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Milliken’s calling card: PP as high performance replacement for PS

Source:Adsale Plastics Network Date :2024-05-16 Editor :VC
Copyright: This article was originally written/edited by Adsale Plastics Network (, republishing and excerpting are not allowed without permission. For any copyright infringement, we will pursue legal liability in accordance with the law.

At CHINAPLAS 2024, Milliken highlighted four major benefits and improvements - sustainability, performance, color and clarity - provided by the company’s additive solutions, not least Hyperform® HPN® 58ei, Millad® NX® 8000, and DeltaMax®.


Hyperform® HPN® 58ei nucleating additive for PP (polypropylene) thermoforming reduces haze and yellowing of aesthetic packaging, it has met FDA guidelines; Millad® NX®8000 clarifier is suitable for transparent PP, making end-use products more eco- friendly and recyclable; DeltaMax® performance modifier enhances the strength and melt flow properties of both virgin and recycled PP.


The booth of Milliken at CHINAPLAS 2024.



Milliken’s additive solutions offer improvements in color, performance, etc.

Hails the versatility of PP


It is noteworthy that all of the above solutions focus on PP enhancement as Milliken anticipates PP, with the material’s versatility, replacing PS (polystyrene) in many applications without sacrificing performance to meet consumers’ needs.


“PP is a lightweight and highly heat-resistant plastic that can be enhanced for packaging as well as a variety of applications,” explained Kim Gillis, Vice President of Marketing, Milliken Chemical Business, in the interview with Adsale Plastics Network. “As a high-performance alternative for PS, enhanced PP offers better impact performance while reducing the use of plastics.”


“Milliken’s vast portfolio benefits the collaboration with partners to design purposeful solutions, so that the entire value chain can enjoy the additional value offered by PP.”


She pinpointed that using PP is a trend for packaging as the material can be processed by injection molding, ISBM, etc. with no limitation for different forms. Using PP also results in more recycled materials when compared with PS because PP facilitates mono-material packaging.


For example, a collaboration between Milliken and Unilever has allowed the brand owner to use all-PP tubes and caps for personal care packaging. Before that, PE (polyethelyne) was used for the tubes and PP was used for the caps. “PP has become the material of choice for mono-material packaging design for easy recycling from the beginning,” said Kim Gillis.   


Kim Gillis, Vice President of Marketing, Milliken Chemical Business.

Explores opportunities for PP beyond packaging


Other than packaging, Milliken also has purposeful partnership projects to promote PP in other applications, including using DeltaMax® in luggage for delivering superior impact strength, and replacing PS with PP in refrigerator bins for improved impact performance to avoid breakage during transportation.


Kim Gillis remarked that these projects demonstrate the enormous opportunities presented by increasing use of PP for expanding applications other than packaging, such as bumpers in automotive.


“So we see many opportunities as we go to downstream, taking our customers’ products to next level and helping them to differentiate their products in the market places they participate,” she said.


Collaborations on energy saving and more recycled materials


Collaboration with partners is instrumental to solution development. Milliken has been working with partners across the entire value chain on boosting sustainability and carbon neutrality.


“We help recyclers expand the use of rPP through innovative additive technology,” emphasized Kim Gillis. “We also assist brand owners in meeting their sustainability goals by increasing the use of recycled content.”


“When it comes to recycled content, there are inconsistencies of input materials. What Milliken has is additives that allow more PP and rPP to be used in more applications,” she explained.


Milliken and PureCycle Technologies worked together to create the first fully sustainable concentrate for PP on the market in late 2022. By establishing an exclusive supply relationship, Milliken’s top-tier additives play a critical role in reinvigorating rPP for PureCycle. The partnership with PureCycle will continue to grow to bring in more new technologies, said Kim Gillis.


Besides, Milliken has been in partnership with UL in technical service and product certification, promoting energy saving in the polyolefin industry. Using PP clarified with Millad®NX® 8000, brand owners can display a UL Environmental Claim Validation (ECV) label on their injection molded parts.


According to Kim Gillis, an average of 10% improvement in energy reduction can be achieved for injection molded parts using the clarifier which allows converters to produce at a lower temperature.


So far Milliken and UL have worked together to help 100 companies in China and Asia-Pacific to obtain UL ECV certificates.


Milliken and UL has joined hands to promote energy saving in the polyolefin industry.

Contributes to sustainability and net-zero target

In 2022, Milliken announced that it will become a net-zero company by 2050. Milliken is also one of the first 50 companies to have science-based near- and long-term targets approved by the U.N.-backed Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Last November, Milliken received a gold rating on its 2023 EcoVadis assessment and its score placed the company in the top 2% of organizations rated.

“2023 EcoVadis assessment helps us see how we’re doing and where we should focus. Our 2025 Planet Goals focus on how we conserve resources for humankind,” said Kim Gillis. “Since 2019, we have identified more than 425 projects to minimize environmental impacts from our operations.” As of the end of 2022, 57% of those projects were completed.


“From leveraging cutting-edge technology to develop chemical products that enhance product efficiency to reducing the environmental footprint of our operations, sustainability is integrated at every level,” she said. “We innovate to produce with reduction of carbon emissions.”


Sustainability is a cornerstone while collaboration is a key in the design and production of Milliken products. In September last year, Milliken concluded the Asian Polyolefin Conference in Shanghai with over 300 participants from upstream and downstream in the industry, demonstrating the company’s commitment to tackle the sustainability challenges with the entire value chain. 


“In China, For China” strategy


Milliken has cultivated the Chinese market for two decades. With extensive experience in polyolefin additives and beyond, Milliken initially partnered with Sinopec to develop transparent materials locally and have since assisted other petrochemical companies in creating high-quality polyolefin products. 


“We are dedicated to fostering deeper collaborations with both upstream and downstream enterprises in the polyolefin industry in China. Specifically, we listen to the voices of brand owners,” said Kim Gillis, adding that Milliken has recently expanded its Innovation Gallery in Shanghai, which is the biggest outside its headquarters in the US. 


As China's economy advances towards higher quality growth, the local polyolefin market is growing fast. Yet, handling the waste plastics produced from application sectors such as packaging, healthcare, electronics and automotive has become a major concern, pinpointed Kim Gillis.


Therefore, Milliken will continue to provide solutions that meet the local demands as well as to explore sustainable pathways that promote the upgrade and transformation of relevant industries, aligning its strategy of “In China, For China.” 

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