High-performance additives for sustainable plastics:  Evonik is investing in Interface Polymers

  • Interface Polymers to develop innovative surface technologies with the Coating Additives business line
  • Potential to simplify the processing and recycling of plastics
  • Investment by the Sustainability Tech Fund strengthens Evonik’s position in sustainable products and recycling processes

Evonik is investing in the British company Interface Polymers Ltd. This company’s Polarfin® additives simplify the processing of plastics mixed with polyethylene and polypropylene, allowing the recycling of such plastics in the multilayer films widely used in food packaging.  This will help to solve one of the biggest problems in the recycling process.

As a specialty chemicals company, Evonik is working on solutions for the circular economy at many levels. Polyethylene and polypropylene are versatile and widely used plastics because of their low weight and durability. However, their poor compatibility with other materials is a drawback, and Polarfin® additives can address this, making them more recyclable than ever before.

IPL’s di-block chemistry can also raise the surface energy of Polyethylene and polypropylene, making these receptive to paints and glues  So far, costly and time-consuming surface preparation was the only solution, but Polarfin® additive technology makes such preparation unnecessary. Moreover, it greatly reduces the amount of additives needed.

Bernhard Mohr, head of Venture Capital at Evonik: “Many modern applications would be unthinkable without plastics, but recycling them is still a big challenge. Interface Polymers’ additive technology offers a solution and is an excellent fit with Evonik’s Circular Plastics Program.” The Sustainability Tech Fund launched by Evonik in 2022 is adding Interface Polymers to its investment portfolio. In this way, the Evonik Group is strengthening its technological expertise to realize its sustainability goals.

Ross Baglin, CEO of Interface Polymers, said: “Our Polarfin® additive technology modifies and improves the properties of the world’s most commonly used plastics.  It can solve several key environmental challenges with their use today. We are delighted to have a world-class company like Evonik as an investor and development partner, and we look forward to making polymers the best environmental solution for so many human needs”. 

In addition to the investment by the Sustainability Tech Fund, Evonik’s Coating Additives business line has agreed an extensive development partnership with Interface Polymers with the aim of using its technology in paints and coatings. Elias Lacerda, head of Evonik’s Coating Additives business line: “We are impressed by the speed with which Interface Polymers has developed in the past two years. With its help, we want to reduce or even eliminate the intensive pretreatment of surfaces.”

: Interface Polymers was established in 2016 to commercialise inventions made in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Warwick in Coventry (UK).  A core competency of this company is the use of its Polarfin® technology to make the surface of polyolefins compatible with other materials.   Diblock copolymers combine polyethylene and polypropylene with polar materials  to improve their compatibility with metals, ceramics, and other plastics.   This offers advantages in recycling of mixed plastics, adhesion of paints inks and glues to plastic surfaces, and dispersion of materials within moulded plastics.