Ready for the run?

December 12, 2022

Gearing up for the RACE to a Net-Zero future – with our RubberPlastics.

In the beginning of the year, B4Plastics had been selected to join the RACE to Net-Zero by the European Innovation Council and Climate-KIC with one of our lead innovations, the first product of B4Plastics’ RubberPlastics technology platform, Rubran®.

The B4Plastics RubberPlastics aim to realize material properties similar to rubber or thermoplastic elastomers while offering improved sustainability. This both at the raw materials side, including recycled postconsumer plastic waste and bio-based content, as well as at the end-of-life. Rubran® presents one of the first rubbery material products with an enhanced degradability and closed-loop recyclability potential. With its dampening properties and wide temperature range performance, Rubran® could be the ideal eco-friendly rubber replacement for products such as running shoes, forklift tires, bike handgrips, hoses, and cables.

B4Plastics' RubberPlastics examples.
B4Plastics’ RubberPlastics examples.

With the RACE to Net-Zero, we had the opportunity to:

  1. A. get a fast-track education in Life Cycle Assessments and
  2. B. directly implement this competence in a climate impact forecast calculation for one product which will result in a validated climate impact report for that product.

Hence, a wonderful opportunity to evaluate the climate impact of Rubran® along with other start- and scale-ups.

Time for an evaluation.

During the course of this programme, B4Plastics had the chance to thoroughly investigate the environmental impact of the Rubran® product in terms of its carbon footprint. At the end of the programme, we received a third-party validated report which approved the climate impact forecast of our innovation.

Considering a production of 500 tonnes of Rubran® we could provide the elastomeric material necessary for about 2.5 million running shoe soles, which would be enough to provide every recreational runner in Belgium, within one year. In turn, this would avoid the use of fossil-based polyurethane typically used as material for shoe soles. Combined with the upcycling of post-consumer plastic waste, shorter transportation distances, and closed-loop recycling potential, the first RubberPlastics product proved a significant climate impact reduction potential of 1000 tonnes of climate threatening CO2 equivalent emissions annually, based on a 500 t/yr production. Compared to conventional elastomeric polymers, this means a reduction of around 40%. This amount is equal to driving a car around the world for 126 times or to the annual emissions of electricity consumption of 429 EU households.

2.5 Million running shoe soles would be enough to provide every recreational runner in Belgium, within one year.
2.5 Million running shoe soles would be enough to provide every recreational runner in Belgium, within one year.

With this outcome, Rubran® and our RubberPlastics technology platform is sending a strong message: The power of combining green innovation and environmental assessments will fuel the urgent race to net-zero.

What’s next?

B4Plastics has an injection moulding Rubran® grade ready for commercial production on ton scale in 2023, while our biomaterials experts are further optimizing new extrusion grades. And, in the meantime, we will continue our developments in the RubberPlastics platform through strong partnerships in projects, such as RePurpose.

Discover the Rubran® product and download the brochure with sample specifications and more information about the B4Plastics’ RubberPlastics Platform here.

Is your company using rubbers or TPEs in its products and do you want to find out if the B4Plastics’ RubberPlastics are compatible with your application? Let’s partner up.


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