With over 60 years of industry-leading experience, Solvay continues to play a critical role in the drive toward a circular, sustainable plastics industry. As a global partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Solvay is committed to the development of additive solutions that reduce plastic waste generation. Our polyolefin additives extend the service life of virgin and recycled plastics. With our additives, plastics’ end-of-life is postponed during their first cycle - and they can be transformed into new raw materials for a second cycle, a third or possibly more. We work closely with our customers and partners along the value chain to anticipate evolving performance and regulatory needs. 

Solvay’s Polymer Additives encompass UV light stabilizers, antioxidants and antistatic agents, formulated to enhance the durability of plastics in a variety of industries, including agriculture, automotive, building and construction, energy, packaging, consumer goods, specialty fibers, films and sheets. Our goal is to enable the upcycling of recycled feedstock and support recycled resins in high-value end markets. Our wide range of light stabilizers enables plastics in these markets to be repurposed, thereby keeping these materials in use, reducing their environmental footprint and impact on society. 

By improving the performance of virgin and recycled polyolefins, we strive to reduce plastic waste and evolve towards a more sustainable future for a wide range of high-value markets. 

Sophie Poelmans
Global Marketing Manager, Polymer Additives at Solvay
Solvay One Planet

Solvay One Planet

Our agenda to connect the dots between business and sustainability.

Ellen MacArthur

Circular Economy

Our partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

The Challenge  

Establishing a circular plastics economy presents challenges for plastics producers, their partners and other key stakeholders. Studies show, for example, that between one and two million metric tons of plastic infiltrate our oceans and rivers annually. While incineration has shown to minimize plastics in oceans and rivers, this method of disposal releases vast amounts of CO2, other greenhouse gases and toxic emissions into the atmosphere, as well as secondary waste, such as ash, that must be landfilled. 

Polyolefin plastics, specifically, typically degrade over extended periods of use, causing them to  lose many of their desirable properties and commercial viability. Marginal amounts of polyolefin waste are collected from various industries and are transformed into recycled polyolefins. Adoption of recycled polyolefins has been a challenge to date due to issues concerning quality, supply and price. Resulting blends contain content with varying levels of degradation and inconsistent grades of plastic, making them difficult to separate or isolate and reuse. Collecting and sorting these blends proves challenging, leading to inconsistent supply. Recycled polyolefins are also commonly competing with an abundant supply of virgin resins, rendering recycled grades expensive and impractical.

Additives, such as UV stabilizers and antioxidants for polyolefins, can be incorporated in recycled formulations to improve their quality. Accordingly, recycling and reusing polyolefins with high-performance additives is a viable method to minimize waste and continue development toward a circular economy supported by innovative and useful products.
 

  • Additives Slow Degradation of Physical and Mechanical Properties

Solvay’s UV light stabilizers and antioxidants slow the degradation of physical and mechanical properties of recycled resins, keeping the polymer in use longer. Leveraging Solvay’s stabilizers and antioxidants, polyolefins perform nearly identical to 100% virgin resins under accelerated weathering. Additionally, our polymer additives enable improved resistance to excessive sunlight, heat and humidity. 
 

  • Additives Protect Surface Properties of Recycled Resins

Recycled polyolefins are especially susceptible to surface degradation, but Solvay’s plastic additives enable recycled blends to maintain surface properties over extended use or UV exposure. Stabilizers and antioxidants not only prevent immediate surface crazing in post consumer recycled (PCR) resins, but also enable the increased usage of recycled polyolefin resin while achieving similar color stability to virgin resin formulations. 
 

  • Additives Improve Second-Life Performance of Recycled Resins

Solvay’s polymer additives minimize changes in the melt flow index (MFI) of polyolefins, which substantially enhances second-life performance. Our stabilizers enable the MFI to remain within a workable range, improving processability and allowing an increased percentage of recycled resin to be used in plastic-formulated components. Incorporating stabilizers into blends mitigates strand breaks, reduces scrap rates, and increases the overall throughput and strand quality. These improvements allow for up to triple the amount of recycled resin to be used while maintaining the MFI. These benefits support large-scale recycling and reuse of durable polyolefins in a wide range of high-value markets. 
 

For more information on how our polymer additives contribute to sustainability in the plastics market, contact our experts

 

Solvay’s Commitment To Sustainability

Solvay One Planet is our plan to connect scientific breakthroughs and innovation to some of the most pressing issues facing our planet, including plastic waste. In line with our dedicated commitment and bold ambition, we aim to develop solutions that create sustainable shared value for all around three pillars: climate change, resource efficiency and quality of life

As we accelerate the transition toward circular business and operations, Solvay’s Polymer Additives team leverages partnerships and expertise to accelerate the adoption of recycled resins in a wide range of markets. With our high-performance UV light stabilizers, antioxidants and antistatic agents, we are continually innovating to optimize the performance, cost and sustainability profile of polyolefins. By extending the service life of polyolefins and their recyclability—especially in the agriculture, automotive, building and construction and energy markets—we make better use of our finite resources and begin to cultivate a future where plastics never become waste.