Compounders and concentrate makers are taking different paths to help their customers meet sustainability goals.
Many compounders recently interviewed said they were getting more requests from their customers for recycled content or bio-based materials, but they added that there can be challenges in supplying such products.
Star Plastics of Ravenswood, W. Va., launched its ReStart product line in April, including recycled-content polycarbonate, ABS and PC/ABS compounds. Those UL-recognized materials can offer the performance of prime resins in electrical products, appliances and other uses, President and CEO Doug Ritchie said.
"Customers are interested, but it requires a lot of education," he added. "They need to know everything from the top down to try to figure out what sustainability means for their companies."
"And for a materials company like us, there can be challenges in sourcing post-industrial and post-consumer materials."
Asahi Kasei Plastics North America of Fowlerville, Mich., has received multiple surveys and questions about sustainability from customers this year, according to President and Chief Operating Officer Ramesh Iyer.
"There's a lot of talk about a circular economy, but higher costs for recycled materials can make it tough to see it happening," he said.
Asahi Kasei sells most of its compounds based on polypropylene and nylon into the automotive market. There, it can help meet sustainability goals by supplying glass-reinforced compounds that can make lighter-weight parts and improve fuel economy.
RTP Co. of Winona, Minn., can meet customer-specific requirements for compounds with post-industrial recycled content, according to Strategic Planning and Acquisitions Director Jean Sirois.
"We're reacting to what our customers are seeing in the market," he explained. "We can compound most materials with recycled content.
"But the thing with supply is that you know a resin supplier can supply you with the same prime material you bought six months ago. It's not the same for post-industrial material," he said.