COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of our lives: how we work and learn; engage with others; and view the places we live and visit. Through this lens, consumer demands on construction and materials have changed as the world found a new “normal,” and Trinseo has adapted to those needs. Over the past two years, we’ve seen new interest in home renovations; an increased for need sustainable packaging and clean air filtration; and a desire for anti-microbial surfaces.
Changing Home Demands
Consumer trends during the pandemic have shown more people are investing in renovations as they spend more time indoors and need to accommodate new demands like at-home gyms, offices and classrooms. This has put new demands on supply chains, and due to this, we’ve seen significant delays in appliance manufacturing and delivery, along with shortages of necessary products such as sealants.
With many businesses switching to fully remote or hybrid work schedules, these trends will likely continue as society adapts to a post-pandemic lifestyle. Trinseo is supporting these changing home demands by developing and offering pure or modified acrylic latex binders for sealant use and specially designed styrene butadiene (SB) latex binders for EPI bonding on durable wood assembly applications.
Increasing Demand for Packaging
Along with new demands for appliances and renovations, there has also been an increase in online purchasing behaviors. Companies selling online saw a strong demand, and along with those online orders came the need for increased packaging materials.
Trinseo offers low-VOC, EH&S-compliant or mass balanced binders (among traditional chemistries) that can be used alone or combined with natural latex to improve performance, quality, and cost stability for self-adhesives applications like tape and labels. This more sustainable option provides a safer alternative to other systems and allows the required specific peel resistance, tack and shear properties on paper or cardboard or films. As demand for online shopping continues, we’ll see the need for more sustainable packaging options increase.
Filtering Out Airborne Diseases
In addition to a changed perspective on home life, COVID-19 has changed our definition of clean to include the need for sterilization in public areas. COVID-19 has completely transformed how we clean in public and shared spaces, and air quality is no exception.
Higher quality air filters and filtration systems using UV lighting are rising in demand as communities return to offices and classrooms. Additionally, as ridesharing continues to evolve beyond taxis with apps like Uber and Lyft, air filtration systems in vehicles have become increasingly important. These systems help sanitize the air within the cab to protect customers as they transition in and out of the same vehicle spaces, along with the driver. Filtration systems help remove airborne microbes and particles that not only transmit diseases but also allergens and spores that trigger other respiratory issues.
Trinseo’s SB and styrene acrylic latex products play a key role in the performance of these filters, providing flexibility and high Mullen burst strength. Additionally, their low-blocking solutions do not compromise filtration efficiency.
Embracing Public Spaces
Anti-microbial surfaces are an emerging trend because of their self-cleaning and self-disinfecting properties. As children return to schools, employees to workplaces, and customers to restaurants and retail, products like this help to limit disease transmission in public areas without the requirement of cleaning between customers or employees.
While there have been many struggles over the past two years, we’ve learned an exceptional amount about ourselves and our communities. We’ve adapted, survived, and even innovated. As people return to offices, even part-time, we will continue to use what we’ve learned throughout this pandemic to inform our future innovation.