Glossary of terms

  • Abiotic depletion potential, ADP
    An environmental impact category, measuring the extraction of primary resources, such as minerals, metals and fossil fuels.

  • Acidification potential, AP
    An environmental impact category ("acid rain"). Emissions (e.g. sulphur oxides, nitrous oxides, ammonia) from transport, energy generation, combustion processes and agriculture cause acidity of rainwater and thus damage to woodlands, lakes and buildings. Reference substance: sulphur dioxide.

  • Eco-profile
    Another term for Life Cycle Inventory, used synonymously by PlasticsEurope, usually cradle-to-gate, but in case of conversion processes it may also be gate-to-gate.

  • Eco-profile Project Team, EPT
    A dedicated, temporary task force formed for the purposes of overseeing Eco-profile work for a specific polymer. The team consists of members of PlasticsEurope’s respective product committee, HSE group, Life Cycle Task Force (LCTF), plus the LCA practitioner and the programme manager.

  • Environmental Product Declaration, EPD
    A standardised method (ISO 14025) of communicating the environmental performance of a product or service based on LCA data.

  • Eutrophication potential, EP
    An environmental impact category (also in some cases, nutrification potential). Emissions such as phosphate, nitrate, nitrous oxides, and ammonia from transport, energy generation, agriculture (fertilisers) and wastewater increase the growth of aquatic plants and can produce algae blooms that consume the oxygen in water and thus smother other aquatic life. This is called eutrophication and causes damage to rivers, lakes, plants, and fish. Reference substance: phosphate.

  • Feedstock energy
    Definition in accordance with ISO 14040 »combustion heat of raw material input that is not used as an energy source, to a product system, expressed in terms of higher heating value or lower heating value.
    NOTE: Care should be taken to ensure that double counting of raw material energy content is not done« [ISO 14040, 3.17]

  • Global warming potential, GWP
    An environmental impact category ("greenhouse effect"). Energy from the sun drives the earth’s weather and climate, and heats the earth’s surface. In turn, the earth radiates energy back into space. Atmospheric greenhouse gases (water vapour, carbon dioxide, and other gases) are influencing the energy balance in a way that leads to an increased average temperature on earth’s surface. Problems arise when the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases increases due to the "man-made" (or anthropogenic) greenhouse effect: this additional greenhouse effect caused by human activities may further increase the average global temperature. The index GWP is calculated as a multiple equivalent of the absorption due to the substance in question in relation to the emission of 1 kg of carbon dioxide, the reference substance, over 100 years. The term carbon footprint is considered to be synonymous with the GWP of a product.

  • Life Cycle Impact Assessment, LCIA
    Evaluation of the environmental relevance of material and energy flows (e.g. with regard to resource depletion or global warming potential).

  • Life Cycle Inventory, LCI
    An input/output analysis of material and energy flows from operations along product system; PlasticsEurope also uses the term Eco-profile.

  • Life cycle assessment, LCA
    A standardised management tool (ISO 14040–44) for appraising and quantifying the total environment impact of products or activities over their entire life cycle of particular materials, processes, products, technologies, services or activities.

  • Offsetting
    Financing activities which compensate for the climate effect (and often at the same time, the use also of non-renewable resources) resulting from the production.

  • Ozone depletion potential, ODP
    An environmental impact category ("ozone hole"). The index ODP is calculated as the contribution to the breakdown of the ozone layer that would result from the emission of one kg of the substance in question in relation to the emission of one kg of CFC-11 as a reference substance.

  • Photochemical ozone creation potential, POCP
    An environmental impact category (photooxidants, "summer smog"), the index used to translate the level of emissions of various gases into a common measure to compare their contributions to the change of ground-level ozone concentration. The index POCP is calculated as the contribution to ozone formation close to the ground, due the substance in question in relation to the emission of one kg of ethene as a reference substance.

  • Product Category Rules, PCR
    A set of rules for the preparation of LCA and EPD within a functionally defined class of products. A PCR document is a necessary component of any Type III Environmental Declaration programme (ISO 14025).
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