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GB/T 40318-2021 (GB/T40318-2021)

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GB/T 40318-2021: PDF in English (GBT 40318-2021)
GB/T 40318-2021
ICS 83.080.01
CCS G 31
GB/T 40318-2021 / ISO 17422:2018
Plastic -- Environmental aspects -- General guidelines for
their inclusion in standards
(ISO 17422:2018, IDT)
Issued by: State Administration for Market Regulation;
Standardization Administration of PRC.
Table of Contents
Foreword ... 3
1 Scope ... 4
2 Normative references ... 5
3 Terms and Definitions ... 5
4 Environmental factors included in the standard ... 7
Appendix A (Informative) Scope and boundary of life cycle assessment ... 12
References ... 17
Plastic -- Environmental aspects -- General guidelines for
their inclusion in standards
1 Scope
This document establishes general principles for incorporating environmental
considerations into the standard system for plastic products. This document aims to
minimize adverse environmental impacts, without prejudice to the full suitability of the
product and its intended purpose.
The guidance provided in this document is primarily intended for use by standard-
setters. In addition, this document is intended to provide guidance for staff who engage
in the design and other work and need to consider environmental factors related to
Note: This document is intended to facilitate the following activities:
a) Use the technology to identify and evaluate the environmental impact of the technical terms in the
standard, and minimize its adverse impact;
b) Adopt good practices such as:
1) Avoid contamination through end-of-life programs and appropriate management;
2) Carry out energy saving and consumption reduction according to the intended use (and
foreseeable misuse) of the product;
3) Safely use hazardous substances;
4) Avoid technically unreasonable restrictive practices;
5) Promote performance standards rather than exclusion clauses, e.g., based solely on chemical
composition standards;
6) Use renewable resources and minimize the use of non-renewable resources if life cycle
assessments show good results;
c) Take a balanced approach in the standard development process to address controversial issues such
as environmental impact, product functionality and performance, health and safety, and other
regulatory requirements;
d) Review existing standards according to technological innovations, and allow improvements in the
environmental impact of products and processes;
[Source: ISO 14040:2016, 3.1]
3.7 Life cycle assessment; LCA
The collection and evaluation of inputs (3.13), outputs (3.16), and their potential
environmental impacts (3.4) in the life cycle (3.6) of a product system.
[Source: ISO 14040:2016, 3.2]
3.8 Plastic product
Any materials or combinations of materials, any semi-finished or finished products that
are within the scope of ISO/TC 61.
Note: ISO/TC 61 (Technical Committee on Plastics of International Organization for Standardization) is
mainly responsible for the international standardization of plastic terminology, general methods,
thermoplastic products, thermosetting plastic products, plastic products, foam plastics, and fiber-
reinforced plastic products.
3.9 Product standard
A standard that specifies the requirements that a product or product group shall meet.
3.10 Renewable resource
Any natural resource existing in the form of material or energy that can be
supplemented or replaced in natural processes.
Note 1: Renewable resources include agricultural products, biomass, solar energy, wind energy, water,
waterpower, geothermal, tidal energy and regenerated biomass, etc., but do not include recycling or
wasted energy.
Note 2: The organic part of municipal waste is considered as renewable energy.
Note 3: Whether the energy stored in the technical system is renewable depends on the nature of the
original energy.
Note 4: Criteria for classifying energy as renewable energy vary between jurisdictions, based on local
circumstances or other reasons.
3.11 End-of-life
The stage of the product life cycle in which proper waste management is carried out for
the discarded final product.
Note: For the recycling and recovery of plastic waste, see ISO 11469 and ISO 15270, and see also
Appendix A.
3.12 Energy recovery
A process that usable energy generates through direct and controlled combustion.
Note 1: Solid waste incineration that produces hot water, steam, and/or electricity is a common form of
energy recovery.
Note 2: From a technical point of view, the term “Energy recovery” applies to the process that converts
all or part of the calorific value or sensible heat of any materials into useful energy.
[Source: ISO 15270:2008, 3.11]
3.13 Input
The materials or energy entering a unit process.
