1. What is a polycarbonate based on certified renewable feedstock?
At SABIC we have utilized our value chain and unique position in Europe to produce polycarbonate using second generation renewable feedstock’s, not in competition with the food chain, to make a resin with an equal performance to that produced from fossil naphtha.
2. Does TRUCIRCLE™ polycarbonate film and sheet have different material properties and quality compared to our existing polycarbonate portfolio?
It has exactly the same material properties; we are simply replacing molecules, fossil molecules with renewable ones. The quality does not change and same warranty conditions will be in place.
3. What is SABIC’s position on BPA?
BPA is an essential building block (intermediate) to produce polycarbonate. Its intermediate use complies will all existing EU regulation including Regulation (EU) no. 10/2011 on monomers to be used in plastic materials and articles and with the current REACH regulation.
We are aware of ECHA’s (European Chemical Agency) recent recommendation for BPA to be added to the authorization list under EU REACH. However, under the current regulations, our use as a monomer intermediate for manufacturing polymers is exempted from any action to restrict or ban BPA’s use for this purpose.
4. How does this announcement contribute to SABIC’s sustainability strategy?
SABIC is committed to supporting the growth and development of a circular economy, one in which products and raw materials are not wasted, but rather used to create new, valuable products. This is a key goal of SABIC’s sustainability platform. Circular economy is a concept embedded in our product innovation and development processes.
As part of our circularity endeavors, SABIC is exploring many feedstock options, and renewable feedstock is one of them. A key aspect is that SABIC only uses second-generation renewable feedstock that is manufactured from various types of plant-based non-food biomass; hence, SABIC does not want to use feedstock sources that directly compete with food use or food production. SABIC has identified certain sources that fulfill these requirements and today offers not only polyolefin products, but also polycarbonate products based on second-generation bio-renewable feedstock.
QUESTIONS RELATED TO APPLICATIONS AND AVAILABILITY
1. In which applications can the polycarbonate film and sheet based on certified renewable feedstock be used?
In principle, all applications currently using or that potentially will be using SABIC materials. However, only if the polycarbonate grades are produced in Bergen op Zoom, as this is the only (for now) ISCC-PLUS certified site where PC is produced. It is the customer's responsibility to inspect and test our product(s) regarding the suitability of their product(s) for themselves and its customers’ particular purposes.
2. How/when, will the customer be able to buy the product?
Through their normal SABIC sales channel.
3. When can the market expect first samples?
We are ready to provide samples and take commercial orders.
4. Can this product be purchased outside Europe?
Yes, we can ship all over the world.
5. In what quantities is the product available?
The new polycarbonate film and sheet is available in the normal quantities as applicable for the conventional polycarbonate film and sheet customers buy from SABIC. Orders can be fulfilled within our standard lead times.
QUESTIONS RELATED TO LCA/MASS BALANCE
1. Did SABIC conduct a Life Cycle Analysis (“LCA”) Study?
SABIC has completed an LCA study that is currently in the process of Third party ISO Critical Review. However, the study has passed SABIC Internal review that relies on SABIC protocols for LCA quality control.
The study findings indicate potential reductions in carbon footprint and fossil depletion impacts. The results also indicate potential environmental trade-offs with respect to marine eutrophication and water consumption.
It is important to understand that only a part of the feedstock used in polycarbonate production is renewably sourced. The LCA study has assessed the environmental performance of the renewable route, in comparison to fossil-based route at “Cradle to Gate” as well as “Cradle to Gate PLUS End of Life” scope levels and is relies on PAS 2050 methodology for biogenic carbon accounting.
2. What is the result of the LCA study?
SABIC’s cradle-to-gate peer-reviewed LCA study for our polycarbonate (PC) based on certified renewable feedstock solution reveals potentially significant reductions in carbon footprint (up to 61%), primarily enabled by the sequestration (removal) of carbon by biomass, and fossil depletion impacts (up to 35%) for the production of polycarbonate resin based on the incorporation of renewable feedstock, in comparison to fossil-based polycarbonate production.
The results also show potential environmental trade-offs with respect to marine eutrophication and water consumption.
3. Will SABIC apply the mass-balance principle?
Indeed, SABIC intends to apply the same principle for the use of plastic waste- based cracker feedstock in the manufacturing of our polycarbonate. The mass balance based certification can be seen as a stepping-stone towards the ultimate goal - where the crackers use only renewable feedstock instead of fossil-based naphtha.
