Sofia Sotiropoulou Riemann, Sustainability Lead, Latex Binders
As demand for sustainable products continues to increase, and new government regulations are put into place, the materials and manufacturing industries need to accelerate their transition to circular materials and business models.
In late 2022, the European Union (EU) approved revisions to their rules on packaging and packaging waste within their Green Deal, which aims to prevent packaging waste through reuse of materials. These updated regulations will also require that all packaging materials be recyclable by 2030; improve the definition of biodegradability; increase focus on microplastics; and take a closer examination of the chemicals being used in packaging materials—including latex binders.
The latex binder industry must adapt to meet this rapidly changing landscape with the expectation that there are more to come. This requires us to reimagine our materials’ composition, their use, and their disposal to help facilitate a circular economy and transition to net zero emissions.
Latex Binders and the Circular Economy
Latex binders are an essential component for many industries — paper and packaging, mobility, textiles, building and construction, and more. At Trinseo, we are taking considerable steps to further the sustainability of latex binders, particularly in paper and board packaging, through the introduction of the CO2NET™ product portfolio.
Products within this portfolio offer up to net zero or even negative emissions to help reduce total carbon impact. Each product within the portfolio must generate at least 50% fewer carbon emissions than their fossil-derived counterparts, which is confirmed by a life-cycle analysis (LCA). These binders are made using recycled feedstock sources — aligning with the EU’s 2030 goals — and perform at the same level as their fossil-derived counterparts.
We are continually expanding the CO2NET™ product portfolio to help meet sustainability goals across a number of applications. Industry players, like Trinseo, must be willing to expand and redesign their latex binders portfolio to meet new regulations to meet our customers’ needs.
Finding Success with Sustainability
To successfully reach sustainability goals and meet legislative requirements, manufacturers must also diversify and shore up their feedstock sources. As the EU intensifies its focus on increasing the quantity of recycled content in materials, companies are subsequently looking to expand beyond bio-based and biodegradable formulations to also lean into those that incorporate recycled content.
Having reliable access to high-quality recycled feedstocks is paramount to making this a reality. For this reason, Trinseo has invested in recycling technologies that can be used to re-design products with recycled content. This positions us well for the future as we continue to expand our circular materials portfolio.
Companies that can quickly test, qualify, and implement these approaches into their design process to build more sustainable products will be able to adapt to upcoming regulations and succeed in this changing environment.
The latex binders industry must continue to create new projects with regulations in mind to truly examine the use and end of life of their products, as well as reimagine what is possible. The key to this will be value chain collaboration between suppliers and manufacturers to redesign and develop new, innovative sustainable solutions. It is an exciting time to be part of this evolution, as we work together to reimagine and co-create the future of latex binders and the industries it supports.