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  • Why does PlasticsEurope publish Eco-profiles only as averages?

    PlasticsEurope’s intention is to place robust data in the public domain for use in product life-cycle studies. Such data must be representative in terms of technological, geographical, and time-related scope. As association of plastics manufacturers in Europe, the scope of PlasticsEurope is the current European production of polymers and precursors.

    This leaves the question why a technology mix is reported. When sourcing polymers (or any other commodity material for that matter), specifiers and purchasers effectively draw on a »pool«, i.e. a variety of suppliers. This is because they may purchase from traders and/or switch suppliers at any time, e.g. based on pricing. Further, plastics are compound materials: aside from the polymers as such, various additives are introduced in the compounding and conversion steps which leads to a further »blending« of supply chains. As a consequence, when conducting product life cycle assessment studies for plastics applications, a distinction between specific polymer producers is usually neither possible nor relevant. Just like an electricity mix based on a variety of fuels is relevant for consumers connected to the grid, PlasticsEurope Eco-profiles are held to the best representation of the European polymer production technology mix.

    Aside from representativeness considerations, reporting industry averages also enables PlasticsEurope to meet the external demand for such information, while at the same time respecting the companies’ need for confidentiality of their own data on quantities of energy and raw materials used in their processes.

    Furthermore, PlasticsEurope encourages environmental improvements in manufacturing through benchmarking. One of the objectives of the PlasticsEurope Eco-profile programme is to facilitate internal company benchmarking that can lead to a reduction in environmental impact. Eco-profiles enable member companies to compare themselves against the European average and to target environmental improvements against a standard ‘benchmark’.

    [PlasticsEurope Eco-profile Methodology Document: sections 1.1.1, 2.3.2]

  • Why does PlasticsEurope not adopt a unit process database structure?

  • Why does PlasticsEurope not publish more Eco-profiles on semi-fabricated or recycled products?

  • How can I transfer Eco-profiles to other regions?

  • Should I add the Eco-profiles figures for monomers and polymers to obtain total environmental impacts?

  • Why do LCI data sometimes not add up when comparing the LCI of a polymer with its monomer or precursors?

  • Can I determine the most sustainable polymers by comparing Eco-profiles?

  • If I do not find an Eco-profile for the polymer I am interested in, what can I do?

  • How credible are Eco-profile data, given that PlasticsEurope as an industry association publishes them?

  • How is data quality of Eco-profiles ensured?

  • What electricity mix is used to calculated Eco-profiles?

  • Are Eco-profiles compliant with current LCA standards?

  • How does PlasticsEurope handle allocation of impacts between co-products?

  • What does feedstock energy mean?

  • Which impact categories are used and how are they calculated?

  • Why do impact indicators in some cases show substantial differences when comparing PlasticsEurope Eco-profiles with commercial lifecycle databases?

  • Why are there, sometimes, substantial changes to the update of an Eco-profile?

  • How often will Eco-profiles be updated?

  • As a life cycle consultant, how can I apply for Eco-profile work with PlasticsEurope?

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Related information


Methodology (PDF)

For abbreviations, please see the Glossary.

Related Websites
European Plastics Converters (EuPC)

European Plastics Recyclers (EuPR)

ACC Plastics Division