SEOUL -- LG Chem, the chemical unit of South Korea's LG Group, has joined hands with the South Korean artificial marble recycling branch of France's environmental service company Veolia Environment to use recycled materials for creating acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, a common thermoplastic polymer known as ABS which is widely used in manufacturing household and consumer goods as well as medical and industrial products.
ABS is impact-resistant and heat-resistant, making the thermoplastic polymer ideal for electronic housings, auto parts, consumer products and pipe fittings. Normally, ABS products are opaque. Methyl methacrylate (MMA), a colorless liquid used in the production of resins and plastics, can be added to create transparent ABS.
LG Chem said in a statement on August 30 that the company signed a memorandum of understanding with Veolia R&E to jointly research, develop and upgrade MMA and transparent ABS products. Veolia R&E will provide a stable supply of MMA extracted from recycled artificial marble and LG Chem will produce low-carbon transparent ABS products.
Veolia R&E, a recycling tech company that has developed the technology to extract MMA from waste byproducts, became a subsidiary of Veolia Environment in 2019. Wastes are collected during the production phase of artificial marble and broken down using a pyrolysis technique involving extreme temperature and pressure.
"Transparent ABS is mainly used in consumer electronics, such as clear window panels on washing machines and laundry dryers," LG Chem's PR manager Sohn Joon-il told Aju Business Daily. He said transparent ABS can be applied to almost every product that requires clear surface material that is strong and durable.
LG Chem is the global top maker of transparent ABS products with an annual capacity of about two million tons. According to Market Research, a global market research firm, the global market for transparent ABS products is projected to reach $863.9 million by the end of 2028.
In June, LG Chem agreed with Taekwang Industrial, a domestic petrochemical company, to set up an acrylonitrile joint venture. Acrylonitrile is an important monomer for the manufacture of useful plastics and important copolymers, such as ABS. The joint venture will help LG Chem secure a key raw material needed for the production of ABS and nitrile butadiene latex (NBL), which shows excellent resistance to oil and chemicals, making it useful in manufacturing protective equipment such as gloves for industrial and use.
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