Royal Society of Chemistry launches sustainable PLFs roadmap



The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has said millions of everyday household products could be made more sustainable in seven years after the launch of its roadmap to make key ingredients biodegradable.

A new report, The PLFs Revolution: Our 2040 roadmap for sustainable polymers in liquid formulations, provides a blueprint for how to achieve industry-wide change to make polymers in liquid formulations (PLFs) more sustainable. The roadmap calls for industry to rapidly advance research and development on PLFs.

The RSC says the way that PLFs are made, used, and disposed of is putting unnecessary strain on the environment by releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, using up the earth’s finite resources, and generating waste. The RSC is also calling on the UK government to create a national chemicals regulator.

The RSC collaborated with leaders from 10 major chemical-producing, product-making, and waste management companies to form the Sustainable PLFs Task Force and come up with the plan. The Task Force’s members include Unilever, BASF, and Walgreens Boots Alliance.

With the right funding and collaboration, we can design biodegradable PLFs.

The task force has set a mission for global industry to develop biodegradable PLFs and advance circular economy infrastructure for these chemicals by 2030, which the RSC says will set a course for the transition of the $125 billion sector to become sustainable by 2040.

The RSC says the speciality chemicals manufacturer and task force member Croda recently partnered with the Universities of Nottingham and York on an EPSRC-supported project to develop sustainable PLFs.

Professor Anju Massey-Brooker, industry associate at the Royal Society of Chemistry, said: “We are being deliberately ambitious. The scale of this challenge is immense; PLFs can be found in everything from cosmetics and make-up to fertilisers and lubricants for machinery.

“However, with the right funding and collaboration, we can design biodegradable PLFs and put in place the infrastructure needed to create circular economies for them, so that products retain their usefulness while being more sustainable.

“Government, academics, industry, and the public have shown this can be done through their work to reduce the harms caused by plastic pollution; all these groups now need to come together and join the PLFs revolution.”

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