Braskem, Sealed Air and Naturepedic partner to bring renewable foam polyethylene to the market

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Braskem, the largest thermoplastics resins producer in the Americas and the leading producer of biopolymers in the world, along with Sealed Air Corporation, an innovative packaging, cleaning and hygiene solutions company, and Naturepedic, the leading manufacturer of certified organic mattresses and bedding products for the whole family in the U.S., are pleased to announce their partnership to create a new-to-world formula for renewable polyethylene foam.

With this initiative, Sealed Air aims to advance their strategy to create a better way for life by re-imagining the industries they serve around the globe, and develop a more efficient and sustainable supply chain for them. "Renewable polyethylene foam technology is a patent pending innovation which is helping us re-think the polyethylene foam industry. By using innovation, creativity and bio-based polymers we are promoting sustainability and creating a better value for life," says Dr. N.S. Ramesh, Senior Engineering Fellow, Product Care R&D.

This innovation was first announced by Sealed Air in Frankfurt, Germany, in April of 2017. Now Braskem and Sealed Air will attend the Sustainable Brands Conference, in Detroit, from May 22 through 25, to share this breakthrough product at Braskem's booth in the Good Materials section in the Activation Hub.

Braskem's I'm Green™ Polyethylene (PE) is a bio-based resin made from ethanol, a renewable and sustainable resource produced from Brazilian sugarcane, and a drop-in substitute for conventional oil-based polyethylene. Cultivation of sugarcane utilizes CO2 and releases O2, which means the material has a negative carbon footprint. The use of Braskem's Green polyethylene in the production of one ton of Sealed Air's foam equates to 3.09 tons of CO2 captured from the atmosphere from a cradle to Braskem gate life cycle perspective.

"Sealed Air's vision perfectly aligns with our purpose at Braskem, which is to improve peoples' lives by creating sustainable solutions in chemicals and plastics. The renewable polyethylene foam is a phenomenal achievement and we are proud to partner with Sealed Air and be involved with this innovation," said Gustavo Sergi, director of Renewable Chemicals at Braskem.

"We have been watching the industry moving more and more toward renewable materials and noticed a great deal of energy being dedicated specifically to bio plastics," said Chad Stephens, VP of Research and Development for Sealed Air. "For Sealed Air, the next logical strategic step was to progress the advancement of renewable polyethylene foams in our product offerings, enabling our clients to further reduce their packaging footprint with more sustainable and enviro-friendly solutions while still providing superior protection against damage."

The first application of the renewable polyethylene foam will be in Naturepedic's mattresses. Naturepedic was responsible for introducing Sealed Air to Braskem while searching for an alternative to polyethylene made from petroleum for its crib mattresses. Barry Cik, Founder of Naturepedic, strongly believes in the importance of responsibly sourcing the company's raw materials. "I firmly believe that making choices with the future in mind is the right, responsible behavior we all should strive for. Using renewable materials decouples us from fossil based plastics, and this is a key tenant of our company's purpose."

Having pioneered the use of bio-based materials in the mattress industry, Naturepedic never uses polyurethane foam or associated flame retardants in any of its products and has now been able to eliminate virtually all petroleum-based materials from its products. Using polyethylene foam made from non-GMO sugarcane sourced from existing plantations also provides the company with a lightweight alternative to latex or steel coils.

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