Don't let anyone fool you. There are no easy answers to the sustainability imperative. Sustainability is a process, not a goal, and there are many difficult decisions to make along the way. Unlike some suppliers, we will not mislead you about the environmental benefits of our material. Today, TOPAS® polymer is made from feedstocks derived primarily from petroleum. Many companies are working to create polymer feedstocks from non-depleting biological sources, and we plan to take advantage of such products as they become more available. Until then, here is some sustainability-related information for TOPAS products:
When products are made with stiff polymers like TOPAS COC, they don't need to be as thick. The high stiffness of TOPAS polymer enables substantial source reduction via downgauging (thinner) films and parts. One commercial example is medical forming webs, where a 6 mil PE-based film with a small percentage of TOPAS COC outperforms a 12-mil ionomer/EVA film. Meanwhile, in molded products such as medical containers, the break resistance of TOPAS resin is better than glass, resulting in fewer failed containers (and loss of the resource-intensive products inside). Another factor to consider in reduction efforts is the low density of TOPAS polymers, approximately equal to that of water, which leads to lightweight products with low shipping energy expenditure.
In packaging, TOPAS ethylene copolymer resins enable recycling-friendly film structures compatible with polyethylene or polypropylene recycle streams. In various applications, TOPAS COC replaces incompatible resins such as nylon, PVdC, PCTFE and PET, and even aluminum foil. TOPAS COC has good thermal stability, enabling reprocessing with a minimum of degradation. And in shrink labeling, PET beverage bottles can be more easily recycled when wrapped in a floatable polyolefin film made with TOPAS polymers.
Another aspect of sustainability is the ability to dispose of waste in the safest and most economical way. Sometimes this means reuse or recycling, but in other cases (such as medical waste) these options are not available. TOPAS polymer is very incineration compatible, with high energy density and halogen-free composition for a cleaner and safer burn.