LCA evaluation of packaging re-use: the steel drums case study

  • Laura BiganzoliEmail author
  • Lucia Rigamonti
  • Mario Grosso
SPECIAL FEATURE: ORIGINAL ARTICLE The 4th International Conference on Final Sinks (4th ICFS 2017)


Re-use of packaging items plays a key role in the achievement of sustainable management of the resources. The aim of this study is to assess the environmental impacts associated with the life cycle of steel drums used for carrying chemical and petrochemical products as a function of the number of uses (the so-called “rotations”), by means of the life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. The results show that the impacts of the life cycle of the steel drums mainly come from their manufacturing, whereas the reconditioning process accounts for less than 20% of the overall impacts. Moreover, a system where the drums are reconditioned and re-used has better environmental performance than a system where the same drums are used only once and then sent to recycling. The advantages of such a system increase with the number of rotations. For example, in case just two rotations take place, the environmental impacts of a system based on re-use are on average about 74% of those of a single-use system, and drop to 53% if the number of uses increases to 10. The behavior of the drums users is thus very important to prevent excessive damage that will make reconditioning impossible.


Re-use Steel drums LCA Circular economy Italy 

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 2768 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Biganzoli
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lucia Rigamonti
    • 1
  • Mario Grosso
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringPolitecnico di MilanoMilanoItaly

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