Based on consumer sentiments around microplastics, the plastic production industry has a lot of work to do before it can call itself sustainable. More organisations are looking at ways in which they can adapt their operations—a seemingly impossible task for a plastic producer—and Covestro is one of those that are taking on this challenge.
At Sustainability LIVE, Roy Cheung, Global Head of Sustainability Solutions, Engineering Plastics at Covestro, joined us to discuss this rather difficult subject, but with the optimistic approach of circularity.
Can plastics be sustainable through a circular economy?
Cheung addresses the precedence that has been set by the use of plastic and the throw-away culture that has arisen as a result of it. After acknowledging the difficulties the industry faces, he explains how Covestro will manage its waste and follow a circular approach to bring plastics back into the manufacturing process.
“80% of the circular model can be contributed with material-related strategies,” says Cheung.
“From material recirculation—recycling and recovering materials—to, what we call, the product material efficiency. How do you choose the right material to make the product or applications more efficient?”
Covestro’s materials have served many industries over the years, which Cheung takes into account during his presentation. This includes the automotive industry, construction, wood and furniture, and electronics.
Cheung also goes into detail about the company’s operations for recycling materials, which can be separated into two different methods to serve varying needs, one of them being the mechanical approach—for non-critical components—and the drop-in solution.
Cheung says: “The electronics industry and also more and more in the mobility industry, these are to very typical industries, first of all, that we serve and, second of all, have more and more questions and willingness to talk to a very upstream supplier like ourselves to think about either circular solutions or models.”