Innovators for alternative raw materials
Plastics with a purposeCircular Economy does not only stand for reducing, recycling and reusing – it is also a topic of rethinking. While plastics remain a material we all depend on, there is a need for us as a society to reduce its usage and help decarbonize the economic system in the future. But in many areas of our lives, plastics maintain an essential part. Sometimes even life-essential: Let’s think of the medical industry, for example. Of medical equipment and abacterial packaging in hospitals. Of battery boxes for the increasement of e-mobility. Of smartphones, laptops and the full range of smart technology that relies on material solutions made of plastics. Unthinkable to lose all that in order to make a change. So, with plastic continuously needed in our society, we need to replace oil, find low-carbon alternatives, recycle what we considered waste, and discover other renewable resources. We want to know, what state are we in right now, in science, industry and economy, when it comes to alternatively produced plastics?
Get to know our innovators in the field of alternative raw materials:
Lars Börger is working at Neste, a Finnish company providing oil and renewable products such as fuels or feedstock for the polymers and chemicals industry. At Neste he is working on alternatives to fossil raw materials for polymers and chemicals that can contribute to a circular economy, using renewable raw materials such as waste and residue oils and fats - used cooking oil for example - and advancing chemical recycling to combat plastic waste pollution.
Also working in that field, but from a purely scientific side is Lars M. Blank. He works as a professor at RWTH Aachen, one of the most renowned universities in Europe when it comes to new technologies. In his opinion, decarbonization has been just a big misunderstanding, whereas defossilization is the goal we need to set for ourselves.
Coming from an economic and “hands-on” direction, Kai Vogt from Vaude – a German manufacturer of outdoor clothing and outdoor gear – gives us a glimpse on their products that are actually using plastics coming from alternative raw materials.
Interviewees express general views not connected to the specific companies mentioned or shown.
Vice President Strategy and Long-term Development Renewable Polymers and Chemicals, Neste Germany GmbH
Lars M. Blank
Professor for Applied Microbiology, RWTH Aachen University
Head of Innovation & Hardware Equipment, VAUDE