MMA Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Number Published

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As companies continue to focus increasingly on sustainability principles, being able to demonstrate progress in reducing their impact on the environment becomes ever more important.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is one way of providing a means of building a picture of what happens throughout the life of a product, from obtaining the raw materials to create it, right through to when the product is either recycled or disposed of.

The European LCA for ACH MMA has now been officially published, which is a big step forward in providing publically available accurate environmental impact information.

As a part of a CEFIC Methacrylates industry group sponsored study, the three key MMA producers in Europe each carried out independent studies to produce LCAs using ISO 14044 methodology, which were externally verified. Plastics Europe then took the three studies provided by the CEFIC industry group and used it to produce a single European LCA report for Methyl Methacrylate.

Why is this of benefit?

The EU is working towards all materials having an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). The EPD would sit alongside the Reach Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and Technical Data Sheet (TSD), providing a comprehensive picture of the material product SHE characteristics.

If you are carrying out your own LCA for products you manufacture then the new MMA LCA, produced to the most up to date standard, can be used as a building block towards this.

The last information collection exercise for the Plastics Europe EcoProfile database was in the mid 1990’s. Since then much has changed.  The completion of an externally validated LCA represents a more complex and accurate summary of the environmental impacts of the product under consideration.

From the new MMA LCA report the environmental impact most commonly  considered at present is the Global Warming Potential (GWP) which is also referred to as the ‘carbon footprint’.  The EPD for European MMA reports that the GWP is 3.47 kg CO2 per kg of MMA.

What next?

The plan is to revise the MMA LCA data every 4 years, with the expectation that the on-going energy efficiency improvements and continuing technology advancements will contribute towards a reduction in environmental impacts  over time.

The next stage of the CEFIC/ Plastics Europe  project for is to produce LCA’S and EPD’S for PMMA bead polymer, cell cast sheet and extruded sheet is underway and is expected to be complete by the October.

Over the next 3-4 years, the LCAs for all plastics will be updated and made available on the Plastics Europe website, which is public domain data.

 

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