3.14 life cycle inventory analysis; LCI
The stage in a life cycle assessment in which the inputs and outputs throughout the life
cycle of the product under study are compilated and quantified.
Note: Life cycle inventory analysis describes product systems rather than isolated products. Life cycle
data covers materials, design, performance, usage patterns, waste management, and other factors.
[Source: ISO 14040:2006, 3.3]
3.15 Mechanical recycling
The plastic waste is processed into secondary raw materials or products without
significant change in the chemical structure of the material.
Note: This definition generally does not include chemical or plastic raw material recycling processes.
[Source: ISO 15270:2008, 3.21]
3.16 Output
The materials or energy leaving a unit process.
Note: These materials may include raw materials, intermediate products, finished products, emissions,
and waste.
4 Environmental factors included in the standard
4.1 General
When developing standards, close coordination is required within and between sub-
developed to reduce adverse impacts on the environment and used to replace existing
steps, they should be implemented; and then, abolish the current standard.
The following notes are applicable:
a) Material testing
If any substance specified in the standard becomes an environmental issue
deserving full attention, the relevant provisions in material documentation such
as Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) should be included. If possible, substances
contained in plastic materials should be assessed based on risk assessment by
using existing test method standards; the appropriate measures should be taken.
Existing ISO test method standards should be used.
b) Quality testing
Testing shall be carried out according to ISO quality standards.
c) Environmental testing
Testing shall be carried out according to ISO environmental standards.
4.2.3 Minimize the use of materials and energy
The use of materials and energy is affected by many factors, such as test scale, specimen
size and number of samples, required levels of reproducibility and repeatability, and
power specifications of the test equipment.
Test method standards should be designed to minimize the use of materials and energy
without compromising the quality of the results obtained from the tests according to the
If appropriate, guidance on how to minimize material and energy use should be
provided to users of the standard.
4.3 Product standards
4.3.1 General
Writers of plastic product standards should add a general introduction to the standard
to emphasize that this document and the ISO Guide 64 have been considered at the
development of the standard, and this document and ISO Guide 64 will be used as
normative references in the future plastics standards.
4.3.2 Product features
When designing products made of or containing plastic, oversimplification of material
selection criteria should be avoided. The balance should be kept between the product’s
primary functional requirements and potential adverse environmental impacts
identified according to the product/application system.
4.3.3 Environmental aspects in product standards
Environmental optimization approaches during the development of plastic product
standards typically include the following steps:
a) Pre-select materials to ensure appropriate technical and environmental
performance throughout their expected service life;
b) Screen functional materials to eliminate or minimize major adverse environmental
impacts in the overall product life cycle;
c) Minimize material usage per unit produced;
d) Make the maintenance and cleaning easy if appropriate.
Only by considering the complete life cycle can the most suitable environmental
properties for using a material in a specific application be determined. The scope and
boundaries of LCA covered in the ISO 14040 series of standards are described in
Appendix A of this document.
Note 1: The measurement accuracy of material properties and characteristics may not be absolute or
related to actual end-use performance requirements. Therefore, when comparing the life cycle assessment
of the alternative designs or materials, a certain degree of subjective assessment may be required.
Note 2: References to the standard and other references relevant to the design environment aspects of the
plastic product standard are listed in References, including ecological information data.
4.3.4 Renewable resources and energy
From an environmental point of view, the use of renewable resources, including
renewable substances and energy resources, is recommended.
a) Plastic products are also produced from renewable resources.
b) To a certain extent, biodegradable plastic products can also be returned to the
natural biocarbon cycle.
4.3.5 Standard drafters
Drafters of plastic product standards should take into account the potential
environmental needs of the standard users. In particular, due consideration should be
given to the needs of standard drafters when making environmental provisions for
Technical requirements such as strength, toughness, thermal conductivity, and electrical
conductivity should also be considered so that the final product meets the intended
purpose. These factors will automatically exclude many materials, and there will
eventually be a list of available materials.
A.4 Considerations for plastic manufacturing and raw materials
A unique feature of plastics is that they are essentially composed of fossil fuel
feedstocks (oil and natural gas); since these feedstocks can also be used as a fuel, energy
terms are often used to describe the feedstock.
