EPS INSULATION
Syndicate plans to lobby EU to prolong use of HBCD as flame retardant / Decision expected by year's end / Ban already enforced in Switzerland / German association members plan to follow in mid-2014
Several European EPS producers have come together to lobby the EU to prolong the use of HBCD as a flame retardant in EPS insulation material. A syndicate that reportedly consists of Versalis (Milan / Italy; www.eni.com), Ineos (Rolle / Switzerland; www.ineos.com), StyroChem (Porvoo / Finland; www.styrochem.fi) and Synthos (Oswiecim / Poland; www.synthosgroup.com) filed a relevant application with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA, Helsinki / Finland; www.echa.europa.eu) on 21 February, Plasteurope.com was told by market insiders. The companies expect a decision at the end of 2014.

After the Stockholm Convention classified HBCD as a durable organic pollutant, the material can no longer be processed in the EU from 21 August 2015 onwards – see Plasteurope.com of 16.07.2012. If, however, the EU decides to allow the petition, the use of HBCD in PS foams for construction applications will be extended until at most 26 November 2019. The material’s use will then be mandated, including the provision that EPS and XPS materials containing HBCD flame retardants be specially identified. In addition, it will not be possible to recycle the materials – all scrap will have to be incinerated.
The future is PolyFR
The alternative to HBCD is polymeric flame retardants (PolyFR), which, however, are more expensive and require larger volume usage. Figures released by Dow Chemical (Midland, Michigan / USA; www.dow.com) indicate that the three PolyFR manufacturers – Chemtura (Middlebury, Connecticut / USA; www.chemtura.com), Israel Chemicals Ltd (ICL, Tel Aviv / Israel; www.icl-group.com) and Albemarle (Baton Rouge, Louisiana / USA; www.albemarle.com) – currently have capacity for 14,000 t/y, with an additional 12,000 t/y to be added this year. That output would be capable of meeting demand in the coming years.

Dow has already started converting its global XPS production lines to PolyFR – see Plasteurope.com of 19.02.2014. Fellow EPS producers BASF (Ludwigshafen / Germany; www.basf.com) and Sunpor (St. Pölten / Austria; www.sunpor.at) are already one step ahead, offering EPS insulation materials containing PolyFR in Europe already. BASF in fact removed all products containing HBCD from its portfolio on 1 March 2014.
Switzerland and Germany well on their way
EPS insulation materials containing HBCD are no longer available in Switzerland, after the country’s EPS association, EPS Verband Schweiz (Küssnacht; www.epsschweiz.ch), set itself the goal of banning their use by May 2014. Association members Swisspor (Steinhausen / Switzerland; www.swisspor.ch), Gonon Isolation (Schleitheim / Switzerland; www.gonon.ch), Sager (Dürrenäsch / Switzerland; www.sager.ch) and Sika (Sarnen / Switzerland; www.sika.ch), however, already switched to HBCD-free products on 1 January this year. By the end of Q2 2014, all insulation materials exported to Switzerland have to be HBCD-free.

Members of the German association of rigid foams manufacturers, Industrieverband Hartschaum (IVH, Heidelberg; www.ivh.de), plan to switch their output by mid-2014, an association spokeswoman told PIE. IVH members include Karl Bachl (Röhrnbach / Germany; www.bachl.de), Brohlburg Dämmstoff- und Recyclingwerke (Andernach / Germany; www.brohlburg.com), Joma Dämmstoffwerk (Holzgünz / Germany; www.joma.de), Knauf Dämmstoffe (Wadersloh / Germany; www.knauf-daemmstoffe.de), Phillipine (Bochum / Germany; www.philippine-eps.de), Saint-Gobain Rigips (Düsseldorf / Germany; www.saint-gobain.com), Rygol (Painten / Germany; www.rygol.de) as well as Storopack (Metzingen / Germany; www.storopack.com).
11.03.2014 Plasteurope.com 904 [227738-0]
Published on 11.03.2014
EPS: Konsortium für längeren HBCD-Einsatz in der EUGerman version of this article...

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