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Protect the environment, conserve resources, use sustainable foam materials

 

Sustainable foam materials—the alternative

In the past, polyurethane (PUR) foams were produced primarily from raw materials based on crude oil, with polyols being an important component. Today, there are various methods for producing foam materials with a steadily increasing sustainable content. These techniques reduce the proportion of fossil components, lower climate-damaging CO2, or utilise various recycling options to decrease the use of new resources by means of a circular economy. All of the new procedures have one thing in common: they make a valuable contribution to protecting the climate and the environment and positively influencing the ecological footprint.

Foam materials with a sustainable component can replace conventional products in a wide range of markets.

Seal for sustainably produced and processed foam materials

Recognising “green” foam materials at a glance

Foam materials with a sustainable component are visually indistinguishable from conventionally manufactured products—perfect for use, but they are not immediately apparent to the user. There is now a seal for this: any foam product with this label is guaranteed to be made of foam materials with a sustainable component.

Foam materials produced sustainably: four manufacturing methods

Foam materials based on renewable raw materials

In the production of polyols, one of the main components of PUR foam materials, crude oil (petroleum) is partially replaced by vegetable oils. In principle, various vegetable oils, such as rapeseed, soya, palm, or castor oil, can be used. When castor oil is used in polyols, for example, a sustainable proportion of up to 26% can be achieved in the foam material.

Foam materials with chemical recycling

The production of semi-finished and finished products made of PUR foam results in material residues. These residues are recycled by turning them into new polyols through the chemical process of solvolysis.

Foam materials with solid dispersion

In particular, rigid foams used in the construction sector can also be physically recycled. This is done by grinding them into a fine solid, which is added during the production of PUR foam materials. Technical limitations mean that a sustainable proportion of up to 10% can be achieved. If this solid dispersion is combined with other processes or materials, the sustainable proportion can be increased even further.

Foam materials with carbon upcycling

In the production of flexible foam materials, the required petroleum-based polyol is partly replaced by a polyol based on CO2. CO2 is a by-product of chemical production processes and would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. This reduces the use of fossil components and does not pollute the environment in the form of emissions. By using CO2-based polyols, a sustainable proportion of up to 13% can be achieved.

Out of responsibility to our children

Sustainable processing of foam materials

 

More and more people are interested in sustainable foam materials

Many people prefer sustainable products. These are gaining in market share against conventional products. Therefore, sustainably produced products belong in every range and offer high growth rates. This also applies to foam materials. Sustainable thinking and action is firmly anchored in many companies, employees act in an environmentally conscious manner, and customers choose companies that take responsibility and position themselves sustainably. Although sustainable action is more expensive in the short term, it enhances a company’s image, offers competitive advantages, and demonstrates responsibility, innovative capacity, and long-term thinking based on social, economic, and environmental accountability.

 

Sustainably processed “green” foam materials

Consistent action means processing sustainable foam materials in a way that is as sustainable as possible. This is done in processes that minimise negative impacts on the environment while conserving energy and natural resources. With the use of green power, biogas, photovoltaics to cover energy requirements, energy-optimised building structures, and energy-efficient lighting in production, through to production processes that minimise waste and recycling strategies, manufacturing methods also make a significant contribution to protecting the environment.

 

An initiative by Pahlke Schaumstoffe

Future viability should be recognised, which is why we are the initiator behind the seal for sustainable foam materials. Together with suppliers and project partners, we have been working with conviction for many years on the development and marketing of foam materials with sustainable components and their sustainable processing. In addition, we are a signatory of the statement drawn up by Entrepreneurs for Future and a member of the BNW Bundesverband für nachhaltige Wirtschaft e. V. (German Federal Association of Green Business).

 

Sustainable foam materials from Pahlke Schaumstoffe—enquire online now!