Circular Economy

Covestro supports circular material solutions for smartphones

Using partially recycled polycarbonates and thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs), Covestro is helping smartphone manufacturer Fairphone achieve its sustainability goals.
© Fairphone

Covestro is collaborating with Fairphone, a Dutch social enterprise building a market for ethical smartphones, on the use of circular material solutions for its smartphones. Fully and partly recycled thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU) are used in the protective case of the Fairphone 3 and its successor, the Fairphone 4, and partly recycled polycarbonates are additionally used in the newer device.

Products from Covestro's post-consumer recycled (PCR) polycarbonate portfolio are used in the Fairphone 4's rear device cover, middle frame and wireless charger. With a PCR content of 30 to 50 percent, this Makrolon® portfolio has physical properties comparable to virgin material and offers good impact strength, balanced flow behavior, and high stiffness and flame retardancy to ensure a long service life while reducing CO₂emissions by 30 percent compared to virgin material.

Covestro has also developed a new range of recycled and partially recycled TPUs of the Desmopan® brand, which are now used in the protective cover of the Fairphone 4 and are certified according to RCS (Recycled Claim Standard), an international standard for the traceability of recycled raw materials within supply chains.

This includes the product Desmopan® 3095AU RC100, which was developed after identifying several streams of post-industrial recycled plastics. The fully recycled material exhibits the typical advantages of TPU, for example, high chemical and abrasion resistance, but easier processability because it melts at lower temperatures and flows better than virgin material. The product has proven itself when used in the protective case of the Fairphone 3 and is now being used in the Fairphone 4. It is available in three color variants: gray, green and pink.

Press release