LONDON — BASF has joined the Royal Society of Chemistry’s (RSC) task force that aims to make a polymers industry — worth $125 billion annually — more sustainable. The task force comprises a number of leaders in the sector, including Unilever, Croda, Scott Bader, Crown Paints and Afton Chemical, already signed up for the RSC’s initiative. The RSC’s initiative aims to create a circular economy for a group of thousands of polymers in liquid formulations, often referred to as PLFs.

Leading the group will be Professor Roy Sandbach OBE FRSC, the immediate past president of the RSC’s Industry and Technology Council, who will be the Interim Chair. Sandbach led the development of the regional innovation strategy for the North East of England and previously held global R&D positions with Proctor and Gamble during a 31-year association with the company.

PLFs have a number of practical uses and are found in millions of products, from paints, adhesives and sealants to fertilizers, lubricants and cosmetics. They are also used in water treatment, ink production and household cleaning products such as washing detergent. There are very few ways to recycle PLFs, but with more than 36.25 million tonnes not recovered after use every year – enough to fill Wembley Stadium 32 times – the task-force’s aim is to develop ways to recover, reuse and remake these materials as well as developing biodegradable or naturally sourced alternatives.

Professor Tom Welton, President of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said, “Welcoming BASF to a task force that already counts Unilever, Croda, Scott Bader, Crown Paints and Afton Chemical among its members is a huge indicator of the strength of our collaborative approach. We’re looking forward to giving PLFs the attention they’re long overdue with this globally influential group.”

Dr Geoff Mackey FRSC, BASF UK & Ireland Sustainability Director, said, “At BASF, our corporate purpose is ‘We create chemistry for a sustainable future.’ We want to contribute to a world that provides a viable future with enhanced quality of life for everyone. We do so by creating chemistry for our customers and society and by making the best use of available resources.  Polymers in liquid formulations is a theme that cuts across many of our core markets and technologies. Whether it’s dispersions for paints and adhesives, crop protection products, home and personal care ingredients, or the many other applications in which they are formulated – we want to ensure that we continue to benefit from their use without impacting on the planet or its people.”

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