Reducing the environmental impacts of the production of melamine etherified resin fibre

Elsevier, Sustainable Production and Consumption, Volume 29, January 2022
Vujanovic A., Puhar J., Krajnc D., Awad P., Cucek L.

Conventional plastic products present a serious burden to the environment, especially during their end-of-life phase. To tackle the rapid growth in plastic production, use and pollution, it is desirable to produce plastic materials more sustainably. Amongst these plastic materials which could be produced sustainably are Melamine Etherified Resin (MER) fibres, which have a wide range of potential uses, such as in mobility, filtrations, for thermal protective clothing and other applications. This paper explores the potential for sustainable MER fibre production, where all the required feedstocks could be from either renewable or waste origin. To investigate more sustainable pathways, the conventional process is compared to two alternatives processes which utilize waste CO2 and wood-based methanol for formalin production. A comparative environmental impact assessment is conducted, where selected environmental footprints, potential environmental impacts and eco-costs are analysed based on 1 kg of produced MER fibres. Results show that greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint could be reduced by over 68% and human toxicity potential by over 75%, while eco-costs could be reduced by up to 44%. Moreover, the results present the first step towards producing MER fibres in a sustainable way, contributing to the circular economy.