What is a Life Cycle Assessment?

A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is an environmental assessment methodology that involves analysing and quantifying a product’s environmental aspects and potential impacts (e.g. resource use and the environmental consequences of emissions) over its entire life cycle, i.e. from raw material acquisition through production, distribution, use and end-of-life disposal or recovery.

Benefits of doing a Life Cycle Assessment

AIMPLAS experts offer advice on determining the environmental impact of plastic products and related services throughout their life cycle in accordance with the standardized methodologies described.

  • An LCA helps identify opportunities to make environmental improvements to products at different stages in their life cycle, thus reducing their impact and making them more environmentally friendly.
  • It provides company decision makers with information for strategic planning and the ecodesign of products and processes.
  • Using the life cycle approach is mandatory for companies certified under the ISO 14001 standard or applying for certification.
  • An LCA helps companies obtain environmental labels and certificates, such as Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) and carbon footprint certificates.
  • It enables companies to implement ecological marketing strategies.
  • An LCA improves brand image and value.
  • It provides access to Green Public Procurement processes.

LCA Phases

According to reference standards ISO 14040 and ISO 14044, an LCA study comprises four retrofit phases:

  • Goal and scope definition.
  • Life cycle inventory (LCI).
  • Life cycle impact assessment.
  • Interpretation.

What is an Environmental Product Declaration?

Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are documents that contain relevant, verified environmental information about products and services based on a life cycle assessment approach. They are defined by ISO 14025 (Environmental Labels and Declarations – Type III Environmental Declarations – Principles and Procedures) and are widely used when comparing the environmental impact of products in the same category.

In fact, EPDs are carried out only for certain products for which Product Category Rules (PCR) have been defined. These PCRs provide a framework for the analysis of the defined products by harmonizing concepts such as the scope of analysis, functional unit and how results are presented so that the EPDs of products in the same category covered by the PCRs can be compared.


EPDs indicate the manufacturer’s commitment to measuring and reducing the environmental impact of its products and services and embracing transparency when reporting these impacts. Manufacturers thus provide comparable, objective data verified by third parties in order to describe the environmental performance of their products and services.

Benefits of an Environmental Product Declaration

  • One of the most important applications for EPDs is sustainable or green procurement in the public and private sectors, given that EPDs provide a fair basis for comparing the environmental performance of different products.
  • Because the EPD is based on international ISO standards, it is an international system, thus guaranteeing international use, acceptability and continuity.
  • It is approved through independent verification to ensure the credibility and veracity of the information contained in the declaration.

How can we help?

AIMPLAS experts carry out assessments of the environmental impact of products and services in the plastics industry in Spain, Europe and the rest of the world, and provide advice on the process of drawing up the relevant EPDs based on existing PCRs from the different organizations that publish them.

In the construction industry, general PCRs are available for all construction products and entire buildings, as well as for external thermal insulation composite systems (ETICS), asphalts, thermal insulation, laminate flooring, windows, carpets, buried pipes, pipes inside buildings, waterproofing sheets and bituminous mixtures. Any plastics can be assessed by the AIMPLAS staff.

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Inma Roig

Technology Operations