Life Cycle Thinking and Eco-profiles
PlasticsEurope, the European association of plastics manufacturers, was the first industry organisation to assemble and publish detailed Life Cycle environmental data. Their first reports on plastics products and processes were published in 1993. ISOPA quickly joined the effort and used the already widely accepted PlasticsEurope methodology, publishing their first Life Cycle Inventory, or Eco-profile, of polyurethane precursors in 1996. Since then ISOPA regularly updates the industry average datasets, keeping track of the evolution of the methodology and practices. In 2012, a few years after the publication of the International series of standards (ISO) on Life Cycle Assessment, ISOPA published its first ISO compliant Eco-profile of MDI, TDI and polyether polyols.
Together with the 2012 Eco-Profile update, ISOPA also published an Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), based as well on the PlasticsEurope methodology.
Widely acknowledged among life cycle practitioners and other stakeholders worldwide as representative datasets, PlasticsEurope inventories have been included in various commercial life cycle databases as well as in the publicly available European Life Cycle Database (ELCD).
ISOPA strongly believes that, given the large contribution of upstream effects to the Eco-profile of a polymer and in view of the distribution of input materials, such as ethylene or naphtha via the European pipeline network, industry averages are the most robust representation of polymer production systems.
Objectives of ISOPA Eco-profiles are to
- provide practitioners and specifies with scientifically sound data for use in product life-cycle studies, without compromising the confidentiality of detailed process data of the individual companies
- encourage environmental improvements in production processes through benchmarking against a European industry standard
Since ISOPA uses PlasticsEurope´s methodology and approach, the background data used is regularly updated by PlasticsEurope and therefore latest versions of datasets of polyurethane precursor eco-profiles should be downloaded from: http://www.plasticseurope.org/plasticssustainability/eco-profiles.aspx