Sharpening the Global Approach to Plastics Circularity

What if we lived in a world where your recycling bin replaced your trash can? Where all products made from plastics—from the morning’s milk jug and yogurt cup to your old fleece sweatshirt—could be manufactured into something new?

It may seem like a tall order.  

But imagine the possibilities it could bring.  

Disrupting the model of the “make, take, waste” mindset and embracing the possibility of plastics circularity is a major step towards creating a more sustainable future. It’s a complete paradigm shift for people, for companies, and for industries around the world. Successfully taking plastic waste and incorporating it into new products, however, requires an all-in effort—one where the strengths of partners are marshalled to maximize positive impact. 

Milliken is committed to being a leader in this effort, and we’re catalyzing critical conversations to accelerate momentum toward sustainable solutions.  

As materials science experts, Milliken’s team has a unique mix of capabilities and resources to help redefine plastic waste as a valuable renewable resource. One of the complex barriers to achieving plastic circularity is creating a quality product from recycled content to rival that of a new plastic product. Returning plastic resin to a virgin-like state complicates plastic recycling. Our goal? To develop a plastic additives portfolio that makes recycling plastic more efficient and makes high-quality, highly versatile products.  

Take DeltaMax™ Performance Modifiers, our award-winning additive for manufacturing with recycled polypropylene.    

Polypropylene is among the fastest-growing plastics in the world. A high-impact plastic molded to make automotive and industrial parts, home goods, and lawn and garden products, they have become an integral part of consumers’ everyday lives. 

Consumers expect these plastic products to be tough, durable, rigid, and—especially in today’s environmentally conscious culture—utilize natural and material resources responsibly when manufactured.  

Incorporating recycled content into polypropylene is where problems arise. There are inherent tradeoffs between melt flow properties, stiffness, impact strength, and use of recycled content when manufacturing polypropylene. Traditionally, when one characteristic is improved, the others decrease, making it difficult to optimize recycled content in new products.  

DeltaMax™ Performance Modifiers, masterbatches for polypropylene, represent a breakthrough in this long-standing struggle in the plastics industry. These easy-to-use additives increase the polymer melt flow rate of polypropylene without sacrificing durability; enable the use of up to 100% post-consumer and post-industrial recycled resins; improve manufacturers’ energy savings and environmental impacts; and simplify the formulation process for polymer processors through an easy-to-use solution.   

DeltaMax™ is just one element to draw from as we all work towards closing the loop for plastics—one contribution towards an end result that requires multifaceted collaboration globally.

In this spirit, Milliken joined Waste Management and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to sponsor the National Geographic Circular Economy Forum on Wednesday, February 26, to explore new and existing innovations and collaborations in pursuit of closing the loop of our world’s economy.  

Our president and CEO Halsey Cook shared his insight on barriers and enablers to achieving circularity as part of the Leading Disruption panel, as he leads Milliken to positively impact the world for generations to come.   

You can view the forum’s inspiring conversations through this livestream link. Share your most inspiring takeaways using #NatGeoForum as we work to accelerate a circular economy.