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Our vision on sustainability

The world increasingly scrutinises the impact products and services make on the environment throughout their entire life cycle. Both the demand for and supply of environmentally friendly products are on the increase. However, the most sustainable solution is not always the most obvious.  

NPSP is searching for structural solutions to today’s environmental problems. We are convinced that, in the long term, the potential of composite as a sustainable material outweighs its current disadvantages.  

The composite sector still has a long way to go before it can truly be called sustainable. A yacht made of glass fibre polyester cannot be used for anything else after its service life is over. EU regulations prevent it from being dumped and incineration is a problem because the glass pollutes the furnaces. 

Composite products must often meet exacting technical requirements: they must be light, strong, and able to withstand vandalism, chemicals and UV rays. This is why during production we strive for optimal adhesion between the components. However, this makes it difficult to separate them again at the end of their service life. So it is still technically complicated and expensive to recycle composite. 

Composite offers a wealth of new opportunities for the environment. Take the transport industry: trains and buses with composite components are just as strong as their predecessors, even though much less material is needed to produce them. Fibre reinforced ‘plastic’ vehicles are not only cheaper, but also lighter. This reduces both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions per kilometre.      

NPSP wants to utilise the potential benefits of composite to the maximum. We are working one step at a time on structural solutions that will make it possible to use sustainable composites on a large scale.
Today: Natural fibre replaces glass fibre
Composite can be incinerated without causing problems if glass fibre is replaced by natural fibre. Because it can be produced quickly, natural fibre composite has a shorter CO2 cycle and can be incinerated as biomass to produce green energy. In developing the use of natural fibre alternatives, NPSP has taken a giant step towards making composite truly sustainable.

Tomorrow: From artificial to bio resin
Developing bio resin applications is the next step towards producing strong, light and environmentally friendly materials.
100% bio-based composites are opening up new opportunities to extend the biomass chain. Prior to burning biomass to produce green energy, it can first be used to make high quality products with a long service life. This will lead to a significant increase in the value of both the raw material and the agricultural land on which it is grown. 
NPSP is expecting to manufacture the first products combining natural fibres and a first version of bio resin in 2009.  
Long term: Recycling
Just because a material is 100% bio-based does not mean it is 100% biodegradable. We cannot yet say if this will be possible in the future. We are fully committed to collecting waste materials and products, producing products with a longer life cycle and making sure that products are recycled properly at the end of their service life. In the longer term, NPSP will strive to ensure that the products they produce are disposed of properly and that precious raw materials can be retrieved.  
Future: Cradle-to-cradle
The aim of the cradle to cradle concept is to turn waste into a fully fledged ingredient fit for a new life cycle. NPSP is taking important steps towards cradle to cradle composite with natural fibre, bio resin and recycling.
We hope to obtain cradle to cradle certification for Nabasco® in the near future.
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