State-of-the-art sustainability

Tenite™ is a high-performance cellulosic polymer which is environmentally sustainable.

Cellulose, the foundation for Tenite and many other Eastman products, is bio-based — that is, it is derived from renewable softwoods grown in the southeastern United States, mostly in Florida and Georgia.

This wood fiber undergoes a process of acetylation, which creates an easily moldable, versatile, and durable cellulosic polymer that remains stable and safe for the intended use throughout the lifespan of the product.

“We take a holistic approach in the production of cellulosic products we develop for the ophthalmic industry,” says Dawn Adcox, product steward and regulatory affairs manager at Eastman.

A key raw material used to make Tenite is cellulose derived from wood pulp, sourced exclusively from sustainably managed forests. We expect our suppliers of wood pulp to maintain sustainable forestry certifications. This gives us confidence that their forestry practices are not contributing to deforestation or threatening old growth forests,” she says.

“Beyond raw materials, during the production process, solvents are recycled back into our system for re-use. Before being returned to our local river, water is processed in our state-of-the-art, bioactive wastewater treatment facility, and routinely tested to ensure that the river is receiving clean, safe water and its biodiversity is protected,” she says.

“Because these high-quality polymers are durable when molded into thin, light eyeglass frames, for example, they allow for less material to be used, helping to reduce our customers’ environmental impact, also.”

While there are currently no large-scale collection channels for cellulosic-based thermoplastics, like eyewear, Adcox says, Eastman is considering options for developing collection channels for these materials.

“With the transition from linear to circular economy models, we recognize the importance of the end-of-life products. We believe that collaborations will be key in the development of these streams that will enable recovery and recycle,” she says. “Work is beginning, and we are excited about the possibility.”