The following was published on May 7, 2020 as a LinkedIn blog post by Rüdiger Schmitz, Vice President, Latex Binders.
Rüdiger Schmitz, Vice President, Latex Binders
At Trinseo, we like to say that sustainability is intrinsic to the work we do as a company. And that’s true across all of our businesses, including Latex Binders, where we offer solutions across a wide range of applications in industries including paper and board, textiles and CASE (coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers).
Given increasing legislative and societal pressure, many of our customers look to us for guidance on their own sustainability efforts, and we’re able to connect the dots for our customers and throughout the value chain. This has led to the development of many exciting sustainable innovations for the company and for our customers.
Paper and Board
In addition to our extensive work around making plastics more sustainable, we’re also helping our customers who are seeking plastics alternatives. The packaging we encounter in our daily lives contains plastics, and with them come countless opportunities to explore new, more sustainable replacements. One of these innovations is exploring ways to use binders as barrier coatings for liquid board packaging.
Additionally, we’re pushing for solutions that, in the near future, will help our customers move from 80 to 90% recyclability – and eventually 100%. Given Trinseo’s portfolio, these solutions can work in conjunction with plastics. For example, by using recycled styrene to replace the styrene used for binders applications, we have the potential to dramatically reduce the total recycled content of these products.
Carpet and Flooring
Another focus for our business is unlocking the full circularity of latex binders for carpet and flooring applications. In the past, carpets have been incredibly difficult to recycle. As a result, there has been immense pressure from regulatory organizations, our customers and the end consumer to deliver a recyclable solution for carpeting that is also cost-effective and high performing.
By first recycling the polymer, which can be reused as raw material, we believe it is possible to deliver a more recyclable latex binder solution for carpeting. An integral part of unlocking full circularity includes developing the required recycling technology and infrastructure to facilitate this, in addition to adopting a more sustainable approach to latex binders throughout their lifecycle.
In our CASE business, our sustainable products are supporting environmental megatrends. This includes urbanization, with latex binders that improve the durability and lifespan of structures; roofing elastomers for reflective, cool roofing; and EIFS membranes for energy efficient buildings. We also offer industry lowest VOC releasing and formaldehyde-free products for interior paints.
As we look to the future, the end consumer will ultimately decide what products will be successful, and all signs indicate sustainable products are the answer. That places the responsibility on us to educate companies about the serious and timely need to reconsider how they design products and what materials they use to produce them.
As our Latex Binders business continues to grow, we look forward to collaborating with our customers on important sustainable solutions.