As the drive for more circularity in plastics continues to accelerate, the industry is having to rethink practices long taken for granted. In some cases, the result has been a radical departure from ‘business as usual’.
A good example is the recent agreement signed between China’s leading auto lighting supplier Hasco Vision and materials manufacturer Covestro establishing a partnership between the two companies that will ultimately contribute to the low-carbon development of carmakers.
The companies aim to build a closed-loop recycling business model that would guarantee that the plastic waste generated during the manufacture of automotive lamps is recycled into high quality and traceable post-industrial recycled polycarbonates and polycarbonate blends. Often, the difficulty with recycled materials is that these tend not to be either. Transparency regarding the origin of recycled plastics is often lacking, making them unsuitable for use in the auto industry, where strict standards and regulations apply with respect to the materials used.
Covestro has for many years supplied Hasco Vision with the raw materials it needs to produce vehicle lamps.
According to the new agreement signed at Covestro’s booth at the China International Import Expo, Covestro will also collaborate with other partners in the recycling industry to retrieve used plastics from Hasco’s manufacturing sites before turning them into the kind of high-quality PIR polycarbonates and polycarbonate blends that Hasco can use to produce new automotive components.
This collaboration allows full transparency and traceability along the value chain, said Lily Wang, Head of the Engineering Plastics segment at Covestro, and will ‘ensure the supply of consistently high-quality PIR plastics to meet the growing demands for more sustainable materials and lower emissions in the automotive industry’.
The closed-loop recycling of post-industrial plastics is an effective sustainability solution as such recycled materials have “virgin-like” quality, are easily traceable and help reduce the carbon footprint of vehicles compared with conventional fossil-based materials.
"This innovative cooperation between HASCO and Covestro breaks with convention in terms of raw materials supply as it focuses on using post-industrial recycled materials to create a circular economy," said Jinlong Ao, Deputy General Manager and Chief Technology Officer of Hasco Vision. "Together we are developing a closed-loop, win-win business model that could become the benchmark for low-carbon cooperation in the automotive industry."