About the Wire & Cable Partnership
EPA’s Design for the Environment (DfE) Program and the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) formed a partnership with wire and cable industry stakeholders to conduct a life-cycle assessment (LCA) of the insulation and jacketing used in wire and cable products. The specific goal of the partnership was to evaluate the environmental impacts of the current standard material formulation and alternative formulations for heat stabilizers, polymer systems and flame retardants for selected wire and cable products, in order to help companies make environmentally sounds 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 is generating 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