As consumer trends swiftly unfold, formulators and companies face a growing set of challenges as the market rapidly advances towards natural and circular raw materials to meet demanding sustainability objectives.
For detergent manufacturers, this means changing the sourcing of raw materials from fossil-based to natural or circular-based. However, one to one replacements can be technically challenging, and would not always be positive from an overall environmental standpoint. In addition, natural feedstocks are available in limited quantities and are currently unable to meet the demand of the whole industry.
A new way forward is thus needed to tap into the potential of the circular economy. Consequently, a Circular Mass Balance Approach, that uses circular raw material in existing chemical manufacturing streams, is key to accelerating towards global sustainability targets. It allows one to one replacement of incumbent fossil-based solutions, leading to a rapid implementation of more sustainable solutions for the mass market. Executed correctly in accordance with Life Cycle Analysis principles, it ensures that this replacement not only has a positive effect on the CO2 footprint, but also does not negatively impact ecosystems.
In this article, we examine how using a mass balance approach to manufacture existing products with circular raw materials can be a quick first step towards fully fossil-free detergent ingredients. As an example, we show how Solvay has been using this approach to manufacture "Upcycled with Performance" circular mass balance ingredients with a positive sustainability impact beyond CO2 footprint.