Clariant and Lavergne Convert Ocean-Bound Plastics into Flame-Retardant Compounds

Chemicals company Clariant has teamed up with Lavergne, a producer of sustainable engineering resin from recycled ocean-bound plastics, to develop halogen-free, flame-retardant polyester compounds made from ocean-bound plastics. With the first grade already commercialized, the collaboration is supporting demand from major electrical and electronics brand owners for post-consumer recyclates that are flame retardant.

Ocean plastic

The initiative arises from Lavergne’s wider mission to create new uses for plastic, in this case polyethylene terephthalate (PET), recycled from ocean-bound waste streams. Ocean-bound plastic (OBP) refers to plastic waste that is recovered from the more than eight million metric tons of plastic currently entering the oceans each year.

The first flame-retardant compound, Lavergne VYPET OBP-FR, has 30% glass-fiber reinforcement and a UL 94 V-0 flame rating at 0.8 mm thickness, which makes it suitable for many electric and electronic plastic applications, including aesthetic and structural parts. The fully recyclable OBP-based compound has successfully passed molding trials at part manufacturers and is commercially available.

Previously, OEMs for electrical and electronics industry applications targeted less-demanding components like packaging trays. With these new developments, that industry can now expand the use of recyclates to other structural parts of electronics equipment. Additionally, OEMs are supporting the sourcing of OBP by sponsoring waste collection and clean-up efforts.

The new material uses Clariant’s flagship halogen-free Exolit OP flame retardants, chosen for their “proven excellent environmental and health profile” and a GreenScreen Benchmark 3 assessment for the key phosphinate ingredient. In addition, Exolit OP grades have been confirmed as suitable for various recycling processes without losing their flame-retardant properties.

“This development reinforces Clariant’s continuing commitment to developing sustainable additives that, through value chain collaboration, can help bring plastics into a circular, more resource-efficient economy,” said Subra Narayan, Technical Market Manager for Clariant Flame Retardants in North America.

Image: James Thew/Adobe Stock

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