It is important to collect and provide proper LCI (Life Cycle Inventory) data for correct LCA evaluations.
According to the eco-profile data published by PlasticsEurope for general purpose plastics, the process energy from extraction of oil to plastic production isabout 25 MJ/kg, and there is no remarkable difference between PVC and the other plastics.
As for feedstock energy however, the plastics mainly composed of hydrocarbons from oil such as polyolefins and polystyrene require 48 to 54 MJ /kg. PVC, of which more than half of its weight is composed of chlorine, requires about 27 MJ/kg, which amounts to about half the resource energy needed for these other plastics . The sum of process energy and resource energy for PVC is about 57 MJ/kg, which amounts to 73% of the sum needed for low density polyethylene (LDPE) (78 MJ/kg), which is widely used as packaging. PVC is an excellent material with the least energy load. As for the environmental load of PVC, CO2 emission from PVC is 1.8 kg/kg, which is slightly higher than that of polyolefin and lower than that of PS and PET. NOX and SOX emissions from PVC are 3 g/kg and 4 g/kg respectively.
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA): Method to evaluate the magnitude of resources consumption and impacts on the environment for a material or product throughout its whole life cycle (production, use, waste disposal and recycling). Rather than focusing on the environmental load alone, it evaluates from a comprehensive viewpoint. It has been highlighted as one of the guidelines for material comparison and green procurement.