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
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.
During the reporting period, WACKER POLYMERS updated the life-cycle assessment data for dispersions and for dispersible polymer powders. The division made additional progress toward replacing APEO-based surfactants (alkylphenol ethoxylates) in its product range.
By optimizing production processes, we have successfully reduced the percentage of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in numerous dispersions and dispersible polymer powders. The following are some examples from our business divisions:
- In 2015, we launched our VINNAPAS® CEZ 3031 dispersion for use as a binder in environmentally friendly interior and exterior paints and plasters.
- VINNAPAS® EP 3360 ULS is a VAE (vinyl acetate-ethylene 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 SILICONES 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.