UPM Biochemicals and Selenis, a subsidiary of the IMG Group that produces speciality polyester resins for a wide range of applications, have formed a strategic alliance to produce sustainable polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG).
With the goal of helping the packaging industry reduce its CO2 footprint and redefine the sustainability goals of its customers, the partnership will accelerate the introduction of renewable, sustainable forest-sourced materials into plastic applications, and reduce fossil resource dependency.
PETG is a highly transparent, FDA-approved material used in a large variety of applications, including cosmetics and personal care packaging, heat shrink sleeves, and durable goods, such as bulk dispensers.
UPM will supply Selenis with its new sustainable bio mono-ethylene glycol (Bio-MEG), called UPM BioPura is produced from sustainably sourced, certified hardwood obtained from forests in the regions around Leuna in Germany, where the company is building what it says is the world’s first industry-scale biorefinery converting woody biomass into next-gen biochemicals.
The biomass does not compete with food resources and will enable manufacturers a viable option to redefine their net zero targets, and significantly reduce their scope 3 emissions by switching effortlessly from fossil-based, to a renewable, drop-in ingredient.
UPM Biochemicals is committed to the sustainable transformation of the packaging industry, and is actively engaging with partners, such as Selenis, to develop new, sustainable applications and products based on the biochemicals to be produced in Leuna.
Both companies have a shared vision to decrease the industry’s dependency on virgin fossil materials, and to drive towards a net zero circular economy.
“We are delighted to partner with Selenis as the company pursues a strategy to continuously reduce the CO2 footprint of its products – partnerships like ours are at the heart of a greener, more sustainable chemistry,” said Michael Duetsch, vice-president Biochemicals at UPM.
“We will work with Selenis to deliver outstanding solutions for their customers, enabling them to innovate towards sustainable packaging solutions with a significantly reduced greenhouse gas footprint.
“As the packaging industry is truly striving for a more environmentally-friendly future, incorporating bio-based materials like UPM BioPura, alongside an ever-increasing share of recycled materials will be an essential part.”
Selenis focuses its product innovation on developing products that are fully recyclable in the PET stream, and has revolutionary technology that upcycles plastic waste into new polymers, replacing fossil-fuel feedstocks with recycled polyester raw material.
Selenis converters and brand owners can now customise their products to reduce their carbon footprint, by adding bio and recycled content, with no performance trade-offs.
Moreover, Selenis is investing in self-generated solar energy, which will allow the usage of fully green energy in the manufacturing process of polymer, further supporting brand owners on their decarbonisation strategies.
“We centre our innovation efforts in markets where the pressure for recyclable solutions is higher because the life of the product is shorter, meaning end-of-life solutions are more critical. The packaging and the cosmetics industries are two examples where brand owners prioritise circularity,” said Marta Matos Gil, chief sustainability officer at Selenis.
“As we take steps towards becoming a regenerative company, developing products that meet sustainable standards in recyclability, eco-resource efficiency and eco-friendly compositions to improve their circularity is vital.
“Our new partnership with UPM is illustrative of how we are jointly working across the value chain to create tangible solutions that support the advancement of a circular economy and considerably reduce plastic waste.”