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A Chemicals Perspective on Designing with Sustainable Plastics

Goals, Considerations and Trade-offs

The development of plastic products does not systematically take sustainability, particularly from a chemicals perspective, into account. This report seeks to enable the creation of inherently sustainable plastic products by integrating sustainable chemistry thinking in the design process. By applying a chemicals lens during the plastic material selection process, designers and engineers can make informed decisions to incorporate sustainable plastic during the conceptualisation phase of their products. The report provides an integrated approach to sustainable plastic selection from a chemicals perspective, and identifies a set of generalisable sustainable design goals, life cycle considerations and trade-offs. At a more granular level, considerations are identified for each life-cycle phase, which are brought together as a whole-product assessment and optimisation taking the full life cycle into account. The report also considers trade-offs that will need to be carefully balanced in the design phase and reflection on implications of design choices. Ultimately, the report helps to equip designers and engineers with knowledge of relevant chemical considerations when selecting sustainable plastic, supporting better outcomes and a more transparent process.

Published on December 07, 2021

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Foreword
List of Abbreviations
Executive Summary
Sustainable Design of Plastics: Problem Formulation, Objectives and Scope
Methodology
Sustainable Design Goals
Considerations During the Sourcing Phase
Considerations During the Manufacturing Phase
Considerations During the Use Phase
Considerations During the End-of-Use Phase
Whole Product Assessment and Optimisation
Conclusions and Recommended Next Steps
Overview of Relevant Methods, Tools and Metrics
About the OECD Chemical Safety and Biosafety Programme
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