Protection against heat and sunlight: new Ceresana report on plastic stabilizers

Many plastics and elastomers would not be possible without stabilizing additives. Most thermal stabilizers and UV stabilizers are used for PVC products.
KONSTANZ, Germany - May 13, 2024 - PRLog -- How toxic is tin? This question could lead to a trade conflict between the USA and Europe. In North America, cables, pipes, and window frames are usually made durable with the help of tin. In the European Union, on the other hand, the Chemicals Agency wants to restrict organotin stabilizers. Europeans tend to use calcium and zinc to protect plastic and rubber products against heat, oxidation, and UV light. The production and processing of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in particular would not be possible without stabilizing chemicals. The latest Ceresana study on the global market for thermal stabilizers and UV stabilizers predicts that sales of these necessary additives for plastics and elastomers will grow to USD 6.5 billion by 2033.

Protecting plastics with heavy metals or soybean oil

These days, cadmium stabilizers are frowned upon worldwide. In more and more countries, the plastics industry is also avoiding lead-based stabilizers. However, recycling remains a challenge: In the circular economy, plastics should be recycled wherever possible, including, for example, old floor coverings or other construction products made of PVC – however, the heavy metals used to stabilize the original materials can be found in the recycled materials. For new plastic products, environmentally friendly stabilizers that cause hardly any odor or VOC emissions are in demand. Ceresana expects global demand for calcium-based stabilizers to grow by 3.7% per year. Calcium can also be used for liquid mixed metal stabilizers. The demand for tin stabilizers is expected to amount to around 258,000 tonnes in 2033. Bio-based heat stabilizers, such as those made from epoxidized soybean oil, are not yet suitable for all applications.

Stabilizers for PVC construction products

Almost two thirds of all plastic and elastomer stabilizers are used by the construction industry, primarily for products made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The most important application is plastic pipes, for which around 388,000 tonnes of stabilizers are currently used every year. This is followed by profiles, cables, films, and other applications. In total, Asia-Pacific is the largest regional market for stabilizers, accounting for a share of 61%, followed by Western Europe. In Asia, stabilizers are mainly used for PVC pipes, whereas in Europe they are used for profiles, for example for windows or door frames. For drinking water pipes at least, the aim worldwide today is to do without lead stabilizers.

Further information on the market study "Stabilizers – World" (7th edition):

Martin Ebner
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