Integrate circular economy principles into our business models considering lifecycle impacts in the markets we serve
Establishing the right structure, processes, and team culture to expand our capabilities and industry efforts to advance circularity
Participating in forums promoting the advancement of a circular economy in our value chains
Delivering customer-driven projects that enable circularity across multiple industries
In 2020, we made strides in our ability to upcycle byproduct from our production of Tyvek®, nylon, and other high-performance synthetic fibers. We opened a new recycling facility at our Tyvek® production site in Luxembourg specifically to scale up our ability to advance circularity in our DuPont Safety business, and enacted new innovation-based partnerships with external partners and between our own DuPont businesses. As we improve our ability to innovate for circularity, we’re continuing to pursue new beneficial uses of byproduct in our operations, while we improve our ability to avoid the generation of hazardous and non-hazardous waste.
The DuPont Sustainability Leadership Council is working to develop processes, collaborative workstreams and action plans that will allow us to aggregate, quantify and amplify our ability to enable a circular economy.
Image: Tyvek® scrap waste upcycled into winding cores
The DuPont Second Life Materials (2LM) business was an intrapreneurial start-up created four years ago by our Water & Protection business. 2LM explores how we can create value by becoming a circular economy solutions provider throughout the value chains we serve. It operates as a venture within DuPont, working closely with both internal and external customers to identify opportunities that simultaneously reduce waste to landfill and realize financial benefits.
Through decades of innovation, engineering, and experience, DuPont has developed high strength, flame retardant, and moisture resistant materials made up of fibers that retain their inherent performance properties even through the end of the product lifecycle. These fibers can be recaptured and used in other applications, as proven through 2LM’s material science testing, piloting, and product transformations.
For example, the 2LM team worked with a tire cord manufacturer to procure their Kevlar®-containing manufacturing waste, which DuPont was able to transform into an aramid pulp product for friction applications in the automotive sector. We worked with our customer to contribute to a circular economy—the customer turned a disposal cost into a revenue stream and we further expanded our product portfolio in the automotive market.
Image: Kevlar™ pulp
Throughout DuPont, we share a common vision of driving towards zero waste. We’re working to define what “zero waste” looks like for each of our unique operations – not only inside the four walls of respective plants, but also across the complete lifecycle of the products we make. By working closely with our customers and our partners, we’re already achieving some promising results.
Our waste reduction efforts build on years of continuous improvement driven by the ISO 14001 certification process and by other compliance audits, as well as by our own internal standards. For example, the DuPont Waste Management Facility Selection standard defines our practices in relation to the handling and disposal of process-related waste. A corporate working group manages this standard to ensure that it is in line with all applicable laws for our global sites.
Tyvek® is a lightweight, protective material used in numerous applications. It’s unique properties help ensure medical device packages remain sterile, provide personal protection equipment for people in hazardous or sterile environments, and protect homes from rain and other weather effects during construction.
Combining our experience and unique assets, 2LM and Innofibre aim to expand the established recycling programs currently available for Tyvek® and develop a new and sustainable offering.
In 2018, our Electronics & Industrial Interconnect Solutions site in Sasakami, Japan, began a two-year project to reduce effluents and solid waste associated with the production of chemicals for metallization processes.
Read more stories about how DuPont is helping to enable a circular economy in our Stories Hub...