4. What is mass balance and chain of custody?
Mass balance refers to the fact that the output claimed as renewable has to be equal to the amount of certified renewable biomass sourced as input. Traceability refers to the type of biomass needed to be followed through the entire value chain. Each step of the value chain involves a physical conversion, where the biomass sold is equal to the amount sourced. Under the chain of custody, each conversion step has to be certified.
QUESTIONS RELATED TO ISCC-PLUS
1. What exactly is the ISCC-PLUS certification scheme?
It is an independent system for the chemical industry to prove the sustainability of bio-based products. The scheme involves strict traceability and requires a chain of custody based on a mass balance system.
2. Why does SABIC need ISCC-PLUS certification?
SABIC wants to prove the sustainability of its feedstock and it is a benefit for the same to our customers. The strength of the ISCC-PLUS certification scheme is that it involves a physical chain of custody based on the mass balance principle.
3. Do our customers need to get ISCC-PLUS certified to use the products?
Yes, in order to make a sustainability claim, as our product is made from up to 65% renewable under the ISCC-PLUS certification scheme, SABIC customers need to obtain an ISCC-PLUS certification for their end products as well.
4. Is it difficult to get an ISCC-PLUS certification?
It is very similar to achieving a certification for other standards, such as other green labels e.g. FSC or ISO certification. SABIC can help by providing access to consultants who can help setting up the systems with our customers and to auditors that can verify compliance.
5. Can we guarantee the sustainable claim we make?
Yes. SABIC processes are certified under the ISCC-PLUS scheme, and so is any supplier who will make use of this opportunity. This gives the best possible chain of custody, which is also used in other renewables markets. Customers making use of our certified renewable polycarbonate will also need to obtain certification under ISCC-PLUS.
Under ISCC-PLUS, we will have to report the percentage of certified renewable feedstock in our product, based on mass balance. This depends on the grade used.
Our LCA based claims have been reviewed by a Third party ISO Critical by a panel of experts to ensure credibility of the study approaches and are validated by experts in the field of LCA. Further details can be exchanged under an NDA.
6. Will SABIC provide a certificate which proofs the ISCC certification?
Yes, for each order a certificate is sent to the customer. This certificate will state the percentage of the certified renewable content, which can be different for each grade, depending on the bill of materials.
QUESTIONS RELATED TO FEEDSTOCK
1. How will SABIC be sure that the feedstock won’t contain crude palm oils or oils produced from food-related sources?
According to the ISCC-PLUS certification scheme, it is mandatory to mention the origin of the biomass, which is audited by independent third party auditors.
2. If the feedstock contains animal fats, what is the source? Are animals being raised solely for animal fat production?
The feedstock contains no animal fats, only plant-based second-generation renewable feedstock. When the customer’s delivery arrives, it will come with a certificate stating its provenance – mentioning the source of the feedstock.
1. Will there be a change in coding/brand name?
Yes, it is foreseen that the color-coding will be modified by adding a ‘RW’, which stands for ‘Renewable’. The Grade nomenclature will remain the same. Hence, the current product certifications such as UL rating will not be affected.
The products will come under a new brand umbrella - TRUCIRCLE™.
2. What does TRUCIRCLE™ refer to?
In 2019, SABIC launched our ground-breaking TRUCIRCLE™ portfolio and services for circular solutions that can help our customers and brand owners to manufacture sustainable products to meet the growing challenges of today’s society.
SABIC’s TRUCIRCLE™ portfolio and services for circular solutions span; design for recyclability, mechanically recycled products, certified circular products from feedstock recycling of used plastics and certified renewables products from bio-based feedstock.
3. Can we make use of a logo if we use SABIC’s polycarbonate based on certified renewable feedstock?
The companies in the value chain for the polycarbonate based on certified renewable feedstock can use the ISCC logo, provided they are certified under the ISCC-PLUS scheme and comply with the ISCC-PLUS requirements.
4. What can the customer claim using SABIC’s polycarbonate?
For a customer’s specific use and application, the customer will have to develop a claim themselves. SABIC can support and provide input, but the customer will have to indicate the amount of certified renewable feedstock’s used via mass balance.
5. So no costs at all are involved for SABIC’s customers to convert their equipment?
There is no change in specification of SABIC’s polycarbonate and therefore there are no additional costs involved.