PLASTICS LCA

Life Cycle Assessment of Alternative Feedstocks for Plastics Production

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In January 2018, the European Commission adopted the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy (COM(2018) 28 final), which in the set of implementing measures also includes actions aimed at better understanding the life-cycle impacts of the use of alternative feedstocks for plastics production (see Annex I of the Strategy).

In this context, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) has been entrusted by the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) with a project focusing on Life Cycle Assessment of plastic products from alternative feedstocks , as described in this webpage.

Objectives and expected outcome

The overall objective of the project is to:

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  • elaborate a solid method enabling as far as possible consistent, harmonised, transparent and reproducible LCA studies of plastic products based on different feedstocks (including fossil resources, plastic waste, biomass and captured CO2).

  • test and demonstrate the practical applicability of the method (and support its development) through a number of illustrative case studies on selected plastic articles.

As main output, the project is expected to provide interested companies and stakeholders with a common harmonised framework to evaluate and communicate the potential environmental impacts of plastic products relying on different feedstocks.

Main steps and status

  • a systematic review of selected existing studies and related methodological choices and approaches;

  • development of a draft method and testing of the latter through five screening LCA case studies;

  • a first technical stakeholder consultation (held in November-December 2018) on the outputs of former project steps;

  • refinement of the draft method taking into account received stakeholders’ comments, and application to ten detailed LCA case studies;

  • a second technical stakeholder consultation (held in June 2020) on the updated draft method and the detailed case studies

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During the two consultations, interested stakeholders were invited to provide comments and inputs to the submitted draft reports. Moreover, stakeholders were given the opportunity to provide relevant data and information for the development of the project during two separate calls for data, which took place during summer 2018 and spring 2019.

Received comments are currently taken into account by JRC to revise and update the project reports as appropriate. Availability of final reports will be communicated on this webpage, as soon as available.

Publications and dissemination

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