Safety equipment manufacturer MSA, Pittsburgh, Pa., is the largest producer of industrial hard hats in North America and worldwide, and its V-Gard® hard hat with its distinctive V-shaped crown has helped prevent head injuries among workers who use the product. Hard hats are made with high-density polyethylene (HDPE), generally derived from petroleum. In a move to a more sustainable raw material, MSA’s manufacturing facility in Brazil developed the V-Gard GRN hard hat made from HDPE sourced entirely from sugarcane.
“Green” polyethylene is made from sugarcane ethanol. Just as ethanol in gasoline reduces carbon dioxide emissions from cars, using ethanol to produce HDPE reduces the material’s carbon footprint. Green HDPE is 100-percent recyclable, making it suitable for re-use in non-safety products. “We would not be using this material if it didn’t provide the same high level of head protection that our V-Gard brand is known for around the world,” says Dr. Thomas Muschter, MSA vice president. “For green construction projects or for companies focused on sustainability initiatives, we think the V-Gard GRN hard hat provides a perfect fit.”