Covestro promotes circular economy through open innovation

In its complete orientation towards the circular economy, the materials manufacturer Covestro relies on close co-operation with all partners in the value-added cycle.

A current example is a co-operation with the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Guangzhou, China, and with NANOxARCH, a local startup focused on sustainable material design.

They developed a mobile outdoor logo installation made of recycled plastics for the consulate.

This prototype is part of a logo concept that could inspire other Dutch embassies and consulates globally, which is in allignment with their ambitious sustainability development goals (SDG's).

The background is a rebranding campaign by the Dutch government, which is working on improving the national image and which wants to achieve that its country is in future only referred to as "Netherlands" and no longer as "Holland".

The logo consists of the two letters N and L of the country code, each one metre high.

The main frame of the figures is made of polycarbonate, which contains recycled materials from waste sources, such as used water bottles.

It has been 3D printed using innovative large format technology.

This finished part is strong and durable and is suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications.

Covestro is already working with Chinese partners in the value chain to transform used polycarbonate water bottles into high-performance recycled plastics for the electronics, household appliances and automotive industries.

The facade of the logo is made from recycled Maezio® composite sheets, which are made from processing waste.

This material is not only light, strong and durable but also corrosion resistant to meet the demanding requirements of outdoor installations.

Its thermoplastic matrix makes it possible to completely recycle the material from both industrial waste and end-of-life products.

"Circular economy must become the new guiding principle and that’s why we are working with the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Guangzhou and partners in the value chain to design and produce this creative logo," said Holly Lei, President of Covestro China.

"Through open innovation, we are striving to integrate the industrial chain and involve the end users to achieve a fully circular economy."

Michiel Bierkens, the Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Guangzhou, said: "We are happy to be working with Covestro to enhance our new logo, as such co-operation will underscore our joint efforts to create a circular and sustainable world.
"We expect to promote this concept locally and globally by using it in our events so that more people can see this initiative and contribute their own efforts."

Covestro is on the way to fully aligning its entire production and product range and in the long term all areas, to a new circular concept.

The initiative to anchor circularity in a holistic approach focuses on four priorities: an increased use of alternative raw materials, innovative recycling processes, renewable energies and joint solutions.

"The partnership with NANOxARCH and the Dutch Consulate for the new logo is just another concrete example of how our open-innovation collaborations in China can drive solid progress towards the future, especially in a circular economy," said Dr Michael Schmidt, Covestro's Head of Innovation for Asia Pacific.

"For us, this is just the beginning, as we and our partners are working on numerous concrete measures and projects along the value chain for improved recycling and reusing plastics."

The Covestro products used in the logo include an aqueous polyurethane dispersion for adhesives that bond the main frame and facade securely, easily and efficiently and raw materials for aqueous polyurethane coatings that offer good adhesion to the recycled polycarbonates, flexible surface design, anti-stain and durability.

Both waterborne systems are also characterised by very low VOC emissions.

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