Introduction - What is the Plastics Scorecard?
The Plastics Scorecard is a lifecycle-based system for evaluating the environmental and human health performance of a plastic product. The Plastics Scorecard is designed to help specifiers and buyers of plastic parts and products in identifying more environmentally preferable materials and avoiding materials of high concern. The Plastics Scorecard is about making selection choices to improve the design of plastic products.
Plastics are essential materials for many products. Light weight, strong, flexible, durable - they provide properties valued by product designers, engineers and consumers. Everyday we use plastics: from the clothes we wear, to the brushes we use to comb our hair and clean our teeth, to the chairs we sit on, to the phones we make our calls on. Plastics are ubiquitous.
Yet plastics pose many environmental and human health problems across their life cycle. Non-renewable fossil fuels are their primary source of raw materials. Toxic chemicals are common in plastics manufacturing, can end up in the product and be released during use and disposal. Recycling rates are low and plastic pollution is great -- with plastics spread across the globe, in the oceans as well as on land.
The Plastics Scorecard is for anyone that selects or purchases plastic materials and products. Product designers, material specifiers and purchasers will all find value in the both the criteria for evaluating plastics as well as the assessments of individual plastics. The Scorecard both reveals the human and environmental health problems associated with many fossil fuel-based plastics and sets criteria for identifying more environmentally preferable plastics.
The Scorecard’s design is guided by three core principles: Sustainable Feedstocks, Green Chemistry and Closed Loop Systems. The most environmentally preferred plastic products are safer to humans and the environment across their entire life cycle: from the growing or extracting of raw materials to manufacturing the plastics to using the plastic products to managing them at the end of their useful life.
The Plastics Scorecard grades plastic materials from Grade F to Grade A+ depending on their life cycle performance.