Composites Sustainability – Insider – January 12, 2023

Call for Volunteers: Strategic Review of ACMA’s Sustainability Program We are issuing a call for volunteers to serve on the …

Call for Volunteers: Strategic Review of ACMA’s Sustainability Program

We are issuing a call for volunteers to serve on the newly formed Sustainability Steering Committee (SSC) on behalf of ACMA’s Board of Directors Chair, Fred Sanford and Committee Chairman, Scott Balogh. We intend that this committee be comprised of industry executives with responsibility for their company’s sustainability programs.  The SSC will review the association’s programs against the sustainability goals set forth in its Strategic Plan and identify needed program revisions. The SSC will coordinate with the Composites Sustainability Council that operates within ACMA’s Composites Growth Initiative to manage technical programs on recycling, decarbonization and sustainability. Please contact John Schweitzer if you are interested in serving on the SSC. 

What Claims can be Made Regarding the Recyclability of Composite Products? 

The Federal Trade Commission announced December 20 that it is seeking public comment on potential updates and changes to the Green Guides for the Use of Environmental Claims. The Commission’s Green Guides help marketers avoid making environmental marketing claims that are unfair or deceptive under the Federal Trade Commission Act. This is an opportunity to request changes to the Guides that will allow the industry to make recyclability and other sustainability-related claims regarding composite products. Contact John Schweitzer for more information. 

FHWA Describes Importance of EPDs 

“Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are tools that can clarify the environmental impacts of construction materials,” according to a January 6 Federal Highway Administration newsletter. “EPDs communicate the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of construction materials in a transparent and standardized manner. They also provide an opportunity to reduce negative environmental impacts by transforming the project delivery process.” 

“Transportation agencies continually assess and choose materials or technologies to meet their needs. As State DOTs become increasingly conscious of infrastructure’s environmental burdens and seek more sustainable strategies, they are looking for measures that accurately reflect the environmental impacts of each alternative.” 

“What exactly does an EPD tell us? The manufacture and production of construction materials such as aggregate, asphalt, cement, asphalt mixtures, concrete mixtures, and steel reinforcement generates various environmental impacts. An EPD is a verified report used to communicate those impacts from resource use, energy, and emissions. EPDs are developed using life-cycle assessment (LCA) procedures, follow the industry consensus methodology, and undergo third-party verification before being published. Agencies can leverage EPDs to support decision-making throughout project delivery. EPDs requested at material installation can establish benchmarks and develop performance metrics for the material or project. This tool can help agencies reduce GHG emissions in their construction projects.” 

“EPDs offer several benefits to agencies. First, they encourage the demand and supply of products that promote the more sustainable use of resources and create less stress on the environment. Additionally, EPDs provide critical information for LCAs or other types of environmental assessment of alternative design decisions. This allows for meaningful comparisons of environmental performance between materials fulfilling the same function. Finally, EPD data can be included in asset management system databases to perform network-level LCAs and identify areas for environmental performance improvement.”