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PE Pipes - The Natural Choice for Sustainable Development [PE]


Plastic Pipes Conference Association # 2006 Washington DC


Sustainable development is a widely used (and sometimes misused) terminology, which brings together two concepts : “satisfaction of present needs” and “possible satisfaction of future needs”. Life cycle analysis for PE pipes are available regarding the energy content of the pipes and their aptitude for energy recovery, the main points being that PE industry converts less than 1% of oil production, can give it back to the energy market at the end of its life cycle and the available energy is still 30% higher than an equivalent weight of the best coal. Less explored is the environmental inertness of PE and its good position in any environmental impact assessment. Not only PE is acceptable for food contact, but it can also be manufactured to meet exceedingly high organoleptic standards and can be safely implanted in living organisms. In light of the increasing concern about impact of chemicals on the human health, we will examine in particular the case for drinking water pipes and the relevance of the PE technology to limit exposure to dangerous and unknown substances and to deliver bacteriological clean water to consumers. PE pipes provide in most of the cases an effective barrier to contamination of drinking water and to the protection of local environment from dangerous pollutions, and we will highlight the technical reasons behind. In the sake of reducing waste of valuable water resources, PE pipes again offers very interesting case studies and perspectives. While some of these aspects have been the object of attention, no single paper has yet explored the whole position of the PE pipe technology in a sustainable development context. We believe that this technology has a unique feature in providing a perfect combination of satisfying needs, protecting human health while preserving valuable resource, still stimulating economic growth and education in many underdeveloped areas. We believe that a better knowledge of this feature will be beneficial for the growth of the PE pipe industry all over the world.

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