thermally conductive polycarbonates, recyclability of LED luminaires, Covestro LLC

Polycarbonates help boost recyclability of LED luminaires

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Promoting a circular economy

Report highlights environmental benefits of polycarbonate for heat sinks

Pittsburgh, May 22, 2019 — Electronic waste is a huge issue, with Statista estimating nearly 50 million metric tons were generated globally last year alone. Some of the materials traditionally used in LED lamp and luminaire components contribute to e-waste, and the industry is seeking more sustainable material alternatives. Thermally conductive (TC) polycarbonates, like those from Covestro, can replace aluminum in heat sinks, providing just such a replacement option.

To help the lighting industry reduce its environmental footprint, Eneref Institute, a research and advocacy organization for sustainable development, recently released a report that advocates for the use of polycarbonate for heat sinks in LED luminaires. The report, titled “Employing Polycarbonate Components to Design Sustainable Luminaires,” examines opportunities to replace aluminum component parts in these applications with polycarbonate.

According to the report, thermoplastic heat sinks are a more environmentally friendly option as the energy needed to recycle thermoplastics is one-fourth that of aluminum. As a thermoplastic material, polycarbonate requires less energy for shipping and utilizes a drilling process that is less destructive to the environment than mining for aluminum. Additionally, polycarbonate can be economically recycled into secondary, post-industry applications.

In addition to these key benefits, Makrolon® TC polycarbonates from Covestro offer several other advantages over aluminum in heat sinks. For example, these materials safely dissipate heat at a significantly lower weight and feature the option to be integrated with other components.

“With a reduced complexity through integration of functionalities, Makrolon® TC polycarbonates offer a competitive, sustainable edge over other material solutions,” said Antti Ake, global head of LED lighting – Polycarbonates, Covestro. “At Covestro, sustainability is at our core, which is why we work to create products and technologies that benefit society and reduce our environmental impact.”

Eneref is not advocating for the use of polymers, like plastic bags or bottles, which should be recycled but more often end up as unrecycled waste, according to Seth Warren Rose, founding director, Eneref Institute. “Instead, we are advocating for the use of polymers as fully reclaimable, reusable and recyclable products.”

Download the report:

About Covestro LLC:

Covestro LLC is one of the leading producers of high-performance polymers in North America and is part of the global Covestro business, which is among the world’s largest polymer companies with 2018 sales of EUR 14.6 billion. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, electrical and electronics, and healthcare industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employed approximately 16,800 people at the end of 2018.

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About Eneref Institute:

Eneref Institute is a research and advocacy organization for social responsibility and sustainable development. The goal of Eneref Institute is to raise awareness for clear, specific solutions that foster an earth-friendly economy. Eneref Institute works to promote sustainable solutions with US and international government agencies as a liaison between government and industry. Eneref develops influential initiatives that lead others, with messaging designed to build advocacy for common sense solutions that achieve effective results. Eneref Institute reports are available for download at no cost. Visit

Covestro Contact:

Lauren West, Phone: +1 412 413 4141

Makrolon® is a registered trademark of the Covestro group.

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This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports which are available at The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

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