Online Tool Compares Plastics’ Carbon Footprints

Inego LCA

by | Jul 23, 2015

Inego LCAGreenhouse gas emissions and energy usage during NatureWorks’ Ingeo biopolymer manufacturing is lower than that of all commonly used plastics, according to an Inego life cycle assessment.

The company has also launched an online calculator that allows manufactures to compare polymer-to-polymer carbon footprints, based on this new data.

The article, Life Cycle Inventory and Impact Assessment Data for 2014 Ingeo Polylactide Production, was peer reviewed and approved for publication in Industrial Biotechnology by an independent panel of experts.

The article documents the energy and GHG inputs and outputs of the Ingeo production system, the revised 2014 Ingeo eco-profile, and the calculation and evaluation of a comprehensive set of environmental indicators. The article also addresses other topics such as land use, land use change and water use.

To help brand owners directly use this life cycle assessment data, NatureWorks has developed and made available an Environmental Benefits Calculator, which provides users with a powerful tool for comparing the net GHG emissions and the nonrenewable energy use of products made with different plastic types. The online calculator provides an intuitive interface from which manufacturers and brands can input product data details and receive instantaneous feedback on the environmental impact of the materials they are using.

The revised eco-profile (the cradle-to-polymer life cycle inventory data), which is based on the latest version of thinkstep’s GaBi LCA software and database, follows the ISO 14040 and 14044 standards and reinforces the fact that the production of Ingeo polymer emits fewer greenhouse gases and consumes less non-renewable energy compared to commonly used plastics such as polystyrene (PS), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and ABS.

The eco-profile of a polymer gives information such as the total energy and raw materials consumed, and the total emissions to air, water, and soil from the cradle to the finished polymer pellet. A life cycle inventory (LCI) is an essential input to any full life cycle assessment (LCA) conducted on consumer products made from that polymer.

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