PP & Environment

Improvements in the properties of polypropylene have enabled this family of recyclable polymers to become lighter and stronger versus other materials encouraging its use where energy, fuel or water conservation is important.

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Efficient, Clean and Recyclable

HMC Polymers is keenly aware of its environmental responsibilities and is continually implementing technologies which can improve the environmental performance of both our operations and our products.

There are advantages arising from improvements in our conversion technology, coupled with the availability of more sophisticated polypropylene and often, these technology improvements have also generated improvements in environmental outcomes as equivalent performance has often been maintained whilst reducing the consumption of raw materials and energy. The production of polypropylene can be described as being a high conversion - high yield process, as a very low proportion of raw materials leave the process as either waste or emissions.

Despite these advances, energy use remains an area of focus for HMC Polymers, as both polymer production and molding are energy intensive processes.

While HMC continues to develop products that converter/customers can process with lower energy requirement and less polymer use, the polymer conversion process is generally more energy intensive than polymer production, per unit weight. Therefore, it is important for converters to minimise their energy losses during each stage of the conversion process. The design and section of equipment, and the process layout are extremely important for minimizing energy losses due to the excessive use of heating, cooling or equipment pressure.

Additional guidance material be obtained via documents such as the European Best Practice Guide: Low Energy Plastics Processing - 2006, or via HMC Polymers' technical service. It is noteworthy that as Environmental concerns continue to drive the selection of end-use applications with a favourable environmental profile, that polypropylene is often a material of choice.

Continuous improvements in the technical properties of polypropylene have enabled PP grades to become lighter and stronger, promoting its use for long lasting products in applications which assist sustainable initiatives relating to energy, fuel or water conservation.

Applications such as packaging or automotive continue to reap benefits such as reduced food wastage due to improved packaging, and fuel consumption savings in vehicles due to weight reduction.

Life cycle benefits of polypropylene resins during manufacture, use and recovery

  • Relatively low energy consumption during resin production and conversion in comparison to the energy savings that can be realised during the lifetime of the final product application
  • Production processes generate low water and air emissions
  • Highly efficient utilisation of raw materials minimizes solid waste during polymer production and conversion
  • Inherently low weight and product packing efficiency minimises transportation requirements and fuel usage
  • Polypropylene grades are suitable for recycling or energy recovery, enabling waste to be diverted from landfills
  • Polypropylene has a high calorific value, and can contribute greatly to energy recovery
  • Products ranging from yoghurt cups to automotive bumper covers benefit from improved source reduction capabilities through advances in melt flow and thin-walling
  • PP products are durable and deliver long-life and reuse advantages