Röhm GmbH is pressing ahead with its sustainability strategy: PLEXIGLAS® molding compounds for resource-efficient designs
- ISCC PLUS certification for the largest production site in Worms, Germany
- New PLEXIGLAS® proTerra molding compounds with reduced carbon footprint with no loss in proven performance
- Sustainable by design: PLEXIGLAS® molding compounds are durable and recyclable
Every little helps – after all, there is no single solution for the climate-friendly transformation of our economy. Röhm GmbH, too, is pursing a variety of approaches to drive progress in the areas of climate protection, decarbonization and the circular economy. These approaches include two new PLEXIGLAS® proTerra molding compounds that the company will present at Fakuma 2023 in Friedrichshafen on October 17 to 21. “Our proTerra brand is featured on products that lower the carbon footprint during production or at customers and save resources such as raw materials, energy or water,” explains Dr. Hans-Peter Hauck, who is Chief Operating Officer and responsible for the topic of sustainability in the Röhm GmbH management team.
Sustainability in relation to the environment, social welfare and corporate management is an integral part of Röhm’s global business strategy. The company aims to completely eliminate all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Track 2030 initiative is a step along this path: By the start of the next decade, the carbon footprint of the products manufactured and sold by Röhm worldwide is to be reduced by 30 percent per metric ton produced compared to 2020.
Replacing fossil resources: PLEXIGLAS® proTerra 8N
One way to achieve decarbonization is by using raw materials with a reduced carbon footprint. Röhm reached an important milestone in this respect in May 2023: Its largest production site in Worms, Germany, was awarded the ISCC (International Sustainability and Carbon Certification) PLUS certification for all methyl methacrylate (MMA) and polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) products. Further sites are set to follow suit. With this certification, companies can demonstrate that the materials processed have been sourced sustainably.
The first PLEXIGLAS® molding compounds for which fossil resources are proportionally replaced by ISCC PLUS-certified, sustainable raw materials and allocated via mass balancing have been on the market since June. They allow customers to switch to a material with a carbon footprint that is 25 percent lower while benefiting from identical product characteristics – and without the need for renewed release testing. Accordingly, the Automotive Manufacturers Equipment Compliance Agency (AMECA) has already listed PLEXIGLAS® proTerra 8N as a material that complies with applicable standards, meaning it can be used for vehicle lighting – like the basic molding compound PLEXIGLAS® 8N.
Promoting the circular economy: PLEXIGLAS® proTerra M5
The circular economy is also a key focus of Röhm’s sustainability strategy. “Easily recyclable plastics such as PLEXIGLAS® molding compounds can make an important contribution here,” comments Siamak Djafarian, Senior Vice President Molding Compounds at Röhm. PMMA can even be chemically recycled multiple times without a significant deterioration in its properties. For example, there are well-established methods for recycling the backlight units of monitors, which are made of ultra-pure PMMA. PLEXIGLAS® proTerra M5 is the latest example of how the company is advancing the use of mechanical recycling and has been available since June. In this new product range, up to 30 percent recycled PMMA from post-industrial sources is mixed with new PMMA in a controlled manner, lowering the carbon footprint by 30 percent compared to new products.
PLEXIGLAS® is sustainable by design
“With our first two PLEXIGLAS® proTerra molding compounds, we offer our customers products that directly help them achieve their sustainability goals,” says Siamak Djafarian. “On top of this, PLEXIGLAS® molding compounds are ‘sustainable by design,’ which makes them ideal for meeting various sustainability requirements.”
Because PLEXIGLAS® is highly resistant to UV and weathering, it enables the manufacturing of components with a long service life, thereby contributing to the careful use of resources. It also has the highest surface hardness of all thermoplastics, meaning that it can be used without a coating. Moreover, colored PLEXIGLAS® components are replacing those that have a colored coating. As such, PLEXIGLAS® components can be manufactured in a single step, rendering a subsequent coating or painting step unnecessary and in turn lowering the carbon footprint of production and simplifying the recycling process down the line.
Designed for recycling
“There is still a lot of room for improvement when it comes to recycling: A functioning circular economy means completely turning away from today’s linear economy in which products are incinerated or end up at landfill sites at the end of their life cycle,” explains Djafarian. Röhm therefore supports customers in designing their products with efficient recycling in mind. To this end, the molding compound experts advise selected customers from the automotive industry when developing specific designs, such as for rear lights, that allow PMMA components to be dismantled more economically. The goal in this is to then reuse the material for future PMMA applications. “The circular economy for PMMA will not improve unless everyone pulls in the same direction – meaning material manufacturers, OEMs and their suppliers,” states Djafarian. “We are currently holding many discussions on this subject and are open to new ideas and inputs.”
With 3,500 employees and 13 production sites worldwide, Röhm is one of the leading manufacturers in the methacrylate business. The medium-sized company with branches in Germany, China, the USA, Mexico, and South Africa has 90 years of experience in methacrylate chemistry and a strong technology platform. Our best-known brands include PLEXIGLAS®, ACRYLITE®, MERACRYL®, DEGALAN®, DEGAROUTE® and CYROLITE®.
Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) products from Röhm are sold on the European, Asian, African and Australian continent under the registered trademark PLEXIGLAS®, in the Americas under the registered trademark ACRYLITE®.
More information is available at www.roehm.com
64295 Darmstadt, Germany
Phone +49 6151 863-7154