News 2004 Detail

PVC life cycle study

Just published on the website of the European Commission's Enterprise Directorate-General, the study was conducted by a consortium led by PE INTERNATIONAL. The work's main aim was to provide an overview of the publicly available information on Life-Cycle Assessments (LCA) on PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and the main competing materials, for a variety of applications.

When comparing the life-cycle of products made from PVC and their main competitors, the choice of material is important, but not the only factor to consider. That is one of the main conclusions of a new study comparing life-cycle assessments of the widely used plastic PVC and competing materials.


The authors assessed existing information with a view to identifying information gaps. After reviewing and cataloguing some 230 LCA studies, they analysed the 35 most relevant studies. One of their main conclusions is that, from a life-cycle perspective, the material choice may be important, but it is often simply only one parameter among many.


Life-cycle analysis is aimed at supporting decisions, such as ?Next time, should we buy windows made from wood, aluminium or PVC??, with information from a sustainability point of view.


The PVC LCA study is a joint project of the Enterprise and Environment Directorate-Generals. It follows a request of the European Parliament in its resolution on the PVC Green Paper of 2000.