Lubricant being poured

Engineering Recyclable Containers for a Cleaner Environment

This case study is based on an article published by WIPO Magazine found here.


Who: Eco Panplas, led by Felipe Cardoso, CEO


The Challenge:

Lubricants play a critical role in the safe and efficient use of numerous types of machinery. In fact, according to Statista, global demand for lubricants reached 37 million metric tons in 2020. However, decontaminating and disposing lubricant containers remains a longstanding issue with negative environmental impacts. For example, it takes just one liter of lubricant to contaminate up to one million liters of water. And in Brazil alone, one billion plastic lubricant containers are discarded every year.   


The Opportunity:

Recognizing the difficulties surrounding the disposal of industrial containers, Brazilian company Eco Panplas developed a clean, safe, and sustainable solution that is 30 percent cheaper than traditional recycling methods. Currently, the company is planning to open five new sites across Brazil that will recycle up to 24,000 metric tons of lubricant packaging every year.


Using a cutting-edge process, waste from packaging undergoes a decontamination process with a biodegradable solution. Following that process, the packaging is recycled, as is the collected oil, which is recovered and returned to the refining industry. Unlike other recycling methods, the entire process uses no water and, since all materials are recyclable, there are no costs associated with disposal.


Eco Panplas has received numerous awards for its innovation, including the Energy Globe Award Brazil 2021, one of the world’s top environmental honors. Additionally, companies involved in waste management and recycling have approached Eco Panplas in hopes of taking the technology abroad. When discussing this growing interest, Eco Panplas CEO Felipe Cardoso notes: “\That is why our intellectual property (IP) rights are so important...For us, it all makes a lot of sense: the greater the volume processed, the greater the social and environmental benefits generated. This is our mission and the main legacy we want to leave for society.”


Underscoring this novel process are IP rights and protections that encourage investment in ideas that lead to meaningful innovations. Additionally, IP helps companies like Eco Panplas share their innovation with collaborators, while maintaining rights to the technology and incentivizing the growth of other inventions.


Innovation is necessary for creating a safer and cleaner world. And by harnessing the power of IP in the development of its eco-friendly recycling process, Eco Panplas is fostering progress that benefits the world.  

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