LCA of a Paper self-adhesive Label - LCA of a Paper self-adhesive Label. The outcomes from the case studies have been used as input to develop this harmonized LCA approach for labelling products.

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1 Date: 13 May 2016 Version: 2.0 Commissioned by: Mark Macar, FINAT Ingrid Brase, TLMI Calvin Frost FINAT & TLMI Prepared by: PR Consultants bv Main authors: Anne Gaasbeek Marisa Vieira Jori Coustillas LCA of a Paper self-adhesive Label FINAT & TLMI Case Study PR Consultants bv i This report has been prepared by PR Consultants bv. PR Consultants puts the metrics behind sustainability, and provides decision makers with the tools, knowledge and network to make products and services more sustainable. For more than twenty years PR Consultants has been at the forefront of Life Cycle thinking and has built on its knowledge and experience in sustainability metrics and impact assessments to provide state of the art methods, consultancy and software tools. Internationally, leading organizations work with PR Consultants to integrate sustainability into their product development procedures in order to create business growth and business value. PR Consultants has offices in the United States and the Netherlands plus a global partner network to support large international or multi-client projects. This report has been prepared by the Dutch office of PR Consultants. Please direct all questions regarding this report to PR Consultants bv. PR Consultants bv Stationsplein 121 3818 LE Amersfoort The Netherlands www.pre-sustainability.com http://www.pre-sustainability.com/PR Consultants bv ii List of Abbreviations Abbreviation Climate change CC Ozone depletion OD Terrestrial acidification TA Freshwater eutrophication FE Marine eutrophication ME Human toxicity HTox Photochemical oxidant formation POF Particulate matter formation PMF Terrestrial ecotoxicity TTox Freshwater ecotoxicity FTox Marine ecotoxicity MTox Ionising radiation IR Agricultural land occupation ALO Urban land occupation ULO Natural land transformation NLT Water depletion WD Metal depletion MD Fossil depletion FD PR Consultants bv iii Table of Contents 1 Introduction ............................................................................... 1 2 Goal ........................................................................................... 1 3 Scope ......................................................................................... 1 3.1 PRODUCT .............................................................................................................. 1 3.2 FUNCTIONAL UNIT ................................................................................................... 1 3.3 SYSTEM BOUNDARIES............................................................................................... 2 3.4 CUT-OFF CRITERIA ................................................................................................... 2 3.5 IMPACT ASSESSMENT METHOD .................................................................................. 2 4 Modelling ................................................................................... 3 4.1 ASSUMPTIONS ........................................................................................................ 3 4.2 DATA COLLECTION & MODELLING ............................................................................... 4 5 Results ....................................................................................... 5 5.1 RECYCLING AND REDUCTION OF MATRIX AND LINER WASTE .............................................. 6 5.2 CONTRIBUTION ANALYSIS PER LIFE CYCLE STAGE ............................................................ 7 6 Sensitivity analysis ..................................................................... 9 6.1 PAPER TYPE FOR FACE MATERIAL ................................................................................ 9 6.2 PAPER TYPE FOR LINER MATERIAL ............................................................................... 9 6.3 ENERGY USE AT APPLICATION .................................................................................... 9 6.4 END OF LIFE DESTINATION FOR LINER WASTE .............................................................. 10 6.5 LIMITATIONS ........................................................................................................ 10 6.5.1 Printing ink ............................................................................................. 10 6.5.2 Transports after application at brand owner ........................................ 10 7 Conclusions & Recommendations ............................................ 11 7.1 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE HARMONIZED SECTOR APPROACH .................................... 12 7.1.1 Used End of Life Approach ..................................................................... 12 7.1.2 Functional unit ....................................................................................... 12 7.1.3 Data collection and data sources ........................................................... 