Plastics flowing into the ocean are expected to almost triple by 2040; that is, of course, unless we take immediate action to protect our environment. SABIC and Microsoft are an example of two companies coming together to do something big for our environment.
The two companies recently collaborated to create Microsoft’s first consumer electronic product—The Microsoft Ocean Plastic Mouse—with an exterior shell containing 20% recycled ocean plastic.
Ocean plastic is defined as plastic that has been certified by a third party as recovered from any ocean or ocean-feeding waterways or where it washed ashore from these locations. Ocean plastic differs from ocean-bound plastic in that ocean-bound plastic is recovered from ocean-feeding waterways, shorelines, and inland areas within a 50-kilometer radius of the ocean. The two recycled products play complementary roles in helping address the issue of ocean plastic waste.
Take a look at how this collaboration between SABIC and Microsoft unfolded. Microsoft began this project with an objective of creating a plastic resin made from at least 10% recycled ocean plastic as part of its commitment to achieve zero waste by 2030. After hearing the initial vision for the project, SABIC joined the effort to source the recycled material and to formulate a resin that satisfied Microsoft’s demanding quality standards. The Microsoft design team collaborated with technologists at SABIC to provide feedback on prototypes made with the new resin. This effort resulted in several rounds of reformulation prior to arriving at a final version that exceeded Microsoft’s initial 10% goal. Pretty cool, right?
This builds on what SABIC is already doing with ocean-bound plastics. SABIC’s TRUCIRCLE portfolio spans a range of products and services, including design for recyclability, mechanically recycled products, certified circular products from feedstock recycling of used plastic, certified renewables products from bio-based feedstock, and closed-loop initiatives to recycle plastic back into high quality applications and help prevent valuable used plastics from becoming waste.
The collaboration between SABIC and Microsoft aims to have SABIC provide a new XENOY resin for Microsoft product use that is comprised of 20% ocean plastic, as part of SABIC’S TRUCIRCLE portfolio and services. This new XENOY resin with recycled ocean plastic can help reduce plastic waste in the ocean. For example, based on a resin grade comprised of 20% recycled content, for every 1kT of product containing recycled ocean-plastic XENOY PC/PET compound, an equivalent of 24 million single-use 0.5liter PET water bottles is removed from the ocean, ocean-feeding waterways, or ocean-adjacent shores.
While collaboration is a good step, it is certainly not enough to reverse the tides already in motion with our plastics. Still, this partnership is proof that companies coming together can make a difference. What I like here is this project provides a blueprint to demonstrate to the broader industry that recycling and reusing valuable plastic resins that have been recovered from the ocean, ocean-feeding waterways, or where they have been washed ashore from these locations is achievable when value chain partners use their knowledge and expertise and work together. We need louder voices that really care about all the damage that has been created. The real question now becomes who will actively do something about it to make a real difference at all levels?
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