Similarly, polyolefins maker LyondellBasell Industries was at the show with its new Circulen product range, launched globally on April 12 using either recycled resins or feedstocks like cooking oil, and targeting it as a lower carbon offering for plastics in consumer products.
The materials supplier highlighted a collaboration with luggage maker Samsonite on its Magnum Eco suitcase collection, each made from the equivalent of 371 post-consumer yogurt cups and 10 plastic bottles.
The product line is already available in Europe, but it is not yet available in the China market, Limin Fu, vice president, JV management and polyolefins China, said on the sidelines of the Chinaplas media day April 12.
A Samsonite executive said the hope is to bring the suitcase line to China for production and sale.
"I think the consumer behavior is changing. They are asking more questions [about sustainable products]," said Patrick Kwan, senior director for supply chain at the luggage maker.
He is optimistic about the Chinese market for products like the recycled plastic suitcase, although the time has not come yet.
"It depends on the progress of our partners," he said. "In China, the condition is not that mature till now to have production move to China. We hope to do so ... and we definitely will follow our partners on those directions."
Aiming for lower carbon footprints
Many companies were talking up new grades of polymers with lower carbon footprints at the fair, which organizers said drew 152,000 visitors over its four-day run. The event was the first major plastics show held in person since the coronavirus pandemic started scuttling events in March 2020.
An executive with Covestro AG said companies are trying to develop new sources of collecting discarded plastics and pointed to work the German resin maker is doing with partners in China, Southeast Asia and Europe.
"Whoever gets access to these post-consumer recycled polycarbonates, we're more than happy to talk to them and see if we can have this kind of collaboration," said Roy Cheung, global head of sustainability solutions at Covestro. "It's a call to action."
Other firms were using the giant trade fair, which will likely be the world's largest plastics show this year, as a platform for talking up their attempts to offer plastics with no or much reduced fossil fuel-based raw material.
DuPont launched new grades of its Delrin Renewable portfolio, with resins made from 100 percent waste from biofeedstocks. As well, it was promoting to industry buyers a new grade of its Rynite PET sourced from post-consumer plastic bottles that it said performs the same or better than standard Rynite PET.
Jeroen Bloemhard, global vice president and chief commercial officer of performance materials, called the portfolio a "one-stop solution breakthrough of sustainability."
Dow Inc., for its part, discussed single-material solutions, including biaxially oriented PE films that it said were "fully recyclable," a down-gauged heavy-duty shipping sack that's more than 10 percent thinner and a single-material PE disposable diaper it claims is easier to recycle.
It's a noticeable switch in direction from four years ago when Dow spoke with Plastics News about flexible packaging options that it said were ideal for promoting food safety and freshness but were not ideal from a recycling perspective.
Chinese materials maker Wanhua Chemical Group Co. Ltd., in a media day presentation, focused on product offerings that it said enabled renewable energy production and new energy vehicles.
While interviews with executives suggested the Chinese market is not as developed for renewable and sustainable product lines as some other places, Borouge's Wang said he is optimistic. He and others pointed to government directives like an edict from China's State Council in February on building a low-carbon, circular economy.
"We do see the interest from local Chinese customers who are trying to commit to those circular economy agendas," Wang said. "We believe the future is very bright, and we are committed to [take] those steps to support our customers in the future. So it makes total business sense to be doing this now."
He pointed to work that needs to be done on infrastructure and demand.
"I think many pieces need to be put together," Wang said, pointing to legislation, waste management and recycling infrastructure as well as developments from equipment producers.
"It requires every company to contribute," he said. "From the China government side, we do see that strong commitment on the environment ... and we believe the trend will be there. It just takes one step further to reach those milestones."