13 PR Consultants bv 1 Disclaimer This report cannot be used for product or material comparisons. The goal of this report is to serve as input for the harmonized sector approach for labelling industry and is not suited to gain insight in product or material performance. Separately conducted LCA studies of products or services can never be compared, as there is no assurance that studies have been conducted similarly. Only LCAs which have been set-up as comparative LCAs can be used for performance comparison. This report is based on data from the case study participant and general information from literature and databases. Application of the information is strictly at the discretion and the responsibility of the reader. PR Consultants, FINAT and TMLI are not liable for any loss or damage arising from the use of the information in this document. 1 Introduction The world-wide association for manufacturers of self-adhesive labels and related products and services (FINAT) and the premier association for the label and package printing industry (TLMI) want to provide their members with an LCA guidance document for the industry in order to ensure one harmonised approach for conducting LCA studies on self-adhesive label products. As part of this work two case studies have been conducted namely a LCA of a polypropylene self-adhesive label and a LCA of a Paper self-adhesive Label. The outcomes from the case studies have been used as input to develop this harmonized LCA approach for labelling products. This current report describes a case study LCA of a paper self-adhesive label. This LCA will provide a good insight into the appropriate scope and system boundaries to be considered, an identification of the relevant life cycle stages, processes and impact categories, and an awareness of the implications of choices and limitations. 2 Goal In close collaboration with the label material manufacturer and printer-converter, an LCA case study was performed on the production of a paper self-adhesive labels for a plastic bottle. The goal was to determine the environmental impact of a paper self-adhesive labels and to identify the environmental hotspots in the life cycle. Additionally, the insights of this case study are used for the development of a harmonized approach for the labeling sector. On basis of this study a one-pager showing with the most relevant insights has been created. This one-pager may be used for external communication. 3 Scope 3.1 Product The product under study is a self-adhesive paper label for a PET bottle. The label is made of a wood free face material, with a clear permanent acrylic adhesive on a paper uncoated liner. The label is die-cut and stripped at high speeds on standard web-fed presses with either flatbed or rotary dies. The labels are flexo-printed using UV printing inks and a direct or rotary relief printing process with elastic, raised print forms or plates which are attached to a plate cylinder. 3.2 Functional unit The functional unit describes qualitatively and quantitatively the function(s) or the service(s) provided by the product analysed. The functional unit is used to define what the LCA is measuring, and provides a reference to which the inputs and outputs can be related. In this case, the functional PR Consultants bv 2 unit of the product under study was defined as 1m2 of ready-made label, applied at the brand owner. 3.3 System boundaries The scope of the study is cradle to grave. This means that all activities throughout the life cycle of each panel will be included in the assessment, that is: the production stage, use (i.e. application onto the bottle), and waste processing for recycling and disposal. A simplified flow chart of the life cycle is shown in Figure 1. Figure 1. A simplified flow chart of the life cycle of the printed label. 3.4 Cut-off criteria All processes were included in the LCA, so no cut-off criteria were used. The only distinction is that specific data is used for foreground processes and generic data is used for background processes. 3.5 Impact assessment method The Impact Assessment Method (IAM) is used is the ReCiPe1 Endpoint (H) method (H stands for a Hierarchist perspective, which is the default version). ReCiPe proposes a feasible implementation of a combined midpoint categories (expressed in units of a reference substance) and damage approach, linking all types of LCI results (elementary flows and other interventions) via midpoint categories to four damage categories: human health, ecosystem quality, climate change, and resources. Normalization can be performed either at midpoint or at damage level. Midpoints are used for a more specific and detailed analysis, whereas damage endpoints are useful to communicate the results obtained to broader audience. The predefined (mathematical) weighting of the different midpoint score within the ReCiPe assessment method allow us to come to a single score. 1 Goedkoop, M., Heijungs, R., Huijbregts, M., De Schryver, A., Struijs, J., & Van Zelm, R. (2009). ReCiPe 2009. A life cycle impact assessment method which comprises harmonised category indicators at the midpoint and the endpoint level. The Hague, The Netherlands: VROM. PR Consultants bv 3 4 Modelling This chapter describes the main hypotheses and modelling assumptions that were taken when conducting the LCA. Assumptions that could affect the final conclusions, are investigated further with sensitivity analysis in chapter 6. 