Post-industry or post-consumer plastics?
At Diab, we have produced and designed industrial plastic products for over 70 years. We have been part of developing the whole sandwich composite industry, and our products are designed for a very long life.
Long lifespan makes plastics sustainable
To give you two examples of their lifespan: When our products are used, for instance, in an aircraft, they will fly across the Atlantic for maybe 30 years. If it's used to produce the blade of a wind turbine, it will produce renewable electricity for more than 20 years.
So, the lifespan of our products is very long, and this is true for all of the different types of plastics we use. We use PVC, PET, PES, and PEI. PES and PEI are primarily used in the aerospace industry. But the other two, PVC and PET, are used depending on what type of application you want to use the products for. One common thing for all of these products is that we want to make them as circular as possible, which means that the raw materials we use could be reused repeatedly.
Recycle all plastics
Let’s talk about PET because it is a polymer type of plastic with a growing market demand. It is also a thermoplastic, which is very suitable for a circular life. And when we want to find recycled raw materials for PET, we often hear a discussion about post-consumer and post-industry plastics.
This is a little bit unnecessarily complicated. At Diab, we say all plastics should be recycled. Post-consumer plastics are typically PET plastic used for consumer products. The best example is the PET bottle. Post-industry plastics is plastic that has been used in an industrial application. So fundamentally, there is no real difference. It is just that it has been used in different applications.
We also believe it's better to use industrial plastics for industrial applications. We are trying to adopt as much post-industrial plastics as possible.
Environmental Product Declarations
To explain our products' overall environmental carbon footprint, whether it’s PVC or PET, we produce something called environmental product declarations. This is a European standard that is sometimes called EPD. We generate these reports and publish them on our website because we want to create transparency. When you read the EPD, you can compare a product with another product because we all use the same standard. That is why we are generating these EPD reports and updating them every second year.
Another thing that could be interesting for anyone interested in circular products is that products can be made non-fossil or fossil-free. This concept is called mass balancing, but we will discuss it in the next episode of Going Circular. Stay tuned!