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Sustainability in action: BASF’s fiber bonding technology enabling circularity 

Sustainability in action

As earth’s resources are limited, it is key that we must reduce, reuse, and recycle waste. Furthermore, we need to transform the way we live—and do business. The circular economy aims to reduce the resources we consume. To this end, we are exploring a three-tiered approach of adopting new feedstocks, creating new material cycles and engaging into new business models. This approach will help us contribute to closing and extending the loops by developing and implementing circular solutions for the materials we source.

This screenshot, taken from the upcycling film, shows a huge waste disposal site from above. The text reads "70 percent more waste will be generated in 2050 than at present".



BY 2050

Sustainability at heart

For us at BASF, sustainability is a key component of our core identity. In fact it is something at the heart of our slogan: “We create chemistry for a sustainable future.” Putting out principles into action, we incorporate sustainability into our products and solutions whenever possible and have adopted a very ambitious sustainability target: to become CO2 neutral by 2050. 

A graphic information on circular economy. It shows earth globes, 3 times, arrows and circles, hills and trucks. The text reads: Linear economy, recycling economy, circular economy.

Going up starts by going down

It’s imperative that we move away from the linear “take-make-dispose” cycle and toward closed loops powered by renewable energy. Recycling, for example, is generally considered a closed loop. Here, products are reused and recycled, but retain their original shape and use, thus reducing waste to a minimum. Upcycling on the other hand is an open loop. Waste products that cannot be recycled are transformed into higher quality items used in a broader range of applications. 

Upcycling: Moving forward by going up

Upcycling is the opportunity for various industries to turn their waste into raw key materials to create new beautiful products. Openening up new product loops and opportunities. Again and again. Upcycling can reduce CO2 and protects the important ressources of our planet.

Three arrows, made of different material, are layered upon a milky background. It's the key visual of BASF's upcycling campaign.

Upcycling as open loop

By upcycling reclaimed materials, like denim and clothes, and discarded materials, like spent coffee grounds, brewer’s grains, used paper cups and chopsticks, we extend the life cycle of these materials and give them new life as the building blocks for scores of new and more-valuable products. Furthermore, upcycling decreases our reliance on scarce natural resources, such as wood, while we can reduce CO2 by binding it in long-lasting products.

The video shows how one can shape the future with upcycling, and, how BASF’s fiber bonding  technology enables circularity

New resources: new opportunities

The photography shows a row of precisely arranged chopsticks
A photograph shows a close-up of denim pieces, the colors are blue, almost grey

New resources

Upcycling is considered an open loop cycle, where waste products are not only reused, but are transformed into higher quality items used in a broader range of applications. Along with our partners, we have processes to upcycle coffee grounds, spent grain, denim, chopsticks and paper cups into tables, guitars and flooring.  

By extending the life cycle of single-use materials, we not only keep them from ending up in landfills and incinerators, but we are also able to reduce the amount of new raw materials entering production cycles.

The photograph shows grained coffee which then, in the main focus, seems to morph into a plate made of coffee beans and coffee grain

New opportunities


The goal of upcycling is preventing the typical end point for most products: Incineration or landfill. Therefore, upcycling is an opportunity for various industries to transform their waste (e.g. coffee grounds or denim) into key raw materials in the board production process and reduce reliance on wood.

A good handful of sawdust is arranged on a transparent plate
Half of the picture shows sawdust or small pieces of wood, and underneath a sheet of plywood appears.

Enabled through BASF's binders

Three futuristic-looking glass vessels stand on a gray surface and are reflected in it. The glasses are filled with liquids. They are binders from BASF, called acForm, Acronal, and Acrodur.

With our innovative and low-emission fiber bonding technology: Acrodur®, acForm® and Acronal®, trash can be turned into treasure.

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Showcases: Proof of Concept


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