4.1 Assumptions Assumptions in the lifecycle of the applied label were made following the process chart on Figure 2. Figure 2: Schematic representation of the life cycle of an self-adhesive paper label. The main assumptions for this study are: - Production steps: Materials are delivered from actual suppliers locations. Energy use and production losses are averaged based on the yearly production of each actor. Capital goods, namely tools replacement and facility (with 50 year amortisation assumed), have been taken in account using the same rule. - Transports: All transports distances between processes and stages are actual distances between actors, except for intermediate waste, and before the Use and End-of-life phases, for which transport is not considered. - Intermediate waste: Waste routes are actual routes as declared by actors, except for liner waste at the brand-owner (incineration with energy recovery of the matrix and liner waste is declared as by printer-converter, and we assumed same destination for liner waste at brand owner). Inks & varnish waste at printer-converter facility are considered as hazardous industrial waste and are incinerated as such. For all incineration with recovery and recycling scenarios, closed loop approximation were used: The benefits of recycling materials are allocated to the product that makes material available for recycling. - End-of-life: The label is considered to go to the municipal waste along with the PET bottle it is attached too. PR Consultants bv 4 4.2 Data collection & modelling The second step (Lifecycle inventory and LCA) is a cradle to grave accounting of the environmentally significant inputs and outputs of the system. The inventory involves the compilation and quantification of the inputs (materials and resources) and outputs for the product system throughout its life cycle. The environmental burdens measured in this case study include material input requirements, total energy consumed, air and water emissions released, and total solid waste associated with the products lifecycle. LCI data is normalized with respect to the studys functional unit. For the most important stages specific to the label manufacturer and/or to the printer-converter, primary data has been gathered from the producers, such as products bill of material, transport distances or energy amounts. For secondary data such as production of raw materials, production technologies, transport vehicles etc. the Ecoinvent 3-recycled content database has been used. For a few stages which are not considered of high relevance because they do not depend on the product characteristics, such as distribution or application, generic data from literature and expert consultation were used. The main modelling decisions for this study are: - Transport: All transport was modelled as average European fleet (EURO 4 standard). - Label stock production: Electricity is modelled as medium voltage from the Finish (FI) network. - Printer-Convertor: Energy use is modelled as medium voltage from the German (DE) network. Printing tools such die-cutting tools and printing plates have been included in the assessment. For the printing inks, the Ecoinvent acrylic varnish has been used as a proxy. From the discussion with an ink supplier and the producers, we learnt that this process comes closest to the actual composition of the printing inks used in the labelling sector. - Recycling scenarios: For all recycling scenario, we considered an 80% efficiency (800g of secondary material for each kilogram of waste material entering the recycling process) - Paper recycling: For the recycling scenarios of the matrix and the liner waste, we assumed that the recycling is similar to average paper recycling. PR Consultants bv 5 5 Results Result shows that impact of the label is distributed over a variety of processes, and are centred mainly around the material supply and printing stages, as shown on Figure 3. Figure 3: Life cycle of a paper label Calculated with ReCiPe Endpoint (H) v1.12 with European normalisation factors Production of the raw materials for the label stock production is the main source of impact, followed by electricity needs for the printing press. For the application and printing phase, the liner and matrix waste are assumed to be incinerated with energy-recovery thereby reducing the overall environmental burden of the label, leading to a negative value for the liner and matrix waste. The contribution of the capital goods2 to the overall impact is relatively small (2,6%), the impact mainly originates (1,1 %) from to use of printing tools such as die-cutting tools and printing plates. 