PMMA / Acrylic Sustainable Solutions
All PMMA materials and articles manufactured by Altuglas, Evonik, Lucite, Plazit and Quinn comply with all relevant legislation and regulations, both at national and European levels. The main feedstock (methyl methacrylate – MMA) as well as the secondary raw materials, which are used in the Polymethyl Methacrylate manufacturing processes is subject to the REACH Regulation.
REACH is the EU regulation concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. It entered into force on 1 June 2007.
It requires manufacturers and importers of chemicals to register each substance they make or place on the market in quantities exceeding one tonne in a central database managed by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).
The aim of REACH is to ensure the protection of human health and environment, maintain the competitiveness of the European chemical industry and prevent the fragmentation of the internal market. This regulation is applicable in the same way across the 28 Member States of the European Union.
About CO2 Emissions Trading Scheme
The European MMA manufacturing plants are complying with the provisions laid out in the European environmental legislation pertaining to the CO2 emissions (ETS) and to the operating permits process of the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED).
Launched in 2005, the European Emissions Trading System (ETS) is designed to curb CO2 emissions in the EU through a “cap and trade system”. Companies emitting more than foreseen either have to purchase permits to make up for the excess (auctioning), or invest in low carbon technology or reduce their production. Phase Two of ETS started in 2008, committing Europe to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020. Phase Three (2013-2020) includes more sectors and greenhouse gases. Currently there is an ongoing debate on further reducing to 30% by 2020 and additional emission cuts by 2050 (Low Carbon Economy Roadmap).
In 2018, the European institutions revised the legislative framework of the EU ETS for the next trading period (phase 4 – 2021-2030) in order to meet the EU’s 2030 emission reduction and Paris Agreement targets. By 2030, the sectors covered by the EU ETS must reduce their emissions by 43% compared to 2005 levels.
About Industrial Emissions Directive (IED)
The existing Directive on industrial emissions, the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive, adopted in 1996, fixes the rules for granting permits to operate industrial installations.
The objective is to provide a high level of protection of the environment as a whole.
The key principles are:
- An integrated approach considering the emissions from the installation to the different environmental media (air, water and land).
- Setting the permit conditions (essentially Emission Limit Values – ELVs) based on the performance that can be achieved through application of the Best Available Techniques (BATs). BATs are established techniques which are the most effective in achieving a high level of environmental protection as a whole and which can be implemented in the relevant sector under economically and technically viable conditions, taking into account costs and advantages.
- Flexibility i.e. taking into account the technical characteristics of the installation concerned, its geographical location and the local environmental conditions.
An information exchange on BATs is being organised by the Commission with Member States, Industry and NGOs to establish BAT reference documents (BREFs) indicating what is regarded as a BAT at EU level for each industrial sector and, in the case of the chemical industry, sub sectors. The fundamental purpose of the BREFs is to document the emission levels that result from application of BATs, such that these can be used as reference to establish the ELVs in permits.
New IPPC Directive Recast
The proposal for a revised Directive, published by the Commission on 21 December 2007, modifies the key principles of the existing legislation.
Flexibility is seriously restricted, rules for setting emission limit values are changed and made more stringent for industry, and other Directives (called sectoral Directives e.g. solvent or titanium dioxide Directives) are merged with the IPPC Directive while reducing emission limit values.
The PMMA sector group members comply with all relevant National and European legislation pertaining to the environmental and health impact of the products and articles put on the market. Future legislative developments are also closely monitored. In particular, we pay specific attention to the following activities:
– Ecolabels and Ecoprofiles, according to the ISO 14040–44 series of standards
– the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) specifications for plastic materials and polymers destined to come in contact with food
The Norms that regulated the acrylics production sheets are:
- ISO 7823-1 for acrylic cast sheets
- ISO 7823-2 for acrylic extruded sheets
- ISO 7823-3 for acrylic continuous cast sheets