Eco-friendly Plastics for Climbing Holds

In recent years, the plastics industry in particular has been increasingly concerned with the issues of sustainability, environmental and climate protection and has been looking for solutions as to how correspondingly eco-friendly processes can be implemented within the companies.

ebalta has been able to demonstrate by means of various examples that this is also possible and feasible in the production of polyurethanes and epoxies. For example, specific attention was paid to using sustainable, i.e. primarily renewable, raw materials in formulations where this is possible without restricting the target properties. This is particularly the case for applications where properties such as low viscosity, transparency, colour accuracy or UV stability do not play a major role. Further sustainability measures of ebalta have set themselves the goal of optimising recycling measures. For example, plastic waste can be recycled as filler or chips in insulation boards. As a result, ebalta customers now also have the option of purchasing their products ” carbon neutral” and thus improving their CO2 footprint.

Task: Carbon neutral climbing hold with high proportions of renewable raw materials

allHOLDS was founded as a network of climbing hold manufacturers and ebalta with the aim of developing a polyurethane that could combine the high material requirements for this product with a maximum eco-friendly formulation.

Under these conditions, a “carbon neutral” climbing hold with the highest possible proportion (around forty percent) of renewable raw materials was to be created. Furthermore, no styrenes or plasticisers were used in the formulation. The climbing holds resulting from these specifications should finally be able to be issued with a certificate as a “carbon neutral product”.

ECOfriendly climbing holds

Plastic solution: PU handles with 80% material saving

Polyurethane is an excellent base material for climbing holds. PU holds are significantly lighter, for example compared to polyester holds, with corresponding advantages in handling and in packaging and transport. Thanks to the high strength and stability of the material, PU climbing holds can be manufactured in very thin wall thicknesses, with an up to 80 percent reduction in material consumption. In addition, polyurethane’s low brittleness makes it more suitable than comparable materials for the design of different grip shapes.

Whether rapeseed oil or sunflower oil, wood waste or sugar: polyols can also be produced on the basis of renewable raw materials. The challenge of the joint development work of allHOLDS was primarily to meet the desired sustainability with the high requirements of climbing holds in terms of stability (compliance with DIN EN 12572-3:2017) and abrasion resistance while using as little material as possible and maximising durability.

The result of the joint cooperation was the development of the climate-friendly allHOLDS Eco-friendly Polyurethane. The new PU material not only meets all the requirements for the production of an extremely stable, robust and durable climbing handle, but also guarantees a high degree of economic efficiency with cycle times of around ten minutes! It is offered to our customers for both hand and machine casting.