If plastic resins are going green, the additives going into the resins might as well be green, too.
Polymer additives leader Chemtura Corp. took this approach at K 2007 in Dusseldorf, launching several new products that are intended to have low environmental impact.
The green team for Middlebury, Conn.-based Chemtura includes:
* organic-based heat stabilizers for flexible PVC. The additives have no heavy metal content and are more effective than calcium/zinc for automotive and flooring uses, officials said.
* phosphate stabilizers for high density and linear low density polyethylene. The stabilizers - which can replace TNPP antioxidants - are targeted for use in consumer and industrial packaging, household goods and tires. Chemtura now is seeking food contact approvals for the material.
* flame retardants for polyurethane foam that are 10 percent more efficient than previous materials and are non-scorching in flexible PU applications.
Mark Chrisman, vice president of global polymer additives sales for Middlebury, Conn.-based Chemtura, described the new products as ``environmentally friendly.''
``Every new product has to pass tests that are applied across our entire line,'' Chrisman said during an interview at the show. ``Usually with green products, it's a performance or dosage trade-off. Green products need a higher [additive] concentration and that takes away from natural characteristics. These products address that issue.''
Chrisman singled out the new phosphate stabilizers as a product that uses ``totally different chemistry'' than its predecessors but can offer the same performance at the same loadings. The materials were commercialized in September.
Chemtura officials hope the new green line will invigorate markets that are expected to produce flat sales rates in North America and Western Europe in both 2007 and 2008. Chrisman said that sales in Russia are expected to be up 25 percent in 2007, with India up 15-20 percent and China up 10-15 percent.
Like many companies, Chemtura is being pinched by raw material costs.
``Oil affects aromatics and chlor-alkali and the monomer market is inflated,'' Chrisman said. ``I don't know any market that's not being hit. We all have to pass on costs.''
Chemtura's first-half sales were up more than 10 percent to almost $2 billion, but the firm posted a loss of $15 million after earning $14 million in the same period in 2006. More than 40 percent of the firm's first-half sales came from polymer additives.
Chemtura is in the process of closing additives plants in Pedrengo and Ravenna, Italy, and part of a plant in Catenoy, France, but is adding capacity for antioxidants and catalysts in Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia.