In order to establish a strategy for reducing the chemical footprint of plastics, Clean Production Action has published the Plastics Scorecard report, as noted in PlasticsToday: "The Plastics Scorecard gives one of the world's most valuable materials a bad grade" and "Plastics Scorecard measures chemical footprint of PVC/DEHP-based medical IV bags." In the report, an intravenous (IV) bag made from DEHP-plasticized PVC is compared with a polyolefin-based bag manufactured with layers of polyethylene and polypropylene. The report favors the polyolefin bag.
I think it is a positive step, and very welcome, that organizations like Clean Production Action suggest ways to improve the use of plastics in medical devices in order to move in a more sustainable direction. However, I have to say that the methodology used in this report is too narrow minded. Weighing material selection based almost exclusively on the amount of chemicals of high concern (such as DEHP) contained in the product is insufficient. There is more to this picture than meets the eye.
Let's take a closer look at the IV bag example in the report and evaluate whether, from a sustainability point of view, a multilayered polyolefin bag really is preferable to one made from PVC.