Agri-food sector highly contributes to the consumption of water and energy resources and presents significant environmental impacts that can be comprehensively evaluated through a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). This paper investigates the environmental sustainability of a set of legumes (i.e. peas, beans and chickpeas) manufactured in Italy by a Group representing one of largest agri-food European companies, thus allowing to drive eco-design measures for the product–package system. Such products are packaged in glass bottles or in steel tin cans and sold as singles or in multipacks. A deep process analysis was performed through a LCA approach in order to identify environmental hot-spots in the whole life-cycle. The results are expressed through a set of impact categories, which can be read also as stand-alone indicators, identified in order to pave the way for water–energy–food nexus quantification: global warming potential, non-renewable cumulative energy demand, water scarcity index and toxicity potentials. Direct inventory data were collected from the involved farms and the production plants along the whole supply chain. Packaging production and crop cultivation have proven to be the most relevant subsystems for all the studied products and impact categories. In particular, the production of packaging is the major hot-spot accounting for over 70% of the total global impacts, for all the legumes under study. Only the water use impact category presents a peculiar pattern depending on the examined product. On the basis of these findings, different packaging options were compared according to eco-design principles by means of LCA methodology. Change of material, various format options and different recycling rates were investigated to quantify the relevant achievable benefits. Moreover, the variation of crop yields and fertilizers rates was studied to assess the importance of these parameters in the whole life-cycle.

Life Cycle Assessment for eco-design of product-package systems in the food industry€ - The case of legumes

Del Borghi, A.;Strazza, C.;Magrassi, F.;Taramasso, A. C.;Gallo, M.
2018-01-01

Abstract

Agri-food sector highly contributes to the consumption of water and energy resources and presents significant environmental impacts that can be comprehensively evaluated through a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). This paper investigates the environmental sustainability of a set of legumes (i.e. peas, beans and chickpeas) manufactured in Italy by a Group representing one of largest agri-food European companies, thus allowing to drive eco-design measures for the product–package system. Such products are packaged in glass bottles or in steel tin cans and sold as singles or in multipacks. A deep process analysis was performed through a LCA approach in order to identify environmental hot-spots in the whole life-cycle. The results are expressed through a set of impact categories, which can be read also as stand-alone indicators, identified in order to pave the way for water–energy–food nexus quantification: global warming potential, non-renewable cumulative energy demand, water scarcity index and toxicity potentials. Direct inventory data were collected from the involved farms and the production plants along the whole supply chain. Packaging production and crop cultivation have proven to be the most relevant subsystems for all the studied products and impact categories. In particular, the production of packaging is the major hot-spot accounting for over 70% of the total global impacts, for all the legumes under study. Only the water use impact category presents a peculiar pattern depending on the examined product. On the basis of these findings, different packaging options were compared according to eco-design principles by means of LCA methodology. Change of material, various format options and different recycling rates were investigated to quantify the relevant achievable benefits. Moreover, the variation of crop yields and fertilizers rates was studied to assess the importance of these parameters in the whole life-cycle.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/888996
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