Life cycle assessment and additives: state of knowledge

Henrik Fred Larsen (Author), Ester von der Voet (Author), Lauran Van Oers L (Author), Gao Yang (Author), Tomas Rydberg (Author)

    Research output: Non-textual formSound/Visual production (digital)Research

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    Concerns about possible toxic effects from additives/impurities accumulated in globally recycled waste/resources like paper and plastics was one of the main reasons for starting up the EU FP7 Coordination Action project RiskCycle ( A key aim of the project is to identify research needs within this area focusing on both risk assessment (RA) and life cycle assessment (LCA). Besides the sectors on paper and plastics also lubricants, textiles, electronics and leather are included in RiskCycle. On plastics a literature review regarding the state of knowledge on additives/impurities in LCA has been performed within RiskCycle. Several inventory databases (LCI data) have been investigated and the result shows that most LCI databases use PlasticsEurope data for plastics production. Most of these data are aggregated and do not include additives. Regarding the production of additives only data on metals and DEHP was identified. As regards LCAs on plastics 110 papers has been reviewed. Only 25 of these mention additives but they are not included in the emissions list. Only a few studies include additives in the impact assessment and additives are never mentioned as important for the outcome. Regarding LCAs on printed matter (including paper) only a few studies have been done – mostly focusing on the energy part. However, one of the most recent and comprehensive studies actually include toxic impacts from chemical emissions – mostly printing chemicals like printing ink of which some components may accumulate in recycled paper. Even though recycling is included in this recent study there is no special focus on the additives/impurities in the recycled paper. Anyway, the study shows that potential toxic impacts from the production and use of chemicals like pigments, solvents, metals, AOX and biocides may play a very significant role in the impact profile of printed matter. Regarding the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) part an investigation of the availability of characterisation factors (aquatic ecotox) for the about 17 additives/impurities to be included in RiskCycle have been done. These additives belong to 15 chemical groups/chemicals like PFOS, PFOA, NPAA, HBCDD, triclosan and more. The best practice LCIA “consensus” model USEtox was chosen. For only nine of the 17 substances characterisation factors exists and four of these are preliminary (interim). Regarding the rest, factors have to be calculated - if possible.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2011
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    EventSETAC Europe's Annual Meeting - Milan, Italy
    Duration: 1 Jan 2011 → …
    Conference number: 21


    ConferenceSETAC Europe's Annual Meeting
    CityMilan, Italy
    Period01/01/2011 → …


    • LCA, additives, recycling, waste

    Cite this

    Larsen, H. F. (Author), von der Voet, E. (Author), Van Oers L, L. (Author), Yang, G. (Author), & Rydberg, T. (Author). (2011). Life cycle assessment and additives: state of knowledge. Sound/Visual production (digital)