Every year the Rethink Award recognizes the most innovative and distinctive plastic or rubber product. That's why Braskem is honoured to receive the 2021 prize for its own I'm greenT EVA, a pioneering sustainable material for the footwear sector.
Every year, the NRK association and PlasticsEurope Nederland reward the best and most effective products, processes and initiatives with the Rethink Award. For this, specific evaluation criteria are used: The product must be available on the market, be made mostly of plastic or rubber, and be sustainable. The benefits to the user or society are also evaluated based on the 5 Rs: refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle.
Braskem's I'm greenT EVA is made from up to 80% of a renewable source: Brazilian sugarcane. Predominantly growing in the Centre South of Brazil, the sugarcane is harvested and processed into bio-ethanol, the main component in the production of EVA, a renewable rubber substitute. This responsibly-sourced material can therefore significantly reduce an end-product's carbon footprint.
Used, among other segments, in the production of footwear by international sporting goods manufacturers such as Allbirds and Puma, I'm greenT EVA is a drop-in solution that can replace conventional (fossil) alternatives without the need to invest in new plastic processing machinery. This is a tremendously light, flexible and resilient material.
Everyone at Braskem is incredibly proud of this latest award, which was announced at a ceremony on June 23rd in Amsterdam. Not only is this a vindication of the material itself but also of the company's decision to expand its portfolio of innovative renewable materials. Rethinking plastics takes courage, know-how and good partnerships - Braskem is committed to a sustainable net zero circular economy and pleased that we are not alone in this journey.
What's special: For the category in which Braskem was nominated, the jury determining the winners consisted of members of the public. Out of the 12 finalists, Braskem was selected as the winner of the Public Award with 29% of the votes. This shows that the end user understood the benefits of the I'm greenT EVA and recognized it as worthy of an award. Braskem is particularly pleased about this, because consumer demand for sustainable products ultimately makes the difference in producers' decisions to use this sustainable raw material in products.
I'm greenT EVA was already released in 2018 together with US footwear manufacturer Allbirds in the form of the SweetFoam® footwear collection in the United States, New Zealand, Australia and Canada and is attracting more and more interest in the industry, including currently from sporting goods manufacturer PUMA. For good reason, because I'm greenT EVA, despite being made from the renewable raw material sugarcane, offers the same flexibility, lightness and resistance as conventional EVA and can also be recycled/reused in the same way. In addition, I'm greenT EVA has a negative carbon footprint: The sugarcane captures CO2 through photosynthesis and stores it during the growth phase. The resulting I'm greenT EVA thus has an unbeatable eco-balance of -2.1kg of CO2 per ton produced, so carbon is saved, not added. This, in turn, reduces the carbon footprint of the products made from it in a sustainable way, of course.
The Rethink Award is a terrific success for Braskem and their development of bio-based plastics. It proves that the products meet the zeitgeist, generate more and more attention and Braskem can already offer answers to the demands of customers and end users today.