2 Capital goods: all goods needed for the production of the label such as factory ,machinery, and printing tools -20%-10%0%10%20%30%40%50%ReCiPe Endpoint (H) V1.12 / World ReCiPe H/Alabelstock supplyLabel stock productionInks supplyPrintingMatrix wasteTransportsLiner wasteApplicationcapital goodsEoLPR Consultants bv 6 5.1 Recycling and reduction of matrix and liner waste Reducing the amount of matrix and liner waste can reduce the overall environmental impact of a paper label. Due to the material losses of matrix and liner waste more inputs are needed to create 1m of ready-made label therefore a reduction of the matrix and liner waste with 20% will reduce the overall environmental impact of a label significantly, as is also illustrated in Figure 4. This reduction of material losses could for example be realised by using thinner liner materials or making the process of cutting the label to size more material efficient. Figure 4: Influence of amount of matrix & liner waste on total impact Calculated with ReCiPe Endpoint (H) v1.12 with European normalisation factors Additionally, we investigated what would happen with overall impact of a label if the matrix and liner waste would get a different end of life destination, namely: incineration without energy recovery, landfill or recycling. For recycling, the average Ecoinvent for paper recycling was taken. Average paper recycling could be more input intensive, since paper from various sources is recycled. To gain a better insight in the benefits of liner recycling the collection of actual recycling data would be recommended. As expected, sending the waste to landfill results in the highest environmental impact. Recycling both waste streams results in a significant reduction of the overall impact, also illustrated in Figure 5. Figure 5 Influence recycling matrix and liner waste 020406080100120baseline setting 20% less matrix & linermPtResourcesEcosystemsHuman Health020406080100120Incinerated withoutERIncinerated with ER Landfill recyclingmPt ResourcesEcosystemsHuman HealthPR Consultants bv 7 Calculated with ReCiPe Endpoint (H) v1.12 with European normalisation factors 5.2 Contribution analysis per life cycle stage The life cycle stages with the highest contribution to the environmental impacts were identified using characterised midpoint results from ReCiPe. Results are displayed in Figure 4. Figure 6: Characterized midpoint results for a paper label Calculated with ReCiPe midpoint(H) v1.12 Materials supply: The material for the label production and their pre-processing is the main contributor to the characterized midpoint results, for most impact categories, and particularly for the categories: agricultural land occupation (90%), particular matter formation, Terrestrial ecotoxicity, and Terrestrial acidification (>50%). The impact on agricultural land occupation is related to the land use for paper production. Label material Manufacturing: The environmental impact of manufacturing relates to the use of electricity to process the raw materials is apparent in the relatively high contribution in the impact category ionising radiation (36%). Manufacturing is the main contributor, as well, for the impact category metal depletion (44%). Metal depletion is related to the steel used in the factory and machinery, and emissions from the factory. This is probably overestimated, but does not affect the overall result, since these has relatively low weighting factor. Inks supplies: This covers both the manufacturing of inks and varnishes used at the printer-converter. It has a relatively low contribution to all impact categories (0-5%), except for fresh water eutrophication where it reaches 14%. For all indicators, the origin of impacts comes from the ingredients of the inks. 0102030405060708090100ApplicationInks supplyEnd of LifePrintingManufacturing labelTransportMaterial SupplyPR Consultants bv 8 Printer-Converter: The use phase is quite an important contributor for the characterized midpoint results. Printing is the main contributor for the impact categories climate change (36%), Human ecotoxicity (49%), Freshwater eutrophication (60%), mainly due to the electricity input needed at this stage, but also because of losses of material such as cutting to size and matrix waste. Transport: All transports directly under the control of the label material manufacturer and the printer-converter are grouped in this category. That is: all transports happening directly before or after the label material manufacture and printing. This life cycle phase contributes relatively little to the overall environmental impact. This can be explained by the fact that the case-study was located in Europe, where the transport distances in general are smaller than in the USA, as well as the fact that in this case the production of label materials as the printing took place in Europe. Application: The contribution of application to the overall environmental impact is the smallest of all life cycle stages. This can be explained by the fact that the electricity needed to apply the label is relatively small. End of Life: This represents the final discarding of the bottle, with the label attached to it. The impact of end of life is mainly in freshwater & marine ecotoxicity, because of emissions to water in landfills. Again, weighting factor is low for these two indicators, and they do not influence the overall score. PR Consultants bv 9 6 Sensitivity analysis Given the result found at Chapter 5, it is important to test the robustness of some of the assumptions made in Chapter 4. 