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Braskem, Sealed Air and Naturepedic partner to bring renewable foam polyethylene to market

Braskem SA, Sealed Air Corporation and Naturepedic have announced a partnership to create a "new-to-world" formula for renewable polyethylene foam based on a patent-pending innovation and bio-based polyethylene.

The green ethylene unit in Triunfo, Rio Grande do Sul (photo courtesy Braskem).
The green ethylene unit in Triunfo, Rio Grande do Sul (photo courtesy Braskem). The green ethylene unit in Triunfo, Rio Grande do Sul (photo courtesy Braskem).

Brazil-headed Braskem SA, the largest petrochemical and thermoplastic resin company in the Americas, along with US-headed Sealed Air Corporation, an innovative packaging, cleaning and hygiene solutions company, and US-based Naturepedic, a leading manufacturer of certified organic mattresses and bedding products have announced a partnership to create a “new-to-world” formula for renewable polyethylene foam.

Renewable polyethylene foam technology is a patent pending innovation which is helping us re-think the polyethylene foam industry. By using innovation, creativity and bio-based polymers we are promoting sustainability and creating a better value for life, said Dr N.S. Ramesh, Senior Engineering Fellow, Product Care R&D at Sealed Air..

Braskem’s “I’m Green Polyethylene” (PE) is a bio-based resin made from ethanol, a renewable and sustainable resource produced from Brazilian sugarcane, and a drop-in substitute for conventional oil-based polyethylene. Cultivation of sugarcane utilises carbon dioxide (CO2) and releases oxygen (O2), which means the material has a negative carbon footprint.

Sealed Air’s vision perfectly aligns with our purpose at Braskem, which is to improve peoples’ lives by creating sustainable solutions in chemicals and plastics. The renewable polyethylene foam is a phenomenal achievement and we are proud to partner with Sealed Air and be involved with this innovation, said Gustavo Sergi, director of Renewable Chemicals at Braskem.

The use of Braskem’s Green polyethylene in the production of one tonne of Sealed Air’s foam equates to 3.09 tonnes of CO2 captured from the atmosphere from a cradle to Braskem gate life cycle perspective.

We have been watching the industry moving more and more toward renewable materials and noticed a great deal of energy being dedicated specifically to bio plastics. For Sealed Air, the next logical strategic step was to progress the advancement of renewable polyethylene foams in our product offerings, enabling our clients to further reduce their packaging footprint with more sustainable and enviro-friendly solutions while still providing superior protection against damage, said Chad Stephens, VP of Research and Development for Sealed Air.

The first application of the renewable polyethylene foam will be in Naturepedic’s mattresses. Naturepedic was responsible for introducing Sealed Air to Braskem while searching for an alternative to polyethylene made from petroleum for its crib mattresses.

Having pioneered the use of bio-based materials in the mattress industry, Naturepedic never uses polyurethane foam or associated flame retardants in any of its products and has now been able to eliminate virtually all petroleum-based materials from its products.

I firmly believe that making choices with the future in mind is the right, responsible behaviour we all should strive for. Using renewable materials decouples us from fossil based plastics, and this is a key tenant of our company’s purpose, said Barry Cik, Founder of Naturepedic.

Using polyethylene foam made from non-GMO sugarcane ethanol sourced from existing plantations also provides the company with a lightweight alternative to latex or steel coils.

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