Corrugated Packaging Life-cycle Assessment Summary Report

Posted by jonathan.morris
Type: 
Full LCA available on the web
Comparative: 
no
Publication year: 
2009
Language: 
English
Code: 
Paper Products/Inks
Product: 
Corrugated Packaging
Quality and sources
Is the study a: 
Detailed LCA
Was a critical review performed?: 
Yes
Is the study compliant with ISO 14044?: 
Yes
Sponsor name(s): 
Corrugated Packaging Alliance
Sponsor name(s): 
American Forest & Paper Association
Sponsor name(s): 
Fibre Box Association
Sponsor name(s): 
Association of Independent Corrugated Converters
Practitioner(s): 
Five Winds International
Practitioner(s): 
PE-Americas
Summary
Functional unit: 
1 kg of U.S. average corrugated product
Goal and scope of the summary: 
The goal of this study was to conduct an LCA for a U.S. industry-average corrugated product to: • Better understand the environmental performance of an average corrugated product related to all life-cycle stages, • Benchmark and demonstrate the environmental sustainability performance of corrugated products as packaging material, and • Respond to customer and public demands for environmental information The scope of this study was developing a “cradle-to-cradle” LCA of the 2006 U.S. industry-average corrugated product. The average basis weight of the U.S. industry mix1 is 138.6 lb/thousand square feet(msf).
The following conclusions may reasonably be made based on the results of this study:

• Paper mills drive the life-cycle profiles — For all impact categories, material and energy flows from paper mills dominate the results. Environmental impacts are dominated by energy demands at the mill. Bio-based energy (e.g., hog-fuel, liquor, etc.) substantially reduces GWP contribution from mills, but does not eliminate mills’ GWP contribution due to the use of fossil fuels. Energy sourcing is a management option open to mil operators that can have a substantial effect on the environmental impacts. Increased use of bio-based energy sources will further reduce the overall use of fossil energy and GWP impacts from mills, although there are numerous factors that must be considered in the energy-sourcing decisions (e.g., availability and price).

• Transportation of final product does not define profile — Long-distance transportation scenarios (based on national averages) were modeled yet still represented a minor influence on overall lifecycle impacts for all impact categories.

• EoL is only important with respect to GWP — EoL as modeled (based on 2006 industry average) demonstrates that it is only important in relation to GWP. Other life-cycle impact indicators show little or no response from the EoL stage. The EoL effect on GWP is mainly related to methane generated but not captured from landfill operations. The sensitivity analysis on different EoL management scenarios clearly shows that increasing recovery, increasing efforts to capture methane, or increasing the percentage of disposed corrugated materials that are incinerated for energy recovery have the potential to improve overall environmental performance.

Material impact(s): 
Acidification
Eutrophication
Smog
Raw material impact level: 
Medium
Manufacturing impact(s): 
Acidification
Global warming
Eutrophication
Smog
Manufacturing impact level: 
High
Shipping impact(s): 
Acidification
Smog
Shipping impact level: 
Low
End of life impact(s): 
Global warming
End of life impact level: 
Medium


Who's new

  • lilaluna
  • jaimieknor
  • marinahathaway596
  • StephenTip
  • jaderodriq