6.1 Paper type for face material Production of face material accounts for a large share of the overall impact, but no data is available in Ecoinvent for the actual material under study. Proxies were used, that we consider as close as possible from the modelled material. In the case study we used paper wood free, coated as proxy input for the face material. To test this proxy, we compared it to the proxies: paper wood free, uncoated and paper wood containing, super calendered. This comparison did not show significant difference in the result. 6.2 Paper type for liner material Production of liner material accounts for a large share of the overall impact, but no data is available in Ecoinvent for the actual material under study. Proxies were used, that we consider as close as possible from the modelled material. In the case study we used paper wood containing, super calendered as proxy input for the liner material. To test this proxy, we compared it to the proxies: paper wood free, uncoated and paper wood free, coated. This comparison did not show significant difference in the result. 6.3 Energy use at application The energy use to apply the self-adhesive label to the PET bottle is based on estimations from label application machine manufactures. For this case study, we assumed 0,0014 kWh per m to apply the label We assumed that the machine could process 72.000 bottles an hour. This assumes a large production facility at the brand owner. Smaller brand owners will probably process less bottles per hour, therefore we conducted a sensitivity to assess what happens to the impact of an paper label if the numbers of bottles per hour is respectively 62.000 or 52.000. The sensitivity shows that changing the amount of bottles processed per hour does not have an impact on the overall results. The energy use at application is too small to have a significant impact on the overall impact of a label. PR Consultants bv 10 6.4 End of Life destination for Liner waste For the case study we assumed that the liner waste was incinerated with energy recovery, since this also what is happening with the matrix waste at the printer-converter. This is of course an assumption, therefore we have tested what happens with the total environmental impact of the label if another waste destination is chosen, namely: incineration without energy recovery, landfill or recycling. Figure 7 shows the values for the single score of the total impact of the label depending on the assumed waste destination for the liner waste. Figure 7: LCA of a paper label- impact of waste destinations for liner material As expected, the score is higher for scenarios other than recycling. As mentioned before for recycling, the average Ecoinvent for paper recycling was taken. 6.5 Limitations With two assumptions it was not possible to conduct a sensitivity analysis, because of lack of data in the Ecoinvent database, or because the span of possible scenario is not in the controlled scope of the labelling industry. We will now discuss these two assumptions in further detail and how we think these could influence the final results. 6.5.1 Printing ink No data corresponding to the actual type of inks used was available in the Ecoinvent database. Following advice from an ink supplier, we selected a varnish as a proxy. A comparison of this Ecoinvent dataset with thecarbon footprint of an ink from the same supplier has shown very similar results. Thus, we assume that the choice of a varnish dataset instead of the actual ink does not have a significant impact on the conclusion drawn earlier 6.5.2 Transports after application at brand owner PET bottles on which the label is been applied are sent to retailers across the whole of Europe. Since we have had no direct contact with the brand owner, data is missing to take into account the transports from brand owner to retailers, from retailers to final customers and from customers to end-of-life destination once the bottles are discarded. The label industry has very little control over whats happening at this stage. Although this data is missing it is not expected that it would have a significant impact on the overall conclusion. 020406080100120Inceneratedwithout ERIncenerated withERLandfill RecycledmPt ResourcesEcosystemsHuman HealthPR Consultants bv 11 7 Conclusions & Recommendations The main environmental impact of a self-adhesive ready-made paper label, which was manufactured, printed and applied to a PET bottle in Europe has been assessed in this study. From the results of this study, we can conclude the following: The impact of the paper label divided over the various life cycles stages. The label stock supply (~42%) is the main contributor to the overall environmental impact, followed by the printing (~25%) and the label stock production (~16%). Transport (~7%), inks supply (3%), and End of Life(~2%), have a relatively low contribution to the overall environmental impact of a paper label. The results are relatively robust as they are little