Polykemi Group, a Swedish manufacturer of plastic compounds, has developed a new simulation tool designed to help their customers understand the impact of their material choices on the climate, the company has announced. The tool is based on the outcome of a 2020 study conducted by the company analysing the climate impact of all its products.
“We help our customers make smarter material choices to reduce their carbon footprint, while also providing the possibility to make their products lighter and saving both time and costs,” explained sustainability specialist Henrik Palokangas.
The study revealed that the choice of material can play a significant part in the fight against climate change, which led to the development of the new simulation tool. The tool enables the cradle-to-gate carbon footprint of all the materials produced by the company to be calculated, making it possible for customers to assess the environmental footprint of their components, said Palokangas.
The study at Polykemi was conducted in collaboration with a third party to ensure an objective analysis according to applicable standards. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA ISO 14040) methodology was used to quantify the environmental aspects of existing or planned products.
Similar studies are currently ongoing for the production unit in Kunshan, China and are planned for the new factories in Chongqing, China and in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA.
“It’s easy to select materials out of force of habit, even though there may be significantly better alternatives available that would reduce costs, save time and lower the carbon footprint. We can demonstrate the difference material choices make and help select an optimal alternative in terms of customer requirements, costs and climate performance,” said Palokangas.
For example, he said, the carbon footprint of a curtain rod consisting of a 3x5 cm aluminum profile can be reduced by 12 kg per product meter, by switching from aluminum to ABS.
“This is a choice that makes a huge difference if an entire office complex is furnished with curtain rods. We believe that companies and producers need to take more responsibility and keep consumers informed so they can make the right choices for the good of the climate,” noted Palokangas.
Moreover, according to Polykemi’s study, changing from virgin PA6 GF15 to PP GF15, which is technically possible in many applications, will reduce the carbon footprint by 6.9 kg of CO2e for every kg of material, i.e. 75 percent. If a recycled PP is an option, the carbon footprint can be reduced by yet another 75 percent.
“There is more to being material-smart than just using recycled materials,” he stressed.