LCA Case Study Cushion Vinyl Floor Covering and DEHP

Environmental Impacts of Use and Recycling of Additives (DEHP) in Products
  • Lauran van OersEmail author
  • Ester van der Voet
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 23)


To illustrate the LCA method and its relevance for risk-based management of additives, an example is elaborated for a phthalate plasticizer, di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), as used in the application in cushion vinyl floor covering. In LCA environmental impacts are estimated for the total of emissions, not restricted to toxic effects and/or one substance (like DEHP). Furthermore emissions relate to the cradle-to-grave chain of the additive application in cushion vinyl floor covering. For the waste disposal of the EoL cushion vinyl floor covering four different scenarios are elaborated: incineration; controlled landfill; uncontrolled land fill, assuming DEHP emission; and material recycling. Emissions of DEHP are missing in the LC Inventory database. Therefore, additional estimates for the emission of DEHP during production, use and waste disposal are based on several MFA studies. The discussion mentions several limitations of the study. Given these limitations, the scenario in which the EoL PVC waste is incinerated is the environmentally worst option. The total weighted impacts for the other scenarios are not far apart. However, the impact of incineration, with energy recovery, is overestimated because burdens of waste incineration are completely attributed to the cushion vinyl floor covering. The impact of uncontrolled landfill is underestimated because the time horizon of DEHP leakage from the site is defined rather short. The contribution of phthalates emissions to the impact score appears to be small. An exception is the scenario in which the EoL waste is dumped on an uncontrolled land fill site. In this case the fresh water ecotoxicity score becomes substantial and is dominated by the emission of phthalate from the landfill site. This will become even more apparent if a larger time horizon for DEHP leakage from the landfill site is assumed.


Additive Cushion Vinyl Floor Covering DEHP Life Cycle Analysis LCA Plastic Waste Treatment 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Environmental SciencesLeiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands

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