Spartech Corp collaborates on LCA with Sustainable Minds
05 October 2011
Process type: Design
This is a little late being posted, but its a fascinating story about what happens when a manufacturing organisation engages with a software/service supplier to build something that’s more than just a technology acquisition.
For those unfamiliar with the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) specialists at Sustainable Minds, it provides a cloud-based (read: web-based) LCA system for assessing the environmental impact of a product (or product iterations) during development.
If you fancy reading a little more, you can check out a brief run down of how it works on here from the last issue of D3D Sustainability. Having seen the system, the team at Spartech, a “leader in the development and design of rigid packaging” began using Sustainable Minds’ service to “quickly quantify the environmental impacts associated with the production of their products.”
What’s fascinating is that rather than just adopting the tool and working with it, the two organisations worked together to locate LCI (life cycle inventory) reports for thermoplastics, additives, and concentrates used in the plastics processing industry.
When LCI reports could not be located for several specialised polymers, Sustainable Minds created custom impact factors for these raw materials by using LCIs for each individual molecule used in the polymer. Sustainable Minds’ database will soon contain life cycle inventories for more than 50 thermoplastics and 25 additives commonly used in the plastics processing industry, making it one of the most complete sets of data for plastics processors.
”Within the next couple of months, all of our product development and commercialization teams will routinely calculate environmental impacts associated with our products and will discuss the data with our customers,” stated Jeffrey Best, Director of Marketing. “One of our goals is to improve the sustainability of our products without compromising container integrity and performance. We also want to use a set of data that is widely adopted across all industries and academia to ensure transparency and impartiality in how the data is calculated.”
Spartech will use life cycle assessment in the development of its first Corporate Sustainability Report due out early next year. The data will also ensure that Spartech’s customers have access to emissions information needed for their own internal sustainability initiatives. “Using Sustainable Minds to conduct life cycle assessment for each of our products continues to fulfill our goal of becoming a total solutions provider for our customers,” comments Carol O’Neill, SVP Packaging Technologies at Spartech.