Environmental Compatibility

GRI 103-1, GRI 103-2, GRI 103-3, GRI 416-2

WACKER takes environmental, health and safety criteria into account at every stage of the product life cycle. In research and development projects, we examine the sustainability aspects of our new products and processes, starting with the raw materials used. We try to minimize raw-material consumption while selecting materials that offer maximum ecological benefit. Our products are generally supplied to business customers for further processing – not directly to end customers.

Product Life Cycles

Product Life Cycles (pie chart)Product Life Cycles (pie chart)

Our life cycle assessments (LCAs) look at the environmental impact caused by a specific product family throughout its life cycle – a “cradle-to-gate” assessment extending from manufacturing to the factory gate that allows us to gauge the sustainability of our products and production processes, and to improve them accordingly. Our evaluations factor in the material, water and energy consumption of a product, as well as its ecotoxicity, over the entire life cycle. With the help of the WACKER ECOWHEEL®, we identify key sustainability topics and, together with our customers, set priorities for research projects.

WACKER ECOWHEEL®

Wacker EcoWheel (graphic)Wacker EcoWheel (graphic)

During the reporting period, WACKER updated the life-cycle assessment data for dispersions and for . The division made additional progress toward replacing -based surfactants (alkylphenol ethoxylates) in its product range.

By optimizing production processes, we have successfully reduced the percentage of in numerous dispersions and dispersible polymer powders. The following are some examples from our business divisions:

  • In 2015, we launched our CEZ 3031 for use as a binder in environmentally friendly interior and exterior paints and plasters.
  • VINNAPAS® EP 3360 ULS is a VAE (vinyl acetate- copolymer) dispersion that we began offering in early 2016 for high-quality, environmentally friendly interior paints in the Asia-Pacific region and in the Middle East and Africa.
  • Development teams at WACKER are among those working with an eye to reducing VOCs, offering products such as LUMISIL® LR 7601, in which the amount of volatiles has been significantly reduced. The plastics industry uses this highly transparent grade of liquid silicone rubber for applications such as optical lenses, sensors and lighting technology elements.
  • We have also substantially reduced the amount of volatiles in ELASTOSIL® LR 5040, a grade of liquid silicone rubber used in the plastics industry for baby-care products, medical technology and food processing, among other applications.
  • Gypsum dry-mix mortars formulated with SILRES® BS Powder S can be mixed very quickly without generating any dust. Because it is environmentally compatible and releases neither alcohol nor volatile organic compounds (VOCs), this additive is suitable for use indoors.

Polymer
A polymer is a large molecule made up of smaller molecular units (monomers). It contains between 10,000 and 100,000 monomers. Polymers can be long or ball-shaped.
Dispersible Polymer Powders
Created by drying dispersions in spray or disc dryers. VINNAPAS® polymer powders from WACKER are recommended as binders in the construction industry, e.g. for tile adhesives, self-leveling compounds and repair mortars. The powders improve adhesion, cohesion, flexibility and flexural strength, as well as water-retention and processing properties.
Alkylphenol Ethoxylates (APEOs)
The primary biodegradability of nonionic alkylphenol ethoxylate (APEO) surfactants meets the demands imposed by environmental protection agencies. However, the intermediate products formed during biodegradation are relatively persistent and much more toxic to fish than are the surfactants themselves.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are gaseous and vaporous substances of organic origin that are present in the air. They include hydrocarbons, alcohols, aldehydes and organic acids. Solvents, liquid fuels and synthetic substances can be VOCs, and so can organic compounds originating from biological processes. High VOC concentrations can be irritating to the eyes, nose and throat and may cause headaches, dizziness and tiredness.
VINNAPAS®
WACKER’s brand name for dispersions, dispersible polymer powders, solid resins and their associated product solutions. VINNAPAS® dispersions and polymer powders are primarily used in the construction industry as polymeric binders, e.g. in tile adhesives, exterior insulation and finish systems (EIFS) / external thermal insulation composite systems (ETICS), self-leveling compounds, and plasters.
Dispersion
Binary system in which one component is finely dispersed in another. VINNAPAS® dispersions from WACKER are vinyl-acetate-based binary copolymers and terpolymers in liquid form. They are mainly used as binders in the construction industry, e.g. for grouts, plasters and primers.
Ethylene
A colorless, slightly sweet-smelling gas that, under normal conditions, is lighter than air. It is needed as a chemical starting product for a great many synthetic materials, including polyethylene and polystyrene. It is used to make products for the household, agricultural and automotive sectors, among others.
Silicones
General term used to describe compounds of organic molecules and silicon. According to their areas of application, silicones can be classified as fluids, resins or rubber grades. Silicones are characterized by a myriad of outstanding properties. Typical areas of application include construction, the electrical and electronics industries, shipping and transportation, textiles and paper coatings.