High-performance polyamides made from recycled materials have traditionally been seen as inferior. At DSM, we took that perception as a challenge. We set out to develop a material made from post-industrial feedstocks while ensuring it met the stringent quality requirements we demand from all of our materials.
Akulon RePurposed is made from abandoned nylon fishing nets that are cut up, cleaned, extruded, inspected for quality, and shipped back to us for compounding. The compounded grades rely on 100% sustainable feedstocks while delivering material performance nearly on par with our virgin material grades.
Here are five reasons you should consider Akulon RePurposed in your next product design.
When leading watersports company Starboard approached us, they explained their desire to take better care of the world while making premium windsurf and paddle boards. The brand is keenly focused on the environment, particularly on cleaning up plastics from the world’s oceans. They needed a tough and durable material for fins that could withstand continuous exposure to sun, salt, water and sand – and they wanted it to be made from post-consumer recycled materials. If the feedstock could also help clean up the oceans, all the better.
At DSM, we wanted to create a viable recycled material. That means delivering a reliable, high-quality material to each and every customer. For Akulon RePurposed, we partnered closely with our dedicated supplier in India to ensure they used the right material inputs and processes, so the pelletized fishing nets would meet our stringent quality standards. We then compound the recycled material into a variety of grades suitable for industrial uses, outdoor furniture and sporting equipment. Each batch of material is tested at the in-house lab before being shipped back to DSM, and our engineers visit the supplier at least three times a year, including an annual audit.
Our portfolio of materials is built to perform – and Akulon RePurposed is no different. We wanted to ensure engineers and designers could rely on its performance as well as its sustainability. It should deliver performance competitive to virgin materials, while relying on 100% sustainable feedstocks. The material grade used in Starboard’s Net Positive fin designs provides the most durable and resilient board fins available. It can also be used for skis, snowboards and other outdoor sporting goods.
This regional program currently removes more than 3,000 metric tonnes of abandoned fishing nets from India’s coastal areas each year. The United Nations Environment Program estimates that abandoned fishing nets represent nearly 10% of all plastics in the world’s oceans. Finding a way to successfully upcycle these materials will help reduce the strain of plastics on marine ecosystems. At the same time, the program has created 300 jobs across the local value chain, from sourcing, segregation and washing to extrusion, quality inspection, packing and shipping.
It’s up to designers and industry to work together to positively impact the world. Recycle-based materials help us break out of the take-make-dispose cycle and move toward a circular economy. Plastic circularity will be key to reducing the impact of plastics on the environment, and ensuring we can create products that are stronger, safer, lighter and more resilient, as well as being easier on the planet.
Business Director South Asia at Envalior’s Engineering Materials
20 November 2018
Nileshkumar Kukalyekar is Business Director South Asia at Envalior’s Engineering Materials business.
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