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Dow and Toppan Create Recyclable Banners for Olympic Games

Dow and Toppan have partnered to create recyclable polyolefin-based fabric decorations for Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

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Dow is the Olympic Movement’s official chemistry company and is working with Japanese company Toppan Printing to create a polyolefin-based fabric that is recyclable, thus giving a second life to the banners.

VERSIFY Elastomer Technology from Dow was 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.”

“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.”

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