Fairphone 3: protective case of Desmopan® 100% recycled TPU
In designing the protective case for the Fairphone 3, the manufacturer turned to us for a more sustainable material solution that could marry the functional advantages of TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane), including resistance to abrasion and to discoloring from UV light, with more environmentally friendly feedstock of recycled material.
However, TPU is a specialty elastomer that was not previously part of any open mechanical plastic recycling program, so there were no safe recycled grades available on the market that we could use for the Fairphone 3 protective cover.
The challenge was to leverage our contacts in the industrial value chain to create a new, transparent material stream to recycle TPU, and to couple this with our own expertise in plastic compounding technology in service of a more sustainable phone cover material.
Using 100% recycled Desmopan® 3095AU RC100 resin enabled us to create a more sustainable phone cover for the Fairphone 3; one that contributes to a more environmentally friendly electronics industry. Both the manufacturing process and the product itself are certified for Recycled Claim Standard (RCS).
These Desmopan® recycled grades inherit the properties of conventional TPU, but are more friendly to the environment. They are soft yet tough, resistant to oil and chemicals, and bond to many hard plastics without adhesives. The recycled materials are optimized for the abrasion resistance and color stability against UV exposure that Fairphone required.
Processing becomes easier because recycled TPU melts at lower temperatures and has better flow than virgin grades. The entire manufacturing process is certified RCS (Recycled Claim Standard), which ensures the transparency of the recycled feedstock, its origins and its processing steps. Compared to virgin grades, 30-100% recycled TPU lowers the carbon footprint, and using recycled feedstock reduces the amount of plastic waste in the environment, easing the transition towards a more circular economy.
TPU is specialty elastomer which was not included in any open recycling programs. Working with the industrial value chain, we were able to establish a specific TPU recycling ecosystem, from waste stream management to recycled manufacturing, supporting the transition to a more circular economy.
- Sustainable: Using recycled feedstock reduces the amount of plastic waste created in the industry.
- Low carbon: 30-100% recycled feedstock lowers the carbon footprint compared to virgin TPU.
- RCS certified: The manufacturing process is certified for transparency of the waste stream.
- Processable: Recycled TPU melts at lower temperatures and flows better than virgin grades.
- Tough: Desmopan® recycled grades deliver abrasion resistance and UV color stability.