Royal Society of Chemistry launches sustainability campaign to curb the impact of PLFs

Royal Society of Chemistry launches sustainability campaign to curb the impact of PLFs

Royal Society of Chemistry that will investigate how the $125bn Polymers in Liquid Formulations (PLF) market could curb its considerable environmental impact

  • By ICN Group | May 06, 2021

Royal Society of Chemistry has announced the launch of a sustainability campaign that could impact all our futures. Unilever, Afton Chemicals, Scott Bader, and Crown Paints become founding members of taskforce aimed at making polymers used in everyday goods more sustainable. These companies signed up to an industry taskforce convened by the Royal Society of Chemistry that will investigate how the $125bn Polymers in Liquid Formulations (PLF) market could curb its considerable environmental impact.

Professor Tom Welton, President of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said: “PLFs haven’t had enough attention over the years because they are ingredients rather than products. It is their flexibility and usefulness that makes them so prevalent - and therefore implementing a circular economy for these products presents several technical challenges.

“Currently, these valuable chemicals are produced in huge quantities, used, and then never recovered. We simply must develop new technologies and apply circular economy principles to collect them, reuse them as new products and raw materials, and offer further bio-based and biodegradable alternatives.

“There are technical challenges in creating sustainable alternatives, but overcoming these challenges would offer colossal sustainability benefits, which is why we are forming this task force. With some of the world’s largest players in this sector joining us tackle this issue, we have a fantastic opportunity to make real and lasting change. But these are just first steps – solutions will only come through the concerted action of academia, industry and civil society.”

Jason Harcup, Global Vice President for Research and Development Skin Care at Unilever, said: “Making a sustainable shift towards the circular economy requires close collaboration across the chemistry ecosphere, so we are delighted to join the task force and be part of the solution. By bringing together the latest material science and technology, we can create new innovations that further improve ingredients and formulations used in everyday products for the benefit of people and the planet.”

Ian Bell, Senior Research and Development Director at Afton Chemical Ltd, said: “Polymers in Liquid Formulations are a critical constituent to many materials and substances used in society, often without any real awareness of their presence, role or criticality.  This is true within the lubricants industry, where this class of materials plays a key role in maintaining the chemical and physical properties necessary to keep vehicles moving effectively and efficiently.  Establishing a sustainable long term future for such solutions is critical.

“With issues as complex and far reaching as the RSC initiative embraces, the engagement of multiple stakeholders and participating parties is essential, from academia and cross-segment industries in order to share capabilities and insights, collaborate and help to direct future actions in a more effective manner.  Afton is delighted to be part of this initiative, support the RSC in this way and to collaborate with industry colleagues to make a meaningful impact in this area.”

Kathryn Tormay, Group Leader Wallpaints Research and Development at Crown Paints, said: “We have always known that post-consumer waste is an industry issue which is why we have many initiatives to take back and reuse paint were possible. However, we can go further which is why we have taken the opportunity to join the PLF task force. We believe by collaborating across industries we can tackle the key challenges set out by the RSC and be at the forefront of innovations and solutions to an industry wide issue.”

Mark Cooper, Group Chief Technology Officer at Scott Bader, said: “Polymers have a critical role to play in solving future challenges across society and we welcome this initiative to drive collaborative industry action to improve the sustainability of PLFs, enabling a more sustainable future for all."

Damian Kelly, Vice President Technology and Innovation at Croda, said: “Croda is committed to sustainability and the PLF Task Force is an excellent opportunity to bring industry together to set a sustainable course for thousands of polymers, with the RSC’s priorities providing a framework to drive collaborative leadership and innovation in this field. Croda is an active member of the RSC and we are excited to be part of this Task Force, as we believe our continued success and positive impact on the world is driven by the strength of our relationships, with sustainability at the heart of what we do.”

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