The need to develop chemicals to meet consumer needs without jeopardising the environment for future generations has been spurring the polyurethane industry for many years, delegates at SusPolyurethane 2016 were told. But what challenges lie ahead?
Sustainability is “all about interpretation”, Angela Austin of Labyrinth Associates told delegates, at Suspolyurethanes 2016 adding that the polyurethane industry has been behaving in an increasingly sustainable way “for quite some time”.
Her views were echoed by Michel Baumgartner, secretary general of EuroPUR, in a paper co-presented by Shpresa Kotaji, who was representing PU-Europe.
Baumgartner claimed that the eco-profile of flexible foam has changed dramatically the “CO2 emissions to produce flexible foam have fallen by 24% over the last decade”.
Austin added that, although the PU industry had invented more ecologically sound products, it could take some time for them to be widely adopted. She continued, “In the 1970s, water-based PU dispersions were invented, but it took a further 25 years for them to become widely used.”
But now they have been adopted, they are “making a big contribution to reducing the amount of solvents used, especially in synthetic leather applications in Asia”.
“You can use aliphatic diisocyanates now with green content, which may be made from biomass, of up to 65%. In 1987,…