Life depends on industrial minerals - but what does that mean to you? Our products find their way into thousands of objects you use every day, probably without even noticing. Here are some examples of ways our minerals touch your life.
You roll out of bed to enjoy a cup of coffee with breakfast. Your coffee cup is most likely 100% mineral based. The coffeemaker manufacturer used minerals such as talc and wollastonite to reinforce the plastic shell of your coffee machine. You put your cup in the dishwasher. The rubber gasket that surrounds the door contains minerals; and the white plastic housing of your machine contains minerals to make it more rigid, particularly at high temperatures.
After breakfast, you take a long shower. The shampoo and showergel you use contain minerals such as kaolin and talc to give them that luxurious creamy or pearlescent effect. Your body and face scrub products may contain little beads of perlite – an environmentally friendly alternative to the plastic beads often used in exfoliating cosmetics. Your deodorant may contain diatomite to absorb perspiration and odors. If you wear make-up, talc and mica give your eye-shadow and face powder that special sheen and soft, silky feel and kaolin may have been used as a matting agent.
You're on your way to work in your new car. Plastics reinforced with talc or wollastonite allow automakers to produce thinner, lighter automotive parts, meaning you get better fuel performance and your car generates fewer CO2 emissions. Minerals also increase the structural rigidity of the plastic bumpers, door pillars and dashboard in your car - keeping you safe in the event of an accident, and mica may well have been used to improve the sound damping of the plastic bodywork. The paint on the outside of your car contains minerals to prevent corrosion and improve scratch resistance. Minerals are also key ingredients in your tires and car exhaust system, helping to reduce your carbon footprint.
When you get to work you write a note to a colleague on a piece of paper. The paper and ink you use both contain minerals to improve printability and the finished surface. In fact, when paper mills use minerals such as talc and bentonite in their processes, it helps keep their equipment running smoothly and efficiently - meaning less waste and fewer costs passed on to you as a consumer.
You look around your office. It could do with a new lick of paint. Minerals, such as talc, mica, kaolin, wollastonite and leucophyllite make modern paints easier to apply, more durable and stop them from cracking.
Your busy morning has given you a slight headache. You take a pain relieving tablet of which talc or calcium carbonate forms the base ingredient - or excipient.
Your headache has disappeared, but your stomach is growling. It's time for lunch! Your sandwich is packed in an airtight plastic container which may include talc or wollastonite to make it more rigid. You round off lunch with an apple that may well have been treated with a talc-based product on the tree to stop it from getting sunburn! After lunch you sneak a piece of chewing gum manufactured with talc as the gum base.
It's time to head home. You stop by the store to buy some olive oil, sausage and cheese for supper. Talc is used as a processing aid to increase yield in olive oil production, and your sausage and cheese may well be coated with talc too.
Time to relax, so you go outside on your deck to get some fresh air. If your deck is made from a wood-plastic-composite, it will also contain minerals to make it strong and lightweight. You sit in a plastic chair - also reinforced with minerals - to unwind after the long day.
Before going to bed, you take out the garbage. Your plastic waste may well be recycled using minerals to improve the mechanical properties of the new end product and the plastic bin itself will contain minerals.
It’s bedtime. You go into to the bathroom to wash and brush your teeth before going to bed. Your toothpaste may contain perlite which whitens and polishes your teeth. The ceramic tiles on your bathroom floor, washbasin and shower tray all used minerals such as kaolin, wollastonite and talc in the manufacturing process.
You collapse into bed - completely unaware that, throughout your day, industrial minerals have helped make your life smoother and more efficient.