of circularity. Aptalon Reactive Polyamide technology is 100%-active polymers that deliver excellent resistance and durability characteristics to a diverse range of coatings products.

Until recently, high solids PUDs for durable films in commercial or industrial coating applications were limited. Today, Lubrizol has advanced high-solids polyurethane dispersion technology to create a new class of water-borne resins for coatings with greater than 50% solids. 

For many years, Lubrizol has developed industry-leading products in inherently sustainable markets, such as in digital printing inks and coatings, which reduces waste by offering just-in-time deliverables and reducing the risk of overproduction. Lubrizol is a market leader in raw materials for the formulation of UV curable coatings. The sustainable benefit of this chemistry is that is typically 100% active.  No solvents need to be removed during the film forming process, which is more energy efficient than drying a water-based coating and does not release pollutants such as VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the atmosphere.

These are just some of the ways Lubrizol is committed to driving a more circular approach that is mindful of our manufacturing impact and maximizes our positive downstream impact, enabling customers to meet and exceed their performance targets.

Contact us to learn more about how we collaborate with our customers to help them achieve their performance and sustainability goals.

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