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        Sustainability

        LETZero Encyclopedia: Bio-Circular Balanced NBR Latex – Medical gloves that save the environment!

        2023. 11. 28

        Welcome to LETZero Encyclopedia, an introductory series to LG Chem’s eco-friendly brand LETZero and its products. The latest episode addressed Bio-Circular Balanced PVC, widely used in daily necessities and building materials. Today, we zoom into Bio-Circular Balanced NBR Latex (or Bio-Circular Balanced NBL, shortened as “BCB NBR Latex”), an eco-friendly material developed with LG Chem’s bio mass balance technology. BCB NBR Latex is mostly found in medical gloves that prevent infection. Let’s take a look at the features and applications of BCB NBR Latex that saves our health and the Earth.


        Gloves that save the patients, Material that saves the Earth

        Occupations that involve the use of hands are often accompanied by gloves. Cooks, carpenters, and baseball players all use gloves to suit their work and purposes. Gloves protect both our hands and the hygiene.

        In the same way, gloves are essential for doctors who save our lives through surgeries and treatments. In particular, disposable gloves are used in hospitals to prevent infection that may be passed by hand contact between the medical team and patients. However, medical gloves must deliver a sharp sense to the tip of the medical team’s hands, therefore should be thin and not get torn easily. Also, it’s important that they fit our hands and be smooth, to enable sophisticated work. NBR Latex is the material that satisfies all of such requirements.

        NBR Latex is a synthetic latex in a milky liquid form, which boasts excellent tensile strength, elongation, and chemical resistance, etc. Due to its high tensile strength, it does not get torn easily when pulled. Plus, it is suitable for handling chemicals, since it can withstand various chemicals. It also stretches out well, offering great wearability when made into gloves, etc.

        Bio-Circular Balanced NBR Latex is a material produced by applying bio mass balanced technology onto an existing material. LG Chem utilizes the former petrochemicals production infrastructure to make Bio-Circular Balanced products. By adding renewable vegetable oil such as waste cooking oil and plant byproducts to fossil-fuel based raw materials, the company creates Bio-Circular Balanced NBR Latex with much less use of fossil fuels. By minimizing the use of fossil-fuels in production, Bio-Circular Balanced NBR Latex can dramatically cut down the carbon emissions. It is, thereby, a positive impact on the planet compared to existing products.

        In 2007, LG Chem succeeded in developing NBR Latex based on their proprietary technology. In the following year, the company began mass-production of the product in Yeosu plant, Korea. Since then, LG Chem has been striving to develop new markets within and outside the country based on diverse NBR Latex product lines, and kept improving the physical properties, qualities, and wearability of the product. Thanks to these consistent efforts, LG Chem’s Bio-Circular Balanced NBR Latex is now recognized as world’s best technology and quality. As the global market demand for NBR Latex and eco-friendly materials increased, in 2021, LG Chem expanded the production capacity of Yeosu plant, Korea, and Chongqing, China to annual 280,000 tons and 210,000 tons respectively.

        Furthermore, by obtaining ISCC Plus, an international certification that proves the sustainability of an eco-friendly product, LG Chem’s Bio-Circular Balanced NBR Latex is now recognized for not only its technology and quality, but also for the environmental effect of the product. In 2023, LG Chem received ISCC Plus for over 50 products including the Bio-Circular Balanced NBR Latex.

        Products made with Bio-Circular Balanced NBR Latex

        As previously addressed, the most common application of Bio-Circular Balanced NBR Latex is the gloves. Bio-Circular Balanced NBR Latex has high chemical-resistance, which is why it can replace existing rubber gloves to make medical, cooking, and experiment gloves. On top of that, it is also widely used in rubber-impregnated products.

        According to a market-research company ‘Grand View Research,’ the 2022 global nitrile glove market size was estimated at 6.5 billion dollars. However, due to rising medical expenses, importance of safety, and increasing recognition of medical-related infections, the market is expected to grow by an annual rate of 5.7% until 2030.

        Bio-Circular Balanced NBR Latex, with the use of eco-friendly raw materials, suggests an eco-friendly solution to manufacturers and consumers amid the rapidly-rising demand for nitrile gloves. LG Chem plans to keep up their efforts to develop eco-friendly materials, so that more daily-use products can be produced and consumed in a way that we protect our Earth.

         

        Today, we looked into what Bio-Circular Balanced NBR Latex is, and where it is used. The next LETZero Encyclopedia will come back with a story of Bio-Circular Balanced BR.

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