Life Cycle Assessment or analysis (LCA) is a methodology used by CompoClay to assess the environmental aspects and potential impacts associated with a product, process, or service by:
1. Raw Material Acquisition: Material harvesting, extraction and transportation to manufacturing site
- Raw materials used in CompoClay (minerals, sea salt, sand grains, water and recycled fly ash) are abundant and natural, protecting Earth’s limited resources.
- Products made from natural and engineered wood require lumber, sometimes from virgin forests.
- Resin includes chemicals such as dodecylamine (DOA), phenoxyaniline (POA), styrene and ketone, all of which are derived from petroleum, a scarce resource that requires a great deal of energy to extract.
- Polyurethane includes chemicals such as isocyanate, polyols, hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), all derivatives of petroleum, a scarce resource that requires a great deal of energy to extract.
2. Material Processing: Materials processing and transportation to production site
- CompoClay’s raw materials are calcined at 750 degree Celsius, only a fraction of energy required to process the raw materials of traditional materials.
- Portland cement, one of the main components of glass fiber reinforced cement, is calcined at temperature above 1400 degree Celsius. The Portland cement industry accounts for 6% of the total manmade carbon dioxide emission of the world.
- Resin, as a derivative of petroleum, requires a very complicated and energy extensive chemical process to produce. Not only does the production of resin require a great deal of energy, the production process results in air pollutants with the resin itself and the solvents used to manufacture resin both emitting VOCs
- Gypsum’s raw materials are calcined at 1200 degrees Celsius under steam pressure.
- Similar to resin, polyurethane is also a derivative of petroleum, requiring an energy extensive chemical process to product. It also results in air pollution, emitting VOCs and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), an ozone depleting greenhouse gas.
3. Product Manufacturing + Assembly: Product manufacturing and assembly, packaging and transportation to final distribution
- CompoClay does not require any heavy machinery or heat treatment during the manufacturing process. CompoClay is mixed, molded and cured at room temperature.
- Ceramics and terracotta are “baked” in a kiln at 1300 degrees Celsius and 650 degrees Celsius respectively, requiring extensive amounts of heat to solidify. Additionally, to add a glaze, these products need to be re-kilned at 650-1300 degrees Celsius. These materials also yield a high scrap rate, as damaged and defective products are not easily repaired and are consequently disposed of.
- Glass fiber-reinforced cement products are steam cured. While they can also be cured at room temperature, it may take 2-3 times longer than CompoClay to cure at room temperature.
- Pressing machines and dryers are required to manufacture products made from engineered wood.
- Because CompoClay is made up of only natural and safe materials, it does not emit VOCs or any other harmful toxins during the manufacturing process.
- Resin and the solvents used to manufacture resin emit VOCs, mostly from the styrene used in resin.
- Conventional polyurethane emits VOCs and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), an ozone depleting greenhouse gas.
- Engineered wood manufacturing results in high VOC-emission, specifically formaldehyde, a harmful and carcinogenic VOC.
4. Product Life Cycle: Energy and emissions during normal product life, required maintenance and product reuse
- CompoClay is free of VOC-emissions, non-combustible and does not release any fire toxins during any stage of its life cycle.
- Throughout its life cycle, resin products emit VOCs, mainly from the carcinogenic styrene used in resin. Resin products are highly flammable and when burned, resin will release carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and VOCs.
- Engineered wood products require adhesives that contain urea formaldehyde, a toxic VOC known to cause cancer after prolonged exposure. During its life cycle, products made from engineered wood emit these toxic VOC, especially near heat. A highly flammable material, when burned, engineered wood will release carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, VOC and dioxin.
- Polyurethane is highly flammable and results in heavy smoke when burned. Fire toxins include carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, VOCs and hydrogen cyanide, as well as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), an ozone depleting greenhouse gas.
- Gypsum when burned will result in sulfur dioxide, an extremely poisonous gas.
- Polymers used in GRCs to increase strength and water resistance increases flammability and can result in fire toxin emissions.
- CompoClay is extremely weather resistant and does not require any extensive maintenance to protect it from deterioration caused by the elements. Additionally, as a mineral based material, CompoClay does not nurture growth of organisms, making it highly resistant to mold, mildew and termites.
- Products made from resin and polyurethane yellows and cracks with prolonged exposure to UV radiation.
- Gypsum ages with prolonged exposure to UV radiation and absorbs water, resulting in freeze thawing in cold temperatures. The sulphates in gypsum leads to mold, especially in humid climates.
- High moisture content in engineered wood results in swelling in humid temperatures. Thermal shock and freeze thawing results in cold temperatures. Engineered wood is extremely susceptible to water damage, thus is limited to indoor use.
- Free thawing occurs in products made from terracotta in cold temperatures
- The wood fibers in engineered wood provide food for mold, insects and termite growth.
5. End of Life / Waste Management: Recycling, landfills, liquid waste, gas emissions, etc.
- Because CompoClay is made up of natural materials, it degrades back into its natural state without emitting any toxins or pollutants.
- Upon disposal, resin generates greenhouse gases and VOCs in the landfill.
- Products made from GRC emit respirable crystalline silica upon disposal.
- Gypsum emits hydrogen sulfide when disposed in the landfill.
- Engineered wood generates greenhouse gases and formaldehyde upon disposal.
- Greenhouse gases, nitrogen oxides, hydrogen cyanide and VOCs are emitted upon disposal of polyurethane in the landfill.