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Life cycle analysis of polymer recycling literature review
| By Michigan Tech's Open Sustainability Technology Lab.
Wanted: Students to make a distributed future with solar-powered open-source 3-D printing.
|This page is part of an international project to use RepRap 3-D printing to make OSAT for sustainable development. Learn more.
Research: Open source 3-D printing of OSAT • RecycleBot • LCA of home recycling • Green Distributed Recycling • Ethical Filament • LCA of distributed manufacturing • RepRap LCA Energy and CO2 • Solar-powered RepRaps • solar powered recyclebot • Feasibility hub • Mechanical testing • RepRap printing protocol: MOST• Lessons learned • MOST RepRap Build • MOST Prusa Build • MOST HS RepRap build • RepRap Print Server
This literature review supports the following project: Life cycle analysis of distributed polymer recycling.
MOST group articles on waste plastic extrusion
- Dennis J. Byard, Aubrey L. Woern, Robert B. Oakley, Matthew J. Fiedler, Samantha L. Snabes, and Joshua M. Pearce. Green Fab Lab Applications of Large-Area Waste Polymer-based Additive Manufacturing. Additive Manufacturing 27, (2019), pp. 515-525. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addma.2019.03.006 open access
- David Shonnard, Emily Tipaldo, Vicki Thompson, Joshua Pearce, Gerard Caneba, Robert Handler. Systems Analysis for PET and Olefin Polymers in a Circular Economy. 26th CIRP Life Cycle Engineering Conference. Procedia CIRP 80, (2019), 602-606. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procir.2019.01.072 open access
- Aubrey L. Woern, Joseph R. McCaslin, Adam M. Pringle, and Joshua M. Pearce. RepRapable Recyclebot: Open Source 3-D Printable Extruder for Converting Plastic to 3-D Printing Filament. HardwareX 4C (2018) e00026 doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ohx.2018.e00026 open access
- Aubrey L. Woern and Joshua M. Pearce. 3-D Printable Polymer Pelletizer Chopper for Fused Granular Fabrication-Based Additive Manufacturing. Inventions 2018, 3(4), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/inventions3040078 open access
- Woern, A.L.; Byard, D.J.; Oakley, R.B.; Fiedler, M.J.; Snabes, S.L.; Pearce, J.M. Fused Particle Fabrication 3-D Printing: Recycled Materials’ Optimization and Mechanical Properties. Materials 2018, 11, 1413. doi: https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11081413 open access
- Adam M. Pringle, Mark Rudnicki, and Joshua Pearce (2017) Wood Furniture Waste-Based Recycled 3-D Printing Filament. Forest Products Journal 2018, Vol. 68, No. 1, pp. 86-95. https://doi.org/10.13073/FPJ-D-17-00042 open access
- Debbie L. King, Adegboyega Babasola, Joseph Rozario, and Joshua M. Pearce, “Mobile Open-Source Solar-Powered 3-D Printers for Distributed Manufacturing in Off-Grid Communities,” Challenges in Sustainability 2(1), 18-27 (2014). open access
- Shan Zhong & Joshua M. Pearce. Tightening the loop on the circular economy: Coupled distributed recycling and manufacturing with recyclebot and RepRap 3-D printing,Resources, Conservation and Recycling 128, (2018), pp. 48–58. doi: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2017.09.023 open access
- M.A. Kreiger, M.L. Mulder, A.G. Glover, J. M. Pearce, Life Cycle Analysis of Distributed Recycling of Post-consumer High Density Polyethylene for 3-D Printing Filament, Journal of Cleaner Production, 70, pp. 90–96 (2014). DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.02.009. open access
- Shan Zhong, Pratiksha Rakhe and Joshua M. Pearce. Energy Payback Time of a Solar Photovoltaic Powered Waste Plastic Recyclebot System. Recycling 2017, 2(2), 10; doi: 10.3390/recycling2020010 open access
- Feeley, S. R., Wijnen, B., & Pearce, J. M. (2014). Evaluation of Potential Fair Trade Standards for an Ethical 3-D Printing Filament. Journal of Sustainable Development, 7(5), 1-12. DOI: 10.5539/jsd.v7n5p1 open access
- M. Kreiger, G. C. Anzalone, M. L. Mulder, A. Glover and J. M Pearce (2013). Distributed Recycling of Post-Consumer Plastic Waste in Rural Areas. MRS Online Proceedings Library, 1492, mrsf12-1492-g04-06 doi:10.1557/opl.2013.258. open access
- Christian Baechler, Matthew DeVuono, and Joshua M. Pearce, “Distributed Recycling of Waste Polymer into RepRap Feedstock” Rapid Prototyping Journal, 19(2), pp. 118-125 (2013). open access
Kuczensk, Brandon, and Roland Geyer. "LCA and Recycling Policy — a Case Study in Plastic." 1 Oct. 2001. Web. 10 Oct. 2011. .
