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. 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, as well as an Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), based as well on the PlasticsEurope methodology.
In May 2021, ISOPA published updated Eco-profiles of MDI, TDI and polyether polyols, using state of the art methods consistent with industry standards.
The new profiles are not comparative, as ISOPA is also providing the life cycle inventories in International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) and Gabi formats to allow LCA practitioners to include updated data in their LCA software tools and databases. Since ISOPA membership changed, so did the industry mix. In addition, and to align and harmonize the approach within the plastics industry value chains, special attention had to be paid to the allocation of burdens between MDI or TDI and its co-product hydrogen chloride (HCl). Therefore, a combined elemental and mass allocation approach was considered, better reflecting the reality of the processes involved and a fair allocation of the burdens.
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 the PlasticsEurope website here.