Braskem develops polypropylene microfiber made from disposable cups to drive the circular economy in the textiles industry

Braskem develops polypropylene microfiber made from disposable cups to drive the circular economy in the textiles industry

October 22, 2019
Press Release: Braskem

One of the latest developments from Plastic Free World Conference & Expo 2019 participant Braskem is a polypropylene (PP) microfiber made from disposable cups, which has applications in the textile industry

To confirm the technical and economic feasibility of its renewable production process on an industrial scale, Braskem has partnered with textile companies such as its client Profil, the company responsible for producing the yarns, and EcoSimple. The Brazilian specialist has also signed a partnership with the brand PatBO to use the yarns and fabric made from the recycled-content PP microfiber to create beachwear apparel.

“The partnerships have been essential for advancing the development of solutions that can strengthen the circular economy in our value chain,” explained André Giglio, a specialist in polypropylene market development at Braskem. “Polypropylene – which is already a lower-cost alternative that can meet the growing demand from the textile industry – offers even more advantages for the industry if produced from recycled materials.”

The research conducted by Braskem’s Recycling team has enabled the development of a solution that maintains the same properties as fabric made from virgin PP, such as lightweight, resistance to wrinkles and pilling, increased durability, fast drying, dispersion of transpiration, washing ease and ecological dying (the dye is applied in the yarning process, which saves water).

The evolution in the polypropylene’s formulation and Braskem’s efforts to engage the textile industry in even more sustainable production methods are further reinforced by Lifecycle Assessments (LCA), environmental impact indicators calculated by the company to ensure that the new solutions are actually sustainable. LCAs take into consideration all phases of the production process, from the extraction of raw materials to delivery of the yarn for weaving, as well as factors such as global warming and the consumption of water and resources, with data quantified in accordance with the standard ISO 14044. In the case of PP made from recycled material, the environmental impact indicator is 45% lower than other alternatives used in synthetic fabrics.

“Sustainability is a constant in our processes and we have made consistent progress in developing solutions that minimize environmental impacts throughout the value chain,” added Ana Laura Sivieri, marketing and communications director at Braskem. “The expansion of our sustainable products portfolio is a consequence of the commitments we have made to the circular economy, which include investing in technology and innovation and working together with our partners, clients, suppliers and society.”

The fabrics made from recycled-content polypropylene microfiber also are recyclable, which means that – at the end of their useful life (and if properly disposed of) – they can be transformed into new fabrics or other products. In addition to its use in the production of microfibers, Braskem’s recycled-content PP also has applications in caps and closures for cosmetics and homecare products, in the automotive and furniture industries and in-home appliances and bicycles.

Plastic Free World Conference & Expo 2020 will take place at Cologne Messe, Germany, on Tuesday 16 June and Wednesday 17 June. To register for this highly focused, solutions-driven event, please click here. For sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, please email peter@trans-globalevents.com

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