Tuesday 14 December 2021

Eco-profiles of Polymer Resins – Global Warming Potential

 Hello and welcome to a new post. Today we discuss the topic of global warming potential of polymer resins as part of eco-profiles.

Life cycle analysis (LCA) and eco-profiles

In general, eco-profiles are used to determine the environmental impacts of plastics. They are made out of different data sources. For instance, PlasticsEurope.org uses Life Cycle Inventory datasets (LCI) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) to calculate the eco-profiles for plastics.

For having a 360° view on the environmental impact, several values are estimated:

  • Global Warming Potential (GWP)
  • Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP)
  • Acidification Potential (AP)
  • Photochemical Ozone Creation Potential (POCP)
  • Eutrophication Potential (EP)
  • Dust/particulate matter
  • Total particulate matter (Non-hazardous / hazardous)
In this post we focus on the Global Warming Potential (GWP) value only. The estimation is based upon life cycle inventory (LCI) data from PlasticsEurope's member companies. It has been prepared according to the rules of PlasticsEurope’s Eco-profiles and Environmental Declarations – LCI Methodology and considers from cradle to gate (i.e. from raw material extraction to polymer resin at plant).

Environmental Performance

The figure below shows the Global Warming Potential (GWP) associated with the production of 1 kg of polymer resin.

Eco-profiles: Global Warming Potential (GWP) associated with the production of 1 kg of polymer resin

Updated with bio-based long chain Polyamides, High Performance Polymers and Polyesters. 

Eco-profiles: Global Warming Potential (GWP) - raw data (updated with Bio-based polymers and PVOH)

Eco-profiles are a vital part for businesses to select their materials in the context of a circular economy and low environmental impact. Results such as the Global Warming Potential may even enter the technical data sheets of material manufacturers which allows purchasers and engineers to pre-select the polymer resins.

Furthermore, the data of plastics indicates a lower GWP level compared to competing metals such as Magnesium (25.8 kg CO2 eq/kg Mg) and Aluminum (9.7 kg CO2 eq/kg Al).

Also, I have written about bio-based polymers and circular economy here and here.

Thanks for reading and #findoutaboutplastics



#LifeCycleAnalysis #EcoProfile

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[1] https://legacy.plasticseurope.org/en/resources/eco-profiles

[2] Korea LCI database;

[3] Ecoinvent database

[4] https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/31009455.pdf

[5]  https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1757-899X/87/1/012016/pdf

[6] https://www.plastribution.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Radici-Plastics-Focus-on-innovation-sustainability.pdf

[7] Industrial Applications of Biopolymers and their Environmental Impact edited by Abdullah Al Mamun, Jonathan Y. Chen

[8] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0926669016307580#fig0015

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