21 August 2009 23:09 [Source: ICIS news]
By Doris de Guzman
NEW YORK (ICIS news)--Sporting goods that incorporate renewable chemicals are becoming more popular among consumers, several chemical executives said on Friday.
“Applications made from renewable materials are often positioned at a premium as some materials not only offer a lowered environmental footprint but technically bring equivalent or even better performance compared to their petroleum-based alternatives,” said Marsha Craig, global business manager of renewably sourced (RS) materials for US-based DuPont Engineering Polymers.
Sporting goods customers are showing increasing interest in renewable materials, she added.
DuPont’s Hytrel RS thermoplastic elastomer is now being used in certain parts of ski boots manufactured by French sporting goods company Salomon, Craig said.
The product provides high impact resistance and flexibility at low temperatures, according to DuPont.
“The Salomon ski boot is the only application with RS materials in sporting goods that we can publicly discuss at this time. Most of the work in this segment is still in the early phases of application development,” she said.
Renewable-based materials in sporting goods will soon be competitive with petroleum-based materials due to economies of scale for green chemicals, said Jean-Marc Galvez, global commercial manager for Spanish polymer company Merquinsa.
However, sporting goods manufacturers have not been immune from the economic crisis, said Christophe Lacroix, global Pebax and Rilsan Clear business manager for France-based Arkema’s technical polymer division.
“Unfortunately, the global economic slowdown has made consumers more attracted to lower cost products despite their sensitivity to greener materials,” Lacroix said.
“Some may move to more eco-friendly products but for vast majority, expenses still rule,” he added.
Lacroix said he expects improvement in demand as soon as people become more confident about the economy.
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