Material Flow Analysis (MFA) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Study for Sustainable Management of PVC Wastes in Thailand
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is one of the most commonly used plastics in the world because of its versatile properties that are suitable for various applications. In Thailand, more than 400,000t of PVC products are produced annually for domestic consumption. As a result, a large quantity of wastes from PVC products has been generated and becomes serious environmental problem. In this study, we used material flow analysis (MFA) to investigate the flow of PVC wastes (quantity and route) in Thailand and how they are managed at present. Based on this, the material flow analysis model was developed for selected PVC products (both rigid and soft) using annual production data from 1971-present as an input in the model along with average service life time of each product. In addition, actual data were collected from recycle shops and landfill sites and used in the model to estimate the amount of PVC wastes generated on yearly basis, recycled amount and recycle ratio of each PVC product in Thailand. This is the first time that this kind of information has been reported in Thailand. The results obtained from MFA model show that approximately 120,000-140,000t of PVC wastes were generated during 2013-2014. For recycle of PVC products, it was found that some products were recycled at high percentage such as pipe, cable, and hose but some products were recycled relatively low portion. Finally, several waste management or end-of-life scenarios of PVC products were created and evaluated by using life cycle assessment (LCA),the results showed the global warming potential and energy resource could be significantly reduced 22-58 % and 12-37 % respectively from the base case scenario and recycle process had a significant role in reducing potential environmental impacts of PVC wastes.