Environmental impact assessment of the waste management in a countertop production based on LCA approach
Keywords:circular economy, furniture, life cycle assessment, recycling
Introduction: Consumerism has led to an increase in environmental problems, and for this reason, sustainable solutions must be the priority when designing new products or services. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is one of the most important analytical tools available for choosing the best decision when it comes to sustainability.
Objective: The focus of this study was to apply an LCA to the management of wastes from a kitchen/bathroom countertop production. The waste management scenarios studied were landfill (current practice) and waste recycling. The panel consists of a ceramic layer on a lamellar panel substrate, formed by glassliner and PVC, which is intended to be resistant to water, scratches and impacts. The residues generated from the panel production are glassliner and PVC plastics and ceramics.
Methods: The LCA methodology was followed and the EPD 2018 method available in the SimaPro software was chosen to quantify the environmental impacts of waste management. The environmental impact categories studied were eutrophication, global warming, photochemical oxidation, ozone layer depletion, abiotic depletion and acidification.
Results: The results showed that the two plastic wastes are the main contributors to acidification, eutrophication and global warming. However, for photochemical oxidation and water scarcity, the ceramic component residue is the main contributor. Comparing the two scenarios, waste recycling reduces the impacts in all environmental impact categories, in comparison with landfill.
Conclusion: Recycling the residues from the production of panels brings improvements in environmental impacts in all categories analyzed.
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