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Covestro Debuts Polycarbonate with 90% Recycled Content

The carbon footprint of the new material is 70% smaller than conventional virgin resin, yet can be used in demanding highly saturated color and flame-retardant applications.

Stephen Moore

May 4, 2024

2 Min Read
Polycarbonate resin with 90% PCR content
The polycarbonate with PCR content from Covestro achieves exceptional whiteness.Image courtesy of Covestro

Market demand for high-content post-consumer recycled (PCR) material is growing rapidly as industries step up efforts in pursuit of circularity and climate neutrality. Retaining performance and quality on a par with virgin resin, however, remains a common challenge. 

Achieving a 90% PCR content polycarbonate (PC) requires both high-quality PCR feedstock and a robust formulation process, something that materials supplier Covestro claims to have achieved with its Makrolon PCR PC resin that is currently available to molders in Asia. The carbon footprint of the new PC resin, part of the CQ portfolio of circular solutions at Covestro, is 70% lower than that of a comparable fossil-based virgin plastic. 

Performance features of the new material.

  • Color-matching capabilities, including highly saturated hues

  • Exceptional whiteness

  • UL 94 V-0/1.5 mm with environmentally friendly flame retardants

  • High heat-resistance, with Vicat above 130°C

  • Excellent mechanical properties

  • Processability, suitable for E&E products with high-gloss or matte surfaces and those with complex structural designs

Covestro commenced operations at its first dedicated mechanical recycling compounding line for PC at its integrated site in Shanghai in December 2023. This line is set to produce more than 25,000 tonnes annually of premium-grade PC and blends containing mechanically recycled materials.

Covestro is committed to supplying more than 60,000 tonnes of recycled-content PC annually in the Asia Pacific region by 2026, according to Lily Wang, global head of the engineering plastics segment, who spoke with PlasticsToday at the recent Chinaplas show in Shanghai. “Our existing compounding capacity in Shanghai can always be made available to shift to mechanical recycling as demand grows,” she noted.

Auto, E&E, and consumer products growth

Demand for PCR plastics is growing, particularly in applications within the electrical and electronic (E&E) products, automotive, and consumer goods sectors. What makes the PCR-content PC particularly attractive to these markets is the ability to achieve exceptional whiteness and highly saturated colors, which is typically a challenge for PCR plastics with high recycled content. This is made possible by selecting high-quality recyclates and optimizing the material composition during the compounding process. The PCR grade is manufactured with halogen-free flame retardants that meet performance requirements without increasing the environmental impact. It also meets the highest UL 94 V-0 rating for flammability.

Partnership with Jabra

Covestro's Bayblend FR3010 R75 PC/acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) blend is one example of a commercial grade that incorporates recycled content, in this case 75% of overall content. The ear cups of Danish brand Jabra's latest Evolve2 headset series for audio equipment and video conferencing systems employ this material. The company said it achieves a 50% lower carbon footprint compared to its conventional fossil-based counterpart, but still meets performance requirements.


At Chinaplas, a cleaning robot from Roborock was on display that also used a PC/ABS blend with 75% PRC content.

About the Author(s)

Stephen Moore

Stephen has been with PlasticsToday and its preceding publications Modern Plastics and Injection Molding since 1992, throughout this time based in the Asia Pacific region, including stints in Japan, Australia, and his current location Singapore. His current beat focuses on automotive. Stephen is an avid folding bicycle rider, often taking his bike on overseas business trips, and a proud dachshund owner.

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