Life cycle assessment of production of showcase objects from recycled plastics

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Abstract

Plastics are used in various applications because of affordability and versatility, had a global annual production of 350 million tonnes (Mt) in 2015. However, the development of circular economy approaches has not accelerated resulting in the disposal of 4900 Mt (60%) of plastic waste from 1950-2015. This shows that there is a need for creative approaches to improve public awareness and increase the recycling of plastics. One such approach is production of showcase objects (e.g. outdoor furniture, storage boxes) from low-value, difficult-to-recycle waste plastic. The development of new products should be assessed for environmental impacts using life cycle analysis (LCA), consequently, this study aims to conduct a LCA of the showcase objects, identify hotspots in energy consumption during the production process, and make recommendations for improving the environmental feasibility of the process.
The functional unit was defined as 1 quantity of showcase object. The system boundary includes raw material preparation with recycled and virgin plastics mix, production of showcase objects using rotational moulding and the associated energy requirements. The business-as-usual scenario includes raw material preparation containing 100% virgin plastics and similar production stages. The results will provide evidence of the environmental advantages of using recycled plastics for producing showcase objects which could include: (1) saving fossil resources by using recycled plastics instead of 100% virgin plastics, and (2) providing end markets for difficult-to-recycle plastics, thus extending the life of used plastics and preventing pressure on landfills.
This research is part of PRIF project-ACCEPT Transitions (Queen's University Belfast).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2021
EventGlobal Research & Innovation in Plastics Sustainability - Online
Duration: 16 Mar 202118 Mar 2021
https://www.ukcpn.co.uk/news/grips-2021-global-research-and-innovation-in-plastics-sustainability/

Conference

ConferenceGlobal Research & Innovation in Plastics Sustainability
Abbreviated titleGRIPS 2021
Period16/03/202118/03/2021
Internet address

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