API / Trinseo: Sustainability certification for plastics in footwear

Applicazioni Plastiche Industriali S.p.A (API), the footwear arm of material solutions provider Trinseo, announced that it has recently received Global Recycled Standard (GRS) accreditation for three of its thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU). These materials – all branded Apilon 52 Eco – are part of the company’s sustainable solutions portfolio and contain varying amounts of recycled content.

The GRS certification provides independent evidence of a material’s sustainability claim. To be certified, a material must contain at least 20 % pre-consumer or post-consumer recycled content. API has been working closely with its customer Vamas for the past five years on a closed-loop initiative to secure scrap material straight from the luxury footwear maker’s manufacturing floor and feed it back into virgin material for reprocessing. This scrap is considered Post Industrial Recycled (PIR) material since it left the original place of production – API – and was reclaimed from an outside facility – Vamas.

“This is an example of a creative material solution developed together with one of our valued customers to achieve sustainability goals,” said Giancarlo Busa, Global Market Leader TPE Footwear. “Vamas has always been committed to sustainable solutions and this is another way the company can reduce its impact on the environment through material selection.”

“In this case, by reclaiming scrap from material originally produced at Trinseo, we know the composition of the product, and can mix it with virgin material while maintaining original performance properties. By having up to 50 % recycled content in our Apilon 52 Eco grades, we’re able to reduce fossil-based raw material consumption by reusing material that would have otherwise been scrapped,” said Busa.

API was audited by ICEA, a non-profit consortium that certifies food and non-food companies in areas of sustainability. ICEA is endorsed by GRS as well as the Textile Exchange, a global non-profit that drives textile industry transformation with a goal of reducing the industry’s impact on the world’s water, soil, air, and human population. The audit for GRS traced the material from the time it was produced and compounded at API to the Vamas production facility where it was reclaimed, separated by colour, and reground. Auditors then followed it through the process of being returned to API for reprocessing and finally delivered to Vamas to be used in new footwear applications.

API said it is is known in the footwear industry for working closely with customers throughout the footwear development process, its custom colour capabilities, and its next generation sustainability solutions that include bioplastics as well as recycled content containing materials. API is an Italian company specialised in the production of thermoplastic elastomeric compounds and bioplastics. Founded in 1956, API was acquired by global materials company Trinseo in July 2017.