And while petrochemicals will be one focus of the IISRP's circularity efforts going forward, there will be a number of other perspectives as well. "One input will be from markets," Salinas said. "Customers are requesting more sustainable materials. The auto industry, tire industry, medical, construction. Everything."
Association members also will be urged to look at their own operations in terms of cleaner energy in production of their synthetic rubber lines.
"Our operations should be cleaner in terms of energy used, in terms of the waste that we produce, and in terms of the emissions we emit," he said. "If we look at our supply chains, our raw materials should meet the same requirements, and should be more sustainable materials."
Ideas in play include the increased use of biomonomers, along with using other materials from renewable sources and recycling certain types of oils or certain additives, such as recovered carbon black.
This will give the IISRP a spectrum of information to review and determine what kind of actions it should encourage, according to Salinas. The group also will be able to see what agreements or declarations are established by countries or SR customers, and follow those trends as well.
"Hopefully, this year we can start a benchmarking exercise by members to review the sustainability concepts implementation in our industry worldwide," he said. "As an institute we need to provide these kinds of tools and information to our members that they can use internally in order to implement their own strategies to improve sustainability in their companies."
At the moment, the work by the IISRP has been strictly internal, but Salinas knows that has to change. Future efforts must include working with other entities, associations and even governments to bolster its collection of data in specific areas.
"It's not only our members' collaboration, it's the full supply chain collaboration here," he said, "because we are interrelated—one part of the chain with the next one. We need information from the end-user applications, and they need information from us, and we need it from our raw material suppliers. The whole supply chain will need to collaborate at a certain level."
The association now is considering how to approach the initiative with other stakeholders so that they, in turn, can work to improve circularity for all.
"It's not easy. It's going to be a very hard and long-term job," Salinas said. "We need to collect a lot of data from many applications that we need to study and analyze and collaborate on."