Life-Cycle Assessment for Wire and Cable Insulation and Jacketing
About the Wire and Cable Insulation and Jacketing Partnership
EPA's DfE Program and the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) entered into a voluntary partnership with representatives of the wire and cable industry to conduct a life-cycle assessment of the current standard material formulations and alternative formulations for wire and cable insulation and jacketing. Specifically, the partnership examined the impacts of heat stabilizers, polymer systems and flame retardants used in insulation and jacketing for selected wire and cable products. This information will address the information gap on the environmental impacts of the different materials used in wire and cable insulation, and help companies make environmentally sound product and material choices.
The project focused on the following product types:
- Category 6, riser-rated communication cable (CMR)
- Category 6, plenum-rated communication cable (CMP)
- Non-metallic sheathed cable, as used in building wire (NM-B)
These products were chosen by the project partners because together they contain materials common to many wire and cable applications, they typically contain materials for which alternatives are being sought, and they represent a significant share of the wire and cable market.
Using a life-cycle assessment approach, the study generated data to help manufacturers, users, and suppliers of wire and cable incorporate environmental considerations into their decision-making processes. An LCA examines all of the steps involved in manufacturing, using, and disposing of a product or material, and estimates environmental impacts from each of the following stages:
- Raw material extraction or acquisition and material processing
- Product manufacture
- Product use/maintenance
- End-of-life disposition
Project partners included wire and cable manufacturers, compounders, additive suppliers, trade association members (National Electrical Manufacturers Association and the Vinyl Institute of the American Plastics Council), TURI, EPA, and project researchers (Abt Associates Inc. under contract with EPA).
Industry partners include:
- Albemarle Corporation
- AlphaGary Corporation
- Cable Components Group
- Daikin America, Inc.
- DuPont Communications Cabling Solutions
- Ferro Corporation
- General Cable Technologies Corporation
- Georgia Gulf
- Judd Wire
- National Electrical Manufacturers Association
- SGS U.S. Testing Company
- Southwire Company
- Sud-Chemie, Inc.
- Superior Essex
- Teknor Apex Company
- Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.
- United Copper Industries
- Vinyl Institute of American Plastics Council