A hard hat that’s just so sweet: It’s made of sugarcane

Tina Grady Barbaccia

February 14, 2013

 Pittsburgh-based safety equipment manufacturer MSA has developed a hard hat that protects the environment and is super sweet (sort of).

 The new MSA V-Gard (“V-shaped” crown) GRN (for green) Hard Hat is the first industrial safety product produced from nearly 100-percent renewable resources. Developed and manufactured by MSA in Brazil, the MSA V-Gard GRN Hard Hat is similar to conventional hats in that it’s made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE). However, unlike traditional hard hats, the HDPE in the MSA V-Gard GRN model is sourced entirely from sugarcane. 

Eric Beck, MSA’s global director of strategic marketing, says that by developing a hard hat sourced from sugar, “the overall carbon footprint that’s associated with the entire life-cycle of this particular product, from start to finish,” has been reduced.

Beck explains that “green” polyethylene is made from sugarcane ethanol, which results in a smaller carbon footprint because, for each ton of the material produced, up to 2.5 pounds of carbon dioxide are captured from the atmosphere.

He also notes that 1 ton of polyethylene sourced from petrochemicals actually emits more than 2 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Beck added that green polyethylene is 100 percent recyclable, making it suitable for reuse in non-safety products, “which further enhances the sustainability benefits of the new hard hat.”

 Thomas Muschter, MSA vice president of global product leadership, notes that the HDPE sourced from sugarcane provides the same performance and properties as resins made from non-renewable raw materials.

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