Lca And Sustainability With The Case Of Plastics


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this is a presentation that is going to be delivered on a forum (due to confidentiality I can\'t reveal the name of the forum), talking about applying LCA to measure product environmental sustainability and more

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Lca And Sustainability With The Case Of Plastics

  1. 1. Plastics & Sustainability Better to light a candle than curse the darkness ----John F. Kennedy using LCA to measure and improve environmental impacts of plastics The real voyage of discovery consists not in Ecovane Environmental seeking new landscapes Bill Kung but in having new eyes 2010 ---- Marcel Proust 1
  2. 2. Outline Plastics & environment - Why is Plastics on the agenda of Sustainability today? Plastic & LCA: theoretical explanation - why LCA? & what’s LCA? - how can LCA assess the sustainability of plastic? LCA: practical explanation - What has been done? - example of LCA studies, including plastics Suggestion & Solutions 2
  3. 3. What plastics offers, what sustainability demands Eutrophication Ozone Layer Depletion Human Toxicity Eutrophication Acidification Packaging Marine Aquatic Ecotoxicity Electronics Ozone Layer Depletion Abiotic Depletion Human Toxicity Global Warming Acidification Fresh Water Aquatic Ecotoxicity Marine Aquatic Ecotoxicity Terrestrial Ecotoxicity Abiotic Depletion Renewable energy use Global Warming Meet the need of Non-renewable resource use current generation Packaging Fresh Water Aquatic Ecotoxicity transportationOxidation Photochemical but also protect the Non-renewable energy use Construction capability of future Electronics generation to meet Terrestrial Ecotoxicity … Renewable energy use their own needs Non-renewable resource use Photochemical Oxidation transportation Construction Non-renewable energy use … Plastic: any of various complex organic compounds produced by polymerization, capable of being molded, extruded, cast into various shapes and films, or drawn into filaments and then used as textile fibers 3
  4. 4. Plastic & Environment – bad images 4
  5. 5. „ Resistance to chemicals „ Electrical insulation „ Thermal insulation „ Lightweight „ Freedom of design „ Durable „ Energy-efficient „ Recyclable Attention
  6. 6. Plastic & Environment – the argues Type search: ‘plastic is good’, after 0.0001s it shows… 6
  7. 7. Plastic & Environment – the question that matters POLICY Triple bottom line  Make a policy that support real sustainable development?  •Avoid solve one problem by creating another one •Identification and prioritization of problem and opportunities •Systematic, proactive and long term thinking PLASTIC PEOPLE Make plastic with minimum Can’t live w/o plastic environmental impacts   Sustainable consumption Make, use and dispose plastic in a  sustainable way? •Awareness on waste minimization Planet  •Reduction of unnecessary usage, e.g. •Cleaner plastic design over packaging •Greener alternatives •Choose products based on ‘real’ •New environmental innovation sustainability figures instead of •Industrial ecology 7
  8. 8. 1. The Sin of the Hidden Trade-off, which occurs when one environmental issue is emphasized at the expense of potentially more serious concerns. 2. The Sin of No Proof. This happens when environmental assertions are not backed up by evidence or third-party certification. 3. The Sin of Vagueness, which occurs when a marketing claim is so lacking in specifics as to be meaningless. “All-natural” is an example of this sin. 4. The (new) Sin of Worshipping False Labels. This is when marketers create a false suggestion or a certification-like image to mislead consumers into thinking that a product has been through a legitimate green certification process. 5. The Sin of Irrelevance. This sin arises when an environmental issue unrelated to the product is emphasized. One example is the claim that a product is “CFC-free,” since CFCs are banned by law. 6. The Sin of Lesser of Two Evils, which occurs when an environmental claim makes consumers feel “green” about a product category that is itself lacking in environmental benefits. Organic cigarettes are an example of this sin. 7. The Sin of Fibbing. This is when environmental claims are outright false.
  9. 9. LCA, what is it for?
  10. 10. Worse? Or better? – an answer LCA tries to get • Most important ecodesign tool • Helps you set priorities • Enables you to make comparisons and measure improvements • Supports your choices and testify some old ‘wisdom’ • Helps you support and explain your decisions both within the company and to the stakeholders • It’s at the base of major product ecolabels LCA is the new lens toward environmental, economical and social sustainability 10
  11. 11. Why is LCA realistic, holistic and comprehensive? HOLISTIC – REALISTIC – CONPREHENSIVE Food safety Chemical, toxics and heavy metals Climate change Biodiversity and landuse Air pollution desertification Waste management Energy radiation Ozone layer depletion Water Material extraction Emissions Oceans and fisheries Waste Component manufacture Product manufacture Electricity Water Deforestation Product transport Resource use Product use 11 Product disposal