- 11 states have bottle bills (MI included)
- producing 1 kg PET requires 206 g Natural Gas for ethylene, 588 g crude oil for xylene, Liquid oxygen, and water
- 1kg diverted from land fill saves 1kg disposal +.78kg primary production
- buy back centers/source separated processors: .044MJ primary energy per 1kg PET
- curbside collection: .65-.8 MJ primary energy per 1kg PET
- materials recovery center: .38 MJ primary energy per 1kg PET
- each additional kg recycled reduced primary energy 46.2-56.3 MJ
NOTES: good diagrams/flowcharts, necessary info for CA only 
- 1:PET (highly recyclable)
- 2:HDPE (highly recyclable)
- 3:PVC (not recycled)
- 5:Polypropylene (not recycled)
- 6:Polystyrene (not recycled)
- 7:Other/mixed (no recycling)
- usually a single re-use
- can't mix PET and PVC in recycling
- steps: collection, sorting/separating, processing, manufacturing
NOTES: outdated 
- embodied energy analysis via input/output instead of thermo
- energy in/kg PET out
- energy in/bottles out
- LCA preformed on milk carton
- comparison of different materials (PET, glass, aluminum, steel)
- LCA of recycling PET into fleece
- chart of embodied energies and prices of polymers
- embodied energy and price of recycled material is half of virgin material (lower quality)
- "Transport does not have a great impact on the energy life cycle of this product."-slide 8
NOTES: great diagrams, equations 
Britz, David, Yohsi Hamaoka, and Jessica Mazorson. "Recology: Value in Recycling Materials." MIT Sloan Sustainability Lab, 13 May 2010. Web. 13 Oct. 2011. .
- studied virgin material market, environmental impact, and recycling of virgin material
- used LCA databases
- materials flow and embodied energy
- energy input=energy stored product+energy stored in waste+energy released
- recycled material uses 80% less energy than virgin material
- producing 1 kg recycled PET uses 42-55 MJ/ 1kg virgin PET uses >77 MJ
NOTES:check sources 12-14 
- coefficients in MJ/kg and MJ3
- ABS, HDPE,LDPE, polyester, pp, ps, polyurethane, PVC
- compares local data to worldwide data
Embodied Energy Table
Table 1: Embodied Energy per kg material
|Material||Embodied Energy (MJ/kg) ||Embodied CO2 (kg CO2/kg) ||Transportation Energy (MJ/kg) ||Notes|
|ABS||77.8-111||3.05||From Franklin Associates Ltd, 1991.. From Plastics Europe, 2005. |
|HDPE||79.7-103||1.57(resin)-2.02(pipe)||From Franklin Associates Ltd. and manufacturer. 1994. |
|LDPE||77-103||1.69(resin)-2.13(film)||From Lawson. 1994.|
|Polyester||53.7-58||From American Institute of Architects, Environmental Resource Guide, 1991. |
|Polypropylene||64-94||2.97-3.93||From American Institute of Architects, Environmental Resource Guide, 1994.  From Plastics Europe, 2005. |
|Polystyrene||100-117||2.55-3.45||From American Institute of Architects, Environmental Resource Guide, 1994.  From Plastics Europe, 2006. <refname=""/>|
|Polyurethane||72.2-74||3.48-4.06||From American Institute of Architects, Environmental Resource Guide and manufacturer, 1991. From Plastics Europe, 2005. <refname=""/>|
|PVC||38.6-189||2.56-2.61||From American Institute of Architects, Environmental Resource Guide, Sheltair Scientific Ltd, and manufacturer. Best guess is 70 MJ/kg, 1992.|
|PET||77-90||2.73||From international journal of Life Cycle Assessment. |
Note: CO2 values are cradle to gate.
Variables for calculating transportation energy 
- Distance Traveled
- Speed Traveled
- Type of Vehicle (mpg)
- Loading of Vehicle
Table 2: Embodied Energy of Transportation
|Vehicle||Fuel Efficiency (ton miles/gallon)||Embodied CO2 of Transportation (lb CO2/gallon)||Notes|
|Passenger Vehicle||15-40 (mpg) ||19.56||
Best Case Scenario: Detroit, MI
Worst Case Scenario: Copper Harbor, MI
- Kuczensk, Brandon, and Roland Geyer. "LCA and Recycling Policy — a Case Study in Plastic." 1 Oct. 2001. Web. 10 Oct. 2011. .
- Lofti, Ahmad. "Plastic / Polymer Recycling." Web. 11 Oct. 2011. .
- The ImpEE Project: Recycling of Plastics. The Cambridge-MIT Institute. 11 Oct 2011. 
- Britz, David, Yohsi Hamaoka, and Jessica Mazorson. "Recology: Value in Recycling Materials." MIT Sloan Sustainability Lab, 13 May 2010. Web. 13 Oct. 2011. .
- "Embodied Energy Coefficients." Web. 13 Oct. 2011. .
- Hammond, Geoff, and Craig Jones. "Inventory of Carbon & Energy (ICE V2.0) Embodied Energy & Carbon." University of Bath. Web. 17 Oct. 2011. <http://www.bath.ac.uk/mech-eng/sert/embodied/>.
- Eco-profiles of the European Plastics Industry. Plastic Europe. 2005. Web. 20 Oct. 2011. http://lca.plasticseurope.org/main2.htm.
- Pearce, Joshua M., Sara J. Johnson, and Gabriel B. Grant. "3D-mapping Optimization of Embodied Energy of Transportation." Resources, Conservation and Recycling 51.2 (2007): 435-53. Print.
- 2011 Most and Least Fuel Efficient Vehicles. http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/bestworst.shtml