Easy access to environmental data for the composites sector

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The global market of composites, or fiber reinforced plastics, is projected to grow with 50% from € 63 Billion in 2015 to € 94 Billion by 2021.

This impressive growth evokes serious challenges for the sector. Like demonstrating and communicating the environmental benefits of the material.

To support manufacturers of composite products the European Composites Industry Association (EuCIA) has asked EY to develop the EcoCalculator. This online tool provides an easy way to calculate the environmental impacts of composite products.

What are composites?

Durable, lightweight, stainless, easy to maintain, these are the properties that make fiber reinforced plastics, or composites, attractive for a wide range of applications.
The combination of a fiber and a resin enables a large variety materials for different uses. Glass, carbon and aramid but also natural materials like flax and hemp are used as fiber material.
Invented for aerospace - 52% of the Airbus A350 is made of composites - the material is now infiltrating the automotive and construction sector.

Detailed environmental information wanted

Composite manufactures are increasingly asked to deliver information on the environmental performance of their products to their clients. However, development and use this kind of information in the composites industry is lagging behind in comparison to other sectors.

Furthermore, the composites industry in Europe is characterized by a large number of small manufacturing companies that produce composite products in small series with unique recipes. General studies on the environmental impact of composites are therefore hard to translate to these specific products.

The solution: EcoCalculator

On the positive side, the supplying industry is willing and able to supply the needed data to perform LCA’s, and has done much of the preparing work.

To disclose this information to the manufacturers of composite products and their clients, the European Composites Industry Association (EuCIA) has initiated the development of the online Eco Calculator. The environmental data and IT development of the tool was executed by EY Climate Change and Sustainability Services in the Netherlands (EY CCaSS) in cooperation with BiinC.

How it works

The online EcoCalculator provides an easy way to calculate the environmental impacts of composite parts from “cradle to gate”  without the need of a deep knowledge of Life Cycle Assessment methodology.

It includes the raw materials, processing and waste impacts of the part up and till the gate of the manufacturer. Users can calculate, save and export the environmental impacts of as many different composite parts as they need.

An EcoReport (pdf) can be generated summarizing the results for the composite part under study. 

Not only for composites

The EcoCalculator was especially developed for the composites industry but the approach can lend itself to other sectors and markets where complex environmental information needs to be disclosed to a wide audience. EY has developed similar tools for industrial packaging, cables, office furniture and construction products.

Visit the EcoCalculator website: