Recycled Materials, Green Chemistry and the Circular Economy
Analytical and Testing Instruments to Support Green Chemistry
The goal of a circular economy is to reduce waste and pollution by harvesting materials from renewable sources and reusing materials through recycling, repurposing, and reprocessing. Shimadzu instruments are used by leading scientists worldwide to develop new materials and manufacturing processes that both enhance product performance and reduce harmful environmental impacts in all phases of the circular economy from basic chemical characterization of raw materials and waste streams to the measurement of novel material properties.
Commonly recycled plastics, such as polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, and polyethylene terephthalate, are subject to quality standards to verify their composition and prevent contamination of recycling streams. This can be achieved using analytical instrumentation such at Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence (EDX). Harvesting materials and fuels from waste and renewable sources requires extensive testing to monitor processing steps and ensure purity using, for instance, gas chromatography (GC), liquid chromatography (LC), or elemental analysis.
Renewable materials are also being explored for the creation of bio-based materials and composites with properties that are comparable to plastics created from petroleum. Their physical properties can be evaluated using Shimadzu’s AGX-V universal test machines, thermal instrumentation, and surface analysis. Raw materials derived from hemp are an example where natural products may replace many synthetically manufactured materials. Nanocellulose, a form of defibrated cellulose derived from plant matter, is another material being researched as an environmentally renewable biomaterial with desirable properties, including high strength, thermal stability, and gas-barrier properties.
Shimadzu’s Commitment to the Environment
As a long-standing member of the Japan Association for Chemical Innovation (JACI), Shimadzu Corporation is at the vanguard of the international green Chemistry movement. Shimadzu also constantly strives to reduce its environmental impact through various initiatives to reduce waste and energy consumption.
Complete Solutions for the Industrial Hemp Market:
Flower, Stalk, Seed, Leaves & Root
Hemp in the United States and worldwide is a hot topic because of its green nature, sustainability, and zero or low carbon footprint. While it appears most of the hemp world has been flower-centric on the health benefits of cannabinoids and terpenes, this is only the tip of the iceberg with respect to applications. The entire plant, including flower, seed, stalk, leaves and root, has 50,000 different uses.
This communication will present a limited number of the potential 50,000 different uses. However, Shimadzu is the only worldwide company able to provide analytical instruments, physical testing machines, and X-ray equipment for complete profiling of the hemp plant from development to the final product.
Solutions for Cellulose Nanofibers
As a consultant for comprehensive analysis of CNF, Shimadzu aim to support research and development to expand the use of CNF. By developing cutting-edge technologies, Shimadzu provides solutions for detailed analysis of CNF properties such as optical transmittance morphology, dispersibility, and different surface functional groups. These analyses are further explored in this booklet comprehensively to help you better investigate and characterize nanocellulose materials. These efforts will help accumulate more experimental, theoretical and analytical data, fostering collaborations to help advance this field forward for practical applications in the near future. Shimadzu will help realize dreams for the next generations with the well-being of mankind and the Earth.
Analytical and Measuring Instruments for Cellulose Nanofibers
Given that cellulose nanofibers (CNFs) offer attractive physical characteristics, such as light weight, strength, and hardness, they not only enable materials with advanced functionality, but are expected to be used as a reinforcing material that can reduce the weight of composite materials. In contrast to advanced nanomaterials made from petrochemical fuels and inorganic substances, CNFs are made from plant biomass. In addition to being environmentally friendly and safer, they have been confirmed to offer superior performance. Thus, CNFs have started being used in many everyday products, such as rip-resistant disposable wipes, ballpoint pen ink, cosmetics that provide a young appearance without feeling sticky, and waterproof cosmetic face masks. Applications for CNFs are expected to continue expanding; examples include lighter and stronger CNF polymer composite materials used as structural materials in aircraft and transparent CNF panels enhanced with functionality for conductivity.
Testing and Characterization of Biodegradable Plastics
Biodegradable Plastics are plastics that are decomposed into low-molecular compounds by microorganisms in the environment. So they break down easily in nature, which is an opposite characteristic of petroleum-based plastics. They are recommended for single-use products. At this time, it is true they are inferior to petroleum-based plastics in the features of durability and functionality, so research and development of new materials is on going for a reliable solution.
Shimadzu is continuously improving energy efficiency and making all our products more compact to minimize the environmental impact throughout the entire product life cycle. At the same time, we actively procure parts and materials that reduce the environmental impact of packaging and other secondary materials.
Certified “Eco-Products Plus” Models are Smaller, More Energy Efficient, or Offer Other Superior Environmental Performance
Shimadzu offers “Eco-Products Plus” certified products that achieve an exceptionally high environmental performance. Specifically, “Eco-Products Plus” models are certified by Shimadzu to achieve at least a 25 % reduction in power consumption, size, and/or consumables usage compared to the previous model.
Rapid global economic and societal growth and development have resulted in problems with large storms, flooding, and other natural disasters from climate change and problems with environmental pollution from large quantities of waste and hazardous substances. At Shimadzu, in an effort to help solve environmental challenges and achieve sustainable development goals, we contribute to establishing a sustainable society by offering a wide variety of instruments and services for analyzing and measuring the environment.
Plastic, Recycling and Environmental aspects Interview with Albert van Oyen Managing Director from CARAT GmbH
Modern plastics are highly regulated, especially food packaging. The problem for plastic recyclates is even greater; these are complex mixtures from the past that have to meet modern requirements. For identification and contaminant analyses, FTIR-ATR is a helpful tool. Element analyses (EDX and ICPE) help us to qualify and quantify possible additives (heavy metals) from the past. Mechanical property evaluations with the Autograph also provide important information as part of this component analysis, contributing to the effective reuse of plastics.