Dow’s expertise enables recyclable polyolefin-based fabric decorations for Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

reating a unique look and feel for any major sporting event – especially the Olympic Games – typically calls for signage and banners, to customize the experience and build the event atmosphere for athletes and fans alike. The Olympic Movement’s Official Chemistry Company Dow is working with Japanese company Toppan Printing to give such fabric – typically made with a few layers of different plastics and other materials that can be difficult to recycle – a second life, long after the closing ceremony.

VERSIFY™ Elastomer Technology from Dow is selected by Toppan Printing to create a new polyolefin (PO)-based fabric for temporary banners. All plastic parts – membrane, mesh, eyelet, yarn, etc. – are comprised only of polyolefins, and the new fabric also contains well-dispersed inorganic materials as filler. Because only one type of plastic is used to produce the fabric, recyclability is improved, especially when compared to the traditional tarpaulin commonly used for banners.

Once the events have concluded, Dow and Toppan intend to collect banners and signage that are made with its polyolefin-based materials and upcycle them into different products. Collected banners or signage will be re-palletized as a renewable resin, blended with timber from wood waste to produce wood-plastic composite materials for benches, floors and more.

“This initiative is a great example of combining Dow’s materials science expertise with our customers’ market insights to create an outcome that is great for the environment. Together, we can help the Olympic Games be even more sustainable,” said Nicoletta Piccolrovazzi, global sustainability & technology director, Dow Olympic & Sports Solutions. “Working hand-in-hand with Toppan Printing, we developed this polyolefin-based fabric especially for Tokyo 2020 to address the growing need to give plastic a second life.”

Toppan Printing’s product will be enhanced by the fabric with excellent optics, which generates a display surface that offers excellent clarity and “sparkle” to capture the attention of attendees1.

“This project with Dow has enabled us to push beyond the traditional use and end-of-life of our products,” said Seiji Furuya, technical strategy and development manager in Toppan’s Information & Communication Division. “Recycling these Tokyo 2020 banners will showcase how collaborations such as ours can help society shift away from single-use plastics and reduce the amount of materials destined for incineration or landfills, to create something entirely new.”

Dow also recently committed to additional plastic recycling targets, including enabling 1 million metric tons of plastic to be collected, reused or recycled through its direct actions and partnerships.

For more information about Dow solutions at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, visit https://corporate.dow.com/en-us/about/partnerships/sports/sponsorships/olympics/tokyo.html.

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