PMMA Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Number Published

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We are delighted to announce the publication of the Poly Methyl Methacrylate (PMMA) Environmental Product Declaration (EPD).  The European LCA, which forms part of the EPD for PMMA, has now been officially published, which is a big step forward in providing publically accessible accurate environmental impact information.

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.

How was the figure derived?

The report is based on 5 individual LCA studies performed independently by the 5 main European and Israeli producers of PMMA as part of the CEFIC PMMA industry group.  These 5 producers covered >85% of the European and Israeli PMMA production in 2012.  Plastics Europe took the studies provided by each manufacturer and used it to produce a single European LCA report for Poly 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.

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.

This EPD is intended to be used by member companies, to support product-orientated environmental management; by users of plastics, as a building block of life cycle assessment (LCA) studies of individual products; and by other interested parties, as a source of life cycle information.

What is the Carbon Footprint of PMMA?

From the new PMMA 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 PMMA reports that the GWP is 3.75 kg CO2 per kg of PMMA resin.

The MMA LCA, which was published back in Q1 2014, can also be found on our website.

What next?

The plan is to revise 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.

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.

PMMA is widely used in various applications for its many advantageous properties. Perhaps the most well-known of these properties is light transmission.

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