One key substance can help renew old things

What do recycled bottles, electronic devices and paper have in common? At first sight nothing. When you dig a little deeper, you will find out that the chemical industry can make all these products re-usable with one and the same substance: sodium hydroxide.

In paper recycling, sodium hydroxide is used to remove the ink from paper, allowing the fibres to be re-used. The same chemical is used to purify recycled bottles to make sure they are safe to be re-used as drink containers. Microchips and circuit boards in electronic devices have coatings which need to be removed in order to be re-used. You guessed it, sodium hydroxide can fulfill this task.

By making these products circular, the chemical industry is contributing to making them more sustainable.

Associated SDG targets

SDG 12-ResponsibleConsumptionAndProduction

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Circular Economy 2.0

In 2015, the European Commission published its Circular Economy package to promote the transition from a linear economy into a circular economy, where resource efficiency is increased and the value of products and materials is maintained for as long as possible. When a product reaches the end of its life, options such re-use, remanufacturing and recycling can be explored to create additional value. Circular Economy can bring forth economic benefits, by contributing to growth and job creation and stimulating innovation, and in parallel provide environmental benefits.

Our journey to sustainability

The European chemical industry as “the industry of industries” is a key player in creating a sustainable environment, economy and society. Cefic supports the role of the chemical industry as solution provider for a society in transition.