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The European Plastic Pipes and Fittings Association (TEPPFA) is keen to raise awareness of the value that plastic pipe systems offer for a sustainable future. We commissioned an independent study by the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) to measure the environmental footprint of various plastic pipe systems based on life-cycle assessment. The work was validated by the Denkstatt sustainability consultancy in Austria.

A life-cycle assessment (LCA) provides the most recognized method to quantify environmental impacts of products, processes and/or systems. It shows the environmental effects of a product over its entire life cycle, including extraction of raw materials, production of materials and the product, construction, use and end-of-life treatment.

An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) offers a standard way of communicating the output from such a life-cycle assessment and enables the user to assess the environmental impact of a pipe system and allows comparisons to be made with alternative products at the system level.

An important objective was to provide transparency about the impact of plastic pipe systems on our environment. The EPDs are based in the ISO standard for Type III environmental declarations (ISO 14025), the European norm EN 15804 (Sustainability of construction works - Environmental product declarations - Core rules for the product category of construction products) and EN 15942 (communication format). The underlying LCAs are following the principles of the ISO standards 14040 and 14044.

The data for the plastic systems are provided by the TEPPFA member companies. The data for the non-polymer alternative materials (ductile iron, copper, concrete) are based on publicly available figures. All data are presented on a yearly basis.

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The Life Cycle Impact of the analysed system on the environment is divided into the following indicator categories.

Abiotic depletion Abiotic depletion potential of non-fossil resources including all nonrenewable material resources and minerals, except fossils.
Abiotic depletion, fossil fuels Abiotic depletion potential for fossil resources.
Acidification Emissions, such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, from manufacturing processes result in acid rain which harms our soil, water supplies, human and animal organisms, as well as our ecosystem.
Eutrophication Eutrophication results from over-fertilisation of water and soil by nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous from human activity, speeding up plant growth and killing off animal life in lakes and waterways.
Global warming The insulating effect of greenhouse gases, such as CO2 and methane, in our atmosphere is a major contributor to global warming, affecting our health and that of the ecosystem in which we live in.
Ozone layer depletion Depletion of the ozone layer in the atmosphere caused by the emission of chemical foaming and cleaning agents allows the passage of greater levels of UV from the sun, causing skin cancer and reducing crop yields.
Photochemical oxidation The photochemical reaction of sunlight with primary air pollutants such as volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides leads to chemical smog that affect our health and that of our ecosystem and food crops.


The service and the materials are provided by TEPPFA on an "as is" basis, and TEPPFA expressly disclaims any and all warranties, express or implied, including without limitation warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, with respect to the information given via this medium. In no event shall TEPPFA be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, punitive, or consequential damages of any kind whatsoever with respect to the service provided by this app.

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This comparison is for illustration purposes only. The non-plastic pipe data have been taken from publicly available sources and have not been verified by TEPPFA. Values are per person or item unless otherwise stated.

CO2 emission comparison

Every person, every animal, every action, simply everything emits carbon dioxide in one way or another. To get a feeling of how our piping system relates to other CO2 emitters, click on the respective EPD below.