Including chemical-related impact categories in LCA on printed matter does it matter?

Henrik Fred Larsen, Morten Søes Hansen, Michael Zwicky Hauschild

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Introduction Existing product Life Cycle Assessments (LCA¡¦s) on offset printed matter all point at paper as the overall dominating contributor to the impacts from the life-cycle of this category of products. This dominating role of paper is primarily founded in the energy-related impact categories global warming, acidification and nutrification. The studies focus on energy consumption including the emissions and impact categories related to energy. The chemical-related impact categories comprising ecotoxicity and human toxicity are not included at all or only to a limited degree. In this paper we include these chemical-related impact categories by making use of some of the newest knowledge about emissions from the production at the printing industry combined with knowledge about the composition of the printing materials used during the production of offset printed matter. This paper is based on the report ¡§Life Cycle Assessment of generic printed matter from a fictitious sheet fed printing industry¡¨ [1] which is going to be published by the Danish EPA as part of the project ¡§Ecolabelling of printed matter¡¨. Goal and scope The goal of the study is to identify the distribution of potential environmental impacts and consumption of resources along the life cycle of a generic printed matter produced on a fictitious sheet feed offset printing industry in Europe. The results are to be used for developing ecolabelling criteria. Main activities at all stages in the life cycle are covered. However special focus is on the production stage but upstream emissions assessed to be of possible significant importance are included (e.g. estimated emissions from pigment production) or handled in the sensitivity analysis. The functional unit is 1 ton of sheet feed offset produced printed matter, i.e. printed communication covering books, pamphlets etc. As time scope for the production stage 1990 ¡V 2002 is chosen and as technological scope mainly modern technology (not state-of-the-art) used at least in Northern Europe is used. Marginal approaches are used for production of electricity (natural gas) and paper production (virgin fibres) as the main approach i.e. in the reference scenario. In all other cases an average approach is used. The consumption of raw materials at the fictitious printing industry is mainly based on average values for 10 ¡V 70 Swedish and Danish offset printing industries. The range in the consumption of the most important raw materials is typically well below or just above a factor of about 10. Method The EDIP method is used [2]. The impact assessment comprises classification, characterisation, normalisation and weighting. Danish/global normalisation references and weighting factors (Wenzel et al. 1997) are used in the reference scenario and European/global ones [3] are used for sensitivity analysis. The weighting factors for the impact categories are based on political reduction targets. Conlusion „Ï The distribution of potential environmental impacts along the life cycle of a generic printed matter produced on a fictitious sheet feed offset printing industry in Europe has been identified and shown in Figure 1 (light bars). „Ï The effect of including the chemical related impact categories is substantial as shown in Figure 1, e.g. the importance of paper is reduced from 67% to 31% and the importance of printing increased from 10% to 41%. „Ï On the basis of sensitivity analysis it is concluded that the results of this LCA study is valuable for ecolabelling of offset printed matter (especially sheet fed) at both a Nordic scale (Swan labelling) and a European scale (Flower labelling). Furthermore, on the basis of the alternative scenarios and sensitivity analysis done it is concluded that the strength for use in ecolabelling of printed matter of the LCA approach used here is not only the exact LCA profile of the reference scenario based upon average values but to a high degree the possibilities to use sensitivity analysis based upon known or theoretical ranges within values on consumption, emissions or other parameters. By doing sensitivity analysis we get an indication on how sensitive the distribution of the potential impact within the life cycle of the printed matter is to variation in the parameter in question and thereby guidance in how much weight to put on the parameter in the development of ecolabbeling criteria. References [1] Larsen, H.F., Hansen, M.S., Hauschild, M. (2004). Life Cycle Assessment of generic printed matter from a fictitious sheet fed printing industry. DRAFT April 2004. Part of the project ¡§Ecolabelling of printed matter¡¨ which is going to be published by the Danish EPA in summer 2004. [2] Wenzel,H., Hauschild, M., & Alting, L. (1997) Environmental Assessment of Products, Vol. 1. First edn. Chapman & Hall [3] Stranddorf, H.K., Hoffmann, L., Schmidt, A. (2004). LCA Guideline: Update on impact categories, normalisation and weighting in LCA. Selected EDIP97-data. Final draft February 2004. To be published as an Environmental Project by the Danish EPA. Figure 1 Comparison of weighted LCA profiles with or without chemical related impact categories included (percentage of total, milli-person-equivalents-targeted, mPET). For ¡§Total paper (net)¡¨ the avoided energy consumptions and emissions due to incineration and recycling of paper is allocated to paper.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDK2
    Publication date2004
    Publication statusPublished - 2004
    EventDansk Kemiingeniørkonference - Lyngby, Denmark
    Duration: 24 May 200426 May 2004

    Conference

    ConferenceDansk Kemiingeniørkonference
    CountryDenmark
    CityLyngby
    Period24/05/200426/05/2004

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