Report profiles approaches to replace problematic plastics

PreScouter, a Chicago-based research intelligence company, has compiled a new Intelligence Brief highlighting solutions to the plastic problem that go beyond packaging to replacing two types of plastic—ABS and PVC—that are commonly used in consumer goods.
Peter von Bechen,

Companies across the globe have taken on ambitious net-zero pledges by 2030, and PreScouter sees this report as an important stepping stone towards the transition to more sustainable materials and products. Alternatives do exist and PreScouter is helping companies find them.

With an estimated 40% of plastic products having a service life of less than 1 month and new regulations regarding plastics coming online, the novel approaches profiled in the brief focus on innovations that companies are using to help achieve their ESG goals by reducing or eliminating their use of problematic ABS and PVC plastics.

The report discusses these two ubiquitous types of plastic and the specific challenges associated with them, explaining that acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) is a petroleum-based polymer plastic, while the biggest concern about polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is that the chemicals used to make it are known to cause deleterious health effects. In addition, both plastics commonly include harmful additives for specific performance properties.

For example, according to PreScouter Technical Director Daniel Morales, “PVC is frequently utilized in combination with ABS to form toy action figures. For non-collectible items in which quality and aesthetic preservation are less important, recycled plastics or biodegradable/compostable alternatives that are amenable to the same manufacturing processes should be leveraged.”

The core concept presented in this Intelligence Brief is that, in tackling the plastic problem, there is no single solution; rather, there are five sustainable pathways for plastics. Seven case studies illustrate initiatives by companies such as Legos, Mattel, Crocs and Siemens aiming to reduce ABS or PVC in their products, and 11 companies offering new ABS and PVC plastic technologies are profiled, all showing which of the five pathways they utilize.

Also, expert insights from Mahmood Mehrabzadeh, PhD in Polymer Engineering, Specialist in Plastic Recycling, provide additional context to help consumer goods producers better understand the challenges of making the transformation to safer and more sustainable plastics.

“The growing regulations against plastic pollution and the increasing interest in circular economy policies pose a threat to companies that are not aware of more potential upcoming restrictions in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” points out PreScouter Project Architect Yutzil Castan. “Hence, companies should pay attention not only to the regulatory environment but also to alternatives to adapt and thrive in a changing environment,” she adds.

Read the report


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