I’m green EVA & Allbirds

Braskem’s I’m greenTM bio-based portfolio is made from responsibly–sourced sugarcane ethanol, which can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions of final products. Bio-based materials, such as EVA, are drop-in solutions that can replace conventional (fossil) alternatives without the need to invest in new plastic processing machinery. Furthermore, at the end-of-life they will be accepted within the existing waste and recycling streams. 

In August 2018, Braskem in partnership with an American leader in sustainable footwear called Allbirds, launched its bio-based I’m green™ EVA for the first time. The partner was the first brand to use the product, applying it to make shoes from the SweetFoam® line. 

EVA is a copolymer: ethylene vinyl acetate that is usually produced from fossil raw materials such as oil or natural gas, and designed for applications in industries such as footwear, automotive, transportation and others. Bio-based content ranges from 45% to 80%, based on the ASTM D6866 standard. It means EVA can now add renewability to its considerable list of positive properties, including: flexibility, lightness and resilience. At the end-of-life, I’m green™ bio-based EVA can be recycled/reused in the same way as conventional EVA. 

The result was a collaboration between Braskem and Allbirds to achieve a world first: bio-based EVA. This means a significantly reduced carbon footprint in shoes made from the SweetFoam® line, sold in the United States, New Zealand, Australia and Canada – in the case of I’m green™ products, this analysis quantifies that bio-based EVA captures 2.1 kg of CO2 per ton produced. 

Brazil is the largest global producer of sugarcane in the world, reaching 657 million tonnes last year. From this, a total of 32.5 million litres of ethanol were produced. Brazil’s sugarcane sector is responsible for the employment of 2.3 million people. 

EVA is part of Braskem’s I’m green™ portfolio which is aligned with its commitment to the circular economy and features bio-based and recycled products. 

Because the company conducts LCA to support their sustainability claims, Braskem customers can understand the environmental impact of products throughout all stages of the life cycle. In the case of I’m green™ products, this analysis quantifies that bio-based EVA captures 2.1 kg of CO2 per ton produced. 

This collaboration between Braskem & Allbirds has led to a revolution especially in the footwear segment. Using bio-based EVA, not only means moving away from fossil raw materials but also reducing the carbon footprint in shoes. 

The main benefits of using Braskem’s Green EVA:  

Renewable Source: Sustainably sourced and produced from sugarcane, a renewable raw material.  

Drop-in Solution: Replaces the conventional resin without investments in new machinery for plastic transformation.  

Recyclable: I’m greenTM EVA can be recycled/reused in the same stream already developed for conventional EVA.  

We are proud to continue our pioneering work to bring innovative bio-based solutions to the market. I’m green™ EVA has been a team effort with Allbirds, but we’re confident that this can help other brands to achieve a carbon footprint revolution in the footwear industry.

Marco Jansen – Global Director of Biopolymers at Braskem