Green HPDE hard hat

Company cites development of the world’s first protective hard hat manufactured from sugarcane ethanol-derived, high-density polyethylene versus petrochemical-based HDPE used in conventional gear.

Developed by MSA in Brazil, the V-Gard GREEN hard hat was introduced to North American customers at the recent 2013 National Safety Council Congress & Expo in Chicago.

“By developing a hard hat sourced from sugar, we are effectively reducing the overall carbon footprint associated with the life-cycle of this product,” says Global Director of Strategic Marketing Eric Beck. Through the natural process of photosynthesis, he adds, sugarcane cultivation captures CO2 from the atmosphere, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Like MSA’s traditional V-Gard hard hats, the V-Gard Green protective hard hat meets the company’s performance standards as well as those defined by ANSI Z89.1 and CSA Z94.1. Green high-density polyethylene is also 100-percent recyclable in the same stream as conventional HDPE, making it suitable for reuse in non-safety products—further enhancing the sustainability benefits of the new hard hat. Additionally, the Green hard hat will be marked with a recycling label to further remind and educate users to recycle their helmet at the end of its use cycle.

“With the rise in green building and construction projects in general, this is an opportune time to introduce an alternative, sustainable safety hard hat that also helps to reduce carbon emissions and demand for fossil fuels in product manufacturing,” says Beck. “With millions of hard hats manufactured and sold annually in the United States, Canada and Mexico, the V-Gard Green hard hat provides those in the construction industry a sustainable choice that protects both people and planet.”

The technology to produce this new helmet was deployed at MSA’s Brazil operations, in conjunction with Braskem, the world’s largest producer of green thermoplastic resins. Production of the V-Gard Green hard hat is scheduled at the company’s Murrysville, Pa., manufacturing facility near Pittsburgh. —,