Sustainably into the future
The plastic bag is out. Using plastic just one time to transport groceries is just too wasteful. New masterbatches make it possible to save raw materials and create future-oriented products: from low-cost greenhouses and high-tech plastics for the future of travel to individual consumer products using 3D printing.
Scarce resources are valuable. The prices of crude oil and natural gas, the basic materials used today for thermoplastics and many colourants and additives demonstrate this. It makes sense to use these resources very sparingly. Masterbatches can support this effort, but above all, they enable the properties of thermoplastics to be controlled so that sustainability and innovation can go hand in hand.
Plastic is a valuable material. Everyone should now be aware of this since the introduction of the Green Dot for packaging material. Yet the various polymers are only wasted on waste incineration if the “waste” can be reused as a material and converted back into a “valuable” product – a product that ideally is suitable for long-term use. The recycled material, which is produced not only from household waste but often from production residues, makes this possible only due to the addition of masterbatches. Particularly, sorted regranulates are made into attractive plastic products such as floor coverings and window profiles by adding stabiliser concentrates and pigment masterbatches. In the future, recycled plastic will be the rule rather than the exception. Dr Josef Kuchler, Managing Director of MASTER TEC GmbH Wunsiedel, confirms: “We are dealing more than ever with processes that take the reuse of raw materials into account. Recycling is a key future topic for the masterbatch industry.”
When it comes to recycling, however, the implications of the base polymer plus masterbatch combination in terms of sustainability and innovation are far from exhausted. Which of the emerging trends, such as 3D printing, bioplastics or industry 4.0 will have the greatest impact on the masterbatch industry? A glance into the crystal ball would certainly be helpful. Instead, masterbatch manufacturers are committed to identifying issues by working closely with their customers – in order to then react quickly enough. This may look quite different depending on the orientation of the product range and customer base. A flexible corporate structure and the availability of a variety of machinery make the best foundation for mastering the challenges of the future.