• Task Force seeks to improve sustainability of PLF’s
    Tom Welton, President, Royal Society of Chemistry

News & Views

Task Force seeks to improve sustainability of PLF’s

Aug 01 2022

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Dow, Northumbrian Water and United Utilities are the latest household names to join a task force convened by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) to deliver a ‘step change in innovation’ to improve the sustainability of a class of polymers worth $125 billion every year.

The RSC’s Sustainable Polymers in Liquid Formulation (PLFs) Task Force, which also includes Unilever, BASF, Croda, Crown Paints, Scott Bader and Afton Chemical, aims to spearhead a collaborative strategy that will drive innovation throughout the value chain and across sectors incorporating PLF’s in products for a huge variety of uses, including in the cosmetics, water treatments, lubricants and agricultural products industries.

The group was established after an RSC report estimated 36 million tonnes of PLFs are made and sold each year and as such, can be considered to have common challenges and solutions – the report  particularly highlighted the importance of matters such as collecting waste streams, recycling them or making them using more sustainable methods, as they are currently made mostly from fossil fuels.

Professor Tom Welton, President of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said: “Our report last year proved to be a real landmark moment. It identified common sustainability challenges facing polymer ingredients used in most households and workplaces – and said that we must address this without delay. Identifying how we can start to provide solutions and giving these chemicals a collective name, Polymers in Liquid Formulations, has allowed us to engage with some of the biggest companies in the world to spearhead action through our task force.

“The seriousness and enthusiasm with which the chemical industry has approached this from several sectors and parts of the supply chain drives home the colossal impact that can be achieved through ambition and collaboration. I welcome our new members who bring a wide range of perspectives from the whole value chain, which will be key to delivering a joined-up strategy.”

Professor Roy Sandbach OBE FRSC, independent Chair of the Sustainable Polymers Task Force said: “Polymers are important building-blocks for a myriad of everyday products, but unlike plastics they’re hidden from ‘sustainability view’. We need to change this. We need a concerted multi-sector and supply chain effort to look for technical innovation that reduces polymer impact and we need to drive a clear strategy to action. Now.”

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