Environmental Product Declaration

The EPD TEPPFA project

The European Plastic Pipes and Fittings Association (TEPPFA) is keen to raise awareness of the value that plastic pipe systems offer for a sustainable future. We commission a series of independent studies by the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) to measure the environmental footprint of various plastic pipe systems based on life-cycle assessment. The work is validated by the Denkstatt sustainability consultancy in Austria.

An important objective is to provide transparency about the impact of plastic pipe systems on our environment. Moreover, it is an important step in the development of the Environmental Product Declarations for plastic pipes.
 

Positive Conclusions

The results of the TEPPFA studies are very positive for all the application areas and confirm an excellent environmental performance of plastic pipes for utilities and building applications.

 
 

Twenty-One Application Areas

Twenty one application areas were selected for the life-cycle assessment of plastic pipes, covering both the supply and drainage-sewage sides:

Soil & Waste Applications


Water Distribution Applications


Sewage & Drainage Applications

Plumbing, Hot & Cold Applications

Gas Distribution Applications

Rain Gutter Applications

Life-cycle assessment

Life-cycle assessment (LCA) provides the most recognised method to quantify environmental impacts of products, processes and/or systems. It shows the environmental effects of a product over its entire life cycle, including extraction of raw materials, production of materials and the product, construction, use and end-of-life treatment.

An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) offers a standard way of communicating the output from such a life-cycle assessment, enables the user to assess the environmental impact of a pipe system and allows comparisons to be made with alternative products at the system level.

The life-cycle impact of the system on the environment can be divided into seven categories:
 

  1. Abiotic depletion (non-fossil)
    Abiotic depletion potential of non-fossil resources including all nonrenewable material resources and minerals, except fossils.

  2. Abiotic depletion (non-fossil)
    Abiotic depletion potential for fossil resources.

  3. Acidification potential
    Acidic emissions, such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, from manufacturing processes harm our soil, water supplies, human and animal organisms, and our ecosystem.

  4. Eutrophication potential
    Eutrophication results from over-fertilisation of water and soil by human activity, speeding up plant growth and killing animal life in lakes and waterways.

  5. Global warming potential (CO2 equivalent)
    The insulating effect of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere is a major contributor to global warming, affecting our health and that of the ecosystem in which we live.

  6. Ozone-depletion potential
    Depletion of the ozone layer in the atmosphere caused by the emission of chemical foaming and cleaning agents allows the passage of greater levels of UV from the sun, causing skin cancer and reducing crop yields.

  7. Photochemical oxidation potential
    The photochemical reaction of sunlight with hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides leads to atmospheric pollution such as chemical smogs that affect our health and that of our ecosystem and food crops.

Project participants

There is a wide number of companies and institutes that contributed to the work of this study, including Plastics EuropeTNO, PVC4pipes Association and TEPPFA Member Companies. In total the data was collected from around 60% of companies within the European pipe industry.