More on Plastics in Construction

Kudos for tackling the heavy issue of life-cycle analysis in plastic building materials in your article “Plastics in Construction” (Vol. 10, No. 7/8). Although we agree that a “full discussion of LCA” and other comparative analysis would require far more than a nine-page article, it concerns us nonetheless that your readers may interpret some of the extracted data in this article solely at face value, separate and outside of its context within a comprehensive and targeted research project.

It was surprising that, in view of today’s energy crisis,

EBN failed to note the avoided energy use in plastics manufacture as compared to nonplastic alternatives in building and construction. Likewise, there are numerous research studies documenting the energy savings that can be anticipated over the life of a building structure as a result of using high-performance plastic building materials. Comparatively, the coverage afforded to the recyclability of plastics for installed building components approximated overload since almost no building and construction debris from a demolished or reconditioned structure is recoverable. By comparison to the municipal solid waste stream, recycling systems for building and construction waste, either at the job site or at the point of destruction, have not yet been established for the very reasons stated in your article.

Although the article concedes “there are rarely easy answers that apply across the board,” and that the “remarkable properties of plastics—make it an excellent choice for many applications,” we’re afraid the other eight pages may serve to discount these more salient points.

The EPS Molders Association, as other plastics industries, is committed to providing energy-efficient and environmentally conscious products and looks to maintaining a leadership role in the development of green building materials and practices that will enhance quality-of-life conditions from an eco-perspective. However, evaluation of manufacturing by-products and waste disposal options should not be at the expense of recognizing what the product may otherwise achieve in performance.

Betsy Steiner

Executive Director

EPS Molders Association

Published October 1, 2001

(2001, October 1). More on Plastics in Construction. Retrieved from https://www.buildinggreen.com/op-ed/more-plastics-construction

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