The Earthkind brand is to start a journey with our customers to co-brand with us. This brand would provide value to their finished product down the value chain

Earthkind – NCS Resins’ sustainable platform reduces dependency on virgin raw materials

NCS Resins launched the Earthkind platform in February 2021 to proactively respond to the demand for sustainable solutions that is lacking in the resins market sector.


The company has since embarked on a journey to incorporate as many of the UNIDO sustainable development goals into the Earthkind platform.


“This requires a major shift in thinking and a strong desire to make a difference. Such developments take a long time to investigate and test, but we continue working at it with the objective of improving the positive impact that we believe we are making,” says Trevor I’Ons, MD of NCS Resins, based in New Germany, KZN.


“In the process, we have identified the need to reduce the dependency on virgin raw materials by seeking lower carbon footprint feedstocks which happened to be feasible, starting with the recycling of rPET that was destined for landfill. The recycling process allows us to replace certain additives and raw materials to manufacture a good quality resin and contributes to the circular economy,” I’Ons explains.


For now, Earthkind offers the 100-Series resin products. At full NCS plant capacity, the company can recycle the equivalent of 337 million 500ml PET bottles per annum. Based on availability, post-industrial PET waste destined for landfill is currently being used. However, NCS is actively developing post-consumer PET feedstocks through strategic partnerships that are intended on making a social impact.


Market response

The Earthkind platform has been very well received. The current products service several markets, namely marine, automotive, swimming pools, general fibreglass work and the construction industries.


“It is important to mention that the intention of our Earthkind brand is to start a journey with our customers to co-brand with us enhancing the value of our customer’s products that allows the end customer to choose quality with a conscience,” says I’Ons.


“We have had some excellent response from major recognised international brands and are in the early development of incorporating the resins into their products.”


Challenges and opportunities

One of the main challenges for the resin industry is the higher cost of ‘green’ alternative feedstocks compared to its commonly available petrol-chemical based equivalents. However, this has not stopped the NCS team from investigating all the options.


“Formulating to achieve an equivalent cost Earthkind product, whilst maintaining the quality and value-add to the product is a lengthy process. Another challenge was to translate the technical information, highlighting the added value to customers, so that the product is differentiated on its green credentials,” I’Ons says.


However, the opportunities that this ‘green portfolio’ offer bolstered confidence in its success.


NCS aim to add several Earthkind derivatives to its existing product range, thereby offering the customer various sustainable options.


“We strive to create a more sustainable world by minimising our own carbon footprint and help our customers reduce theirs too. We continue to identify projects for green products and service development under the driving philosophy of reduce, reuse, and recycle where we aim to create partnerships with like-minded people to make a difference to our planet,” adds I’Ons.


Research and development

The carbon footprint calculations for Earthkind were conducted internally by NCS Resins’ qualified chemists, using a life cycle assessment with a gate-to-gate reporting boundary as guided by accepted industry standards and literature. All calculations were based on conventional methods, with information from well researched peer-reviewed articles and credible resources.


“As the comparison is between our Earthkind products versus our own conventional equivalents, we are of the view that the difference or ‘delta’ is a highly reliable factor given the consistency in the applied controls,” explains I’Ons.


The future


“Our Earthkind initiative is driving some high-level investment decisions for NCS where we will become a world first unsaturated polyester resins producer to incorporate certain feedstocks into our products that will further increase the sustainable content of our resins,” says I’Ons.


“We don’t believe that the words reduce, reuse and recycle could ever be overused. Our future mission stays this! We are continually innovating to reduce the carbon footprint and constantly striving for innovative product solutions so that our planet will be healthier for future generations,” says I’Ons.



Earthkind 100-Series

NCS 102 PA makes use of coloured rPET waste (e.g., green, brown, and blue cold drink and water bottles) as a raw material ingredient. The terephthalic acid ingredients used to manufacture the rPET bottles offers excellent product performance for this general-purpose resin. The 102 PA resin offers the same performance as a conventional GP resin, with uncompromised quality. The new NCS Resins range of rPET products are based on innovative hybrid green technology and designed to offer better value. NCS 102 PA is an rPET-based resin, and the eco-friendly technology contributes to sustainable development to conserve the environment.

There is a colour variation due to the availability and stock of PET bottles for recycling. This does not, however, affect the quality in any way.


Choosing to use NCS 102 PA reduces CO2 emissions by 279kg/CO2e/ton of product used in comparison to conventional general-purpose resins such as NCS 901PA.


NCS 102 PA is a rigid, medium reactivity, thixotropic, unsaturated polyester resin. It is pre-accelerated with a good cure rate. It is designed for hand lay-up and spray applications. This resin is ideal for use in automotive components and general industrial mouldings. NCS 102 PA is also Lloyds approved.


NCS 103 PA is the premium Lloyds-approved rPET resin which offers the same performance as conventional isophthalic resins with uncompromised quality. There is no colour variation as with NCS 102 PA since only clear rPET is used.

Choosing to use NCS 103 PA reduces CO2 emissions by 376kg/CO2e/ton of product used in comparison to conventional high-performance resins such as NCS 991PA.