sensitive to most assumptions. However, the waste destination of the liner material can influence the results significantly. The waste destination was now chosen based on the approach taken at the printer-converter. Further substantiation, if this is the selected approach, would be recommended. Production losses, such as matrix waste and cutting losses, are an important contributor to the overall environmental impact and should be accounted for carefully. Reducing the amount of production losses, or recycling the production losses, has a great potential to reduce the overall environmental impact of a paper label. It would be recommended to gain additional data on: - The composition and the production of the raw materials for the label stock production. Proxys were now used for the liner and face material. Since material supply is the biggest environmental hotspot it would be recommended collect more specific data in this area. - The printing inks. Further data on the printing inks would improve the robustness of the study since they have a non-negligible effect on the overall score. - In the case-study there was no direct contact with the brand-owner, therefore everything that happens at brand-owner level is based on assumptions. More actual information on what happens at brand-owner level, especially concerning the liner waste and energy use, would increase the robustness of the study PR Consultants bv 12 7.1 Recommendations for the harmonized sector approach From both case-studies( LCA of a Paper self-adhesive Label and LCA of a polypropylene self-adhesive label) we learnt that there are certain areas which need to be defined more clearly in the harmonized sector approach, or where further discussion is needed. 7.1.1 Used End of Life Approach For this case study the closed loop approach was used. This approach can make a significant difference to the overall score, and therefore we would advise to have more detailed discussion on what approach the labelling industry wants to recommend in their guidelines. The Closed-loop approach assumes that flows entering the secondary market are used to replace virgin flows with the same inherent properties. In practical, this means that the impacts of recycled material or recovered energy are taken out of the overall score. Another more commonly used approach in LCA, is the recycled content cut-off approach. This approach considers that environmental benefits and burdens of the recycling processes are attributed to the product that uses the recycled material. As a consequence, the product that provides the material for recycling is not allocated any benefits or burdens for recycling processes. When using the closed loop approach, one needs to be very aware of double-counting. If the labelling industry uses the closed loop approximation and the organisations which uses the recycled materials uses the recycled content cut-off approach, double counting will take place. 7.1.2 Functional unit The basis of an LCA study is the functional unit. During the case study we learnt that the used functional unit of 1m of ready-made label was interpreted differently by the various stakeholders. Most case study participants interpreted the functional unit as 1m of product coming out their own gate, while the aim was to gather on the inputs needed to produce 1m ready-made label applied on package. After some discussion, it became clear that, in the labelling sector, it is not always known by the label stock manufacturers what kind of labels the label stock material are used for. Therefore, two functional units are proposed, one for cradle to gate and one for cradle to grave assessments. The functional unit for cradle to gate is as follows: 1m of ready-made self-adhesive label stock material leaving gate at the label stock manufacturer The functional unit for cradle to grave is as follows: 1m ready-made printed label on package PR Consultants bv 13 7.1.3 Data collection and data sources Different approaches on how data is collected can have a significant impact on the overall results. This became clear especially for the accounted electricity inputs. The participants used different approaches to account for their electricity use, some participants accounting only for electricity use of the machines, while others taking into account the electricity use of their entire factory. We would advise, as recommended approach in the harmonized sector approach, to consider the electricity spent for the whole factory, weighted by the functional unit (i.e. kWh/m of printed face material coming out of the printing facility) and communicate clearly when the approach of electricity use of the machines is chosen, which can be a preferred approach to compare the efficiency of different production lines. For liner waste, application and end-of-life, very little data was available, and it was shown that liner waste scenario can have an important contribution to the overall environmental impact. We would therefore advise to take up in the harmonized approach default scenarios for waste routes and energy use at application.

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