The number of environmentally improved polymers continues to grow. The need for responsible material specification presents designers with a new layer of selection decisions. When the performance goals have been achieved, we now need to rate the sustainability quotient of competing materials. How renewable are the source materials? Is it mainstream compostable? Is it biodegradable and into what? These are some of the environmental impacts that need to be intelligently balanced as we transition to less damaging manufacturing.
The A. Schulman Company in Akron, Ohio offers a suite of environmentally friendly resins. Their Green Solutions web page offers a look at some of the issues involved in material selection and links to pages which high-light the characteristics of both hyro- and oxo-biodegradable materials. Schulman have developed a point system for comparing the evironmental impact of resins in a variety environmental impact categories.