  12. 12. Application of LCA: government GOVERNMENT Framing policies and initiatives, e.g. 1. Advocating Low-carbon society and support green initiatives ‟ Globally 2. Sustainable consumption and production (SCP) ‟ EU initiated 3. Public procurement tool development ‟ Global, including China 4. Circular economy (China), and 3R (Japan) 5. Rules and standard on production, processing and technology ‟ EU, Australia, Japan 6. Life cycle thinking relevant policy making, e.g. IPP (EU), EMAS (EU), EUP (EU), Eco-labeling (Global, including China) , technology evaluation(EU, Australia, Singapore and etc) 12
  13. 13. Application of LCA: private sector PRIVATE SECTOR Product, decision making, market, communication and obligation: • Internal product improvement: de-bottlenecking & green competitive • Strategic decision support for major technology investments (e.g. biofuels) • End-consumer marketing via Ecolables (e.g. EU Flower, Carbon labels), or directly • Environmental reporting, business-to-business information via Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) • LCA required for certain activities, e.g. compulsory LCA reporting for new WW infrastructure and lead acid battery recycling plant (Australia) 13
  14. 14. Application of LCA: examples of LCA studies in Singapore, 2009 (13) • Municipal solid waste options • Conventional and Bio-diesel, including land use GDP, 2009 • Crude oil based and Bio-based plastics 28% Rest 9% • Carbon capture, utilization and sequestration Europe 9% 9% China • Bioenergy from Microalgae Japan 0% In industry 54% Singapore • Alterntive packaging materials for electronic components Source: IMF, 2009 • Sustainability of supply chain for specialty chemicals • Zinc recycling and reuse Source: Dr. Reginald Tan, 2009 14
  15. 15. Application of LCA: Organic cotton – better for environment? Organic cotton has been claimed as an environmental friendly material by some key designers, textile manufacturers, retailers etc. A farm-gate LCA was conducted in XinJiang area to testify whether and how organic cotton shows its outstanding environmental features? result: 15
  16. 16. Application of LCA: single use and reusable cups Question: For serving 1000liter of drinks, How many (X) uses of reusable cups = 1 single use cup ? X= 2, 9, 10, 14… 16
  17. 17. Application of LCA: single use and reusable cups Results - single score: the minimum number of uses of the reusable cup necessary for it to have a smaller environmental impact than the single-use cup is 10 17
  18. 18. LCA: Identify where in the life cycle an impact should be targeted for reduction „ Considering a piece of garment, from the raw material production, to the production of dyes, the spinning of yarn, knitting and sewing up of the garment and packaging for sale; to the consumer stage and disposal or recycle of the garment, they all impose a burden to environment, but which stage, has the highest environmental impact and should thus be targeted for reduction? 18
  19. 19. LCA: Scientifically testify some “old wisdom” “Natural” equals “more environmentally friendly”? Yes and No LCA key indicators for end products 19 Source: M. Patel et. al., Utrecht University
  20. 20. LCA – paper vs. plastic bags Life cycle Energy and Air Emissions 20
  21. 21. Careful in comparison– glass vs. aluminum vs. PET April 2010, PET Resin Association PETRA + Franklin Associates PET > Al can and Glass bottle with Less energy, less solid waste and much less GHG April 2010, European Glass Container Federation, Fabrice Rivet “comparative studies are dependent upon such a huge number of assumptions, that it is difficult to compare like with like and come to fair conclusions - to say the least”. May 2010, Owens-Illinois, Inc “cradle to cradle” LCA Considering Carbon emission (CO2) Sounds right, but…2% Anyway, it is a beer bottle recycling rate of PET? study, not a comprehensive What about the benefit Pet, Glass and Aluminum of extra PET recycled? comparison 21
  22. 22. Avoiding pitfalls of LCA LCA: You Are What You Eat „ Assumptions are un-avoidable in LCA study (e.g. recycling rate, transportation distance, end of life waste treatment); „Choice of functional unit, system boundary, allocation rules; „ Data representativeness, uncertainties and sensitivities; Review what is in your LCA before your draw important conclusions like “product A is better than product B”; Since A little knowledge (on LCA and the context) is a dangerous thing Besides, don’t forget LCA is much more than comparing products! 22
  23. 23. LCA: Management & Suggestion LCA Development 1. China LCI database 2. China LCA impact assessment methodology 3. Streamlined LCA tool for various industry and applications 4. Expand LCA application, from policy making to industrial research, from central government to local government 5. Certification and pilot qualification Business Interaction Capacity building 1. Life cycling thinking & 1. Formal LCA education in management University / academics 2. Interaction and cooperation 2. Informal LCA training / 3. Join the funding/working for certification and accreditation of industrial and cross-boundary LCA LCA practitioners study 3. Global LCA interaction 4. Knowledge sharing and 4. Found a China LCA center e.g. experience exchanging steering committee from 5. Quick LCA tools and improve government, academic, business 6. Ask the right question to get the association, LCA consultants for 23 right answer with LCA cross-boundary study
  24. 24. Thank You! Any comments pls contact: Bill Kung Email: +86-21-34635036 Energy and Product sustainability: 24