The Eco Calculator calculates the environmental impact of products including the raw materials, transport, processing and waste generation up to the point of sale.
The Eco Calculator calculates the environmental impact of products including the raw materials, transport, processing and waste generation up to the point of sale.

The European Composites Industry Association (EuCIA) has added new thermoplastics data to its Eco Calculator, an online tool which helps composites companies calculate the environmental impact associated with the production of their products.

The new data is for glass fiber thermoplastics materials and encompasses both the compounding into granulate and the moulding of the part. For example, a user can calculate the environmental impact of producing a polypropylene with 30% glass fiber and filler and then calculate the environmental impact of using that material in an injection moulding process. The conversion data is suitable for processing of polypropylene, polyester and polyamide with a wide range of glass fiber contents.

While sustainability is a key driver for the selection of composite materials, the life cycle assessments (LCAs) frequently used to evaluate the environmental impact of a product can be complex, time consuming and expensive, often requiring specialised software and/or consultants. The results are also dependent on the LCA system employed and the data used, which can often be out of date. For small composites companies this approach is not affordable, especially if they produce a diverse range of products in low volumes, according to EuCIA.

Raw materials

The Eco Calculator calculates the environmental impact of products including the raw materials, transport, processing and waste generation up to the point of sale. The calculation of consecutive manufacturing processes is possible as output can be used as input. Users do not need any in-depth knowledge of LCA techniques in order to use the tool and the data can be exported in the form of an Eco Report.

The Eco Calculator incorporates a pre-defined set of materials and processes, based on data EuCIA has collected over the past three years but users are also able to enter their own data to generate a more precise result for their individual products and processes.

Further data additions to the Eco Calculator will be announced over the coming months. Companies wishing to contribute to the development of the tool are invited to contact EuCIA.

The Eco Calculator is available free of charge here.

This story is reprinted from material from EuCIA, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.