For example, the total energy input required for a polyethylene manufacturing plant is
the sum of the energy consumed in the production process and the inherent fuel energy
of the ethylene feedstock remaining in the polymer product. Therefore, the total energy
required to produce 1 kg of LDPE can be obtained as follows:
--- Processing energy, 30 MJ/kg;
--- Raw material energy, 51 MJ/kg;
--- Total energy, 81 MJ/kg.
Note: These values are examples. Differences in raw material sources or processing may result in
different values. For example, it has been reported in the literature that the total energy required to
produce 1 kg of low-density polyethylene is as follows:
--- Processing energy, 36.7 MJ/kg;
--- Raw material energy, 46.2 MJ/kg;
--- Total energy, 82.9 MJ/kg.
A.5 Scrap Management
The raw material energy available in the product can eventually be recovered, and there
are usually two options:
a) Mechanical recycling: The purpose is to pass the main production energy by using
the material as many times as possible to make the energy exist longer.
b) Energy recovery: In this case, the goal is to recover as much raw material energy
as possible.
Therefore, two factors need to be considered:
--- The process energy of a material represents the maximum energy that can be used
in any recovery process before the energy of the material is not worth recovering.
--- No matter how many times the plastic is mechanically recycled, the raw material
energy remains the same. Therefore, mechanical recycling and energy recovery
are not mutually exclusive.
Note: The hydrocarbon feedstock for polymer production provides the carbon backbone that commonly
exists in most synthetic polymers. In terms of mass, there is little difference if the hydrocarbon feedstock
is methane (natural gas) or crude oil. When describing the raw material in terms of energy, the change of
the raw material type causes the energy to change significantly. For example, the calorific value of
methane is 54 MJ/kg, and 1 kg of methane provides 12/16=0.75 kg of carbon. This is equivalent to the
carbon energy of 54/0.75=72 MJ/kg. In contrast, crude oil typically has a calorific value of about 45
MJ/kg, using pentane as a substitute for naphtha, 1 kg of pentane provides 60/72=0.83 kg of carbon. This
is equivalent to the carbon energy of 45/0.83=54 MJ/kg. Thus, apparently, using natural gas as a feedstock
provides about 33% more energy than using crude oil as a feedstock to provide the carbon of same quality.
Due to this effect, feedstock energy should not be expressed as a single parameter, but
as a pair of parameters identifying oil-based and gas-based feedstocks, respectively. In
addition, in all comparisons, even between similar polymers, attention should be paid
to ensure the feedstock energies are compared on an equivalent basis, and the mixture
of oil and gas feedstocks varies over time and changes according to the specific
synthesis process.
A characteristic of most plastics is that they are burned at the end of their useful life and
a portion of the raw material energy is recovered. The perception that feedstock energy
is a measure of energy available for recovery is incorrect. Feedstock energy is a measure
of the energy associated with the input to a polymer production system, calculated from
the mass of the input multiplied by its calorific value. This differs from the calorific
value of the final polymer; there are two reasons:
--- Materials are inevitably lost during polymer production. These losses may be
small but still occur.
--- Chemical changes often occur in the production process, some of which may have
a significant impact on the final result. For example, in PVC production, a
hydrogen atom in the hydrocarbon monomer is replaced by a chlorine atom, and
in some polymers such as PET, oxygen is added to the polymer. These factors
cause the calorific value of the final polymer to be different from the energy of
the feedstock. Therefore, the feedstock shall not be used as a measure of energy
recovery potential. A relevant parameter for energy recovery is the calorific value
of the final polymer.
A.6 Recycling
It is well known that recycling is environmentally friendly and products should be
designed to be easily recycled. In the design of plastic parts, if maintenance is not
considered, recycling should be considered. However, one of the main advantages of
(Above excerpt was released on 2022-06-04, modified on 2022-06-04, translated/reviewed by: Wayne Zheng et al.)
Source: https://www.chinesestandard.net/PDF.aspx/GBT40318-2021