Industrial hemp or eucalyptus paper?
- 1k Downloads
Background, aim, and scope
Pulp and paper production is one of the most important Portuguese economic activities. Mostly based on eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), nearly 70% of the pulp produced is exported, mainly to the European Union. The aim of this paper is to compare the environmental impacts of the production of Portuguese printing and writing paper based on eucalyptus with those from the production of paper from industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa).
Materials and methods
We have used a life cycle assessment approach to compare both types of paper. The functional unit used was a ton of white printing and writing paper. Data was mostly derived from the Portuguese literature for eucalyptus and from scientific literature for hemp. The impact categories/indicators taken into account were global warming, photochemical oxidant formation (summer smog), acidification, eutrophication, and direct land use.
Results and discussion
Industrial hemp presents higher environmental impacts than eucalyptus paper in all environmental categories analyzed. The main differences are in the crop and the pulp production stages. This is because hemp makes use of higher number of mechanical operations and larger amounts of fertilizer in the former and larger amounts of chemical additives in the latter.
There is scope for improving industrial hemp paper production. We present some suggestions on how to reduce some of the environmental impacts identified for hemp, so that the pulp and paper industry can continue its progress towards a more environmentally friendly paper production.
Recommendations and perspectives
New studies could be based on the alternatives presented throughout the paper for improving hemp paper. Further studies should incorporate analyses on water consumption, soil erosion, soil nutrient depletion, and impacts on biodiversity.
KeywordsCannabis sativa Eucalyptus globulus Eucalyptus Hemp LCA Portugal Pulp and paper
This research has been funded by FCT, under the grant “General Theory of Sustainability and Application to Agriculture,” POCTI/MGS/47731/2002.
- Alves AM, Pereira JS, Silva JMN (2007) A Introdução e a Expansão do Eucalipto em Portugal. In: Alves AM, Pereira JS, Silva JMN (eds) O Eucaliptal em Portugal. Impactes Ambientais e Investigação Científica. ISA Press, Lisbon, pp 13–24Google Scholar
- Antunes P, Santos R, Martinho S, Lobo G (2003) Estudo sobre Sector Eléctrico e Ambiente. Relatório Síntese. Eco-Man, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, LisbonGoogle Scholar
- CELPA (2008) Boletim Estatístico 2007. CELPA, LisbonGoogle Scholar
- Cherrett N, Barrett J, Clemett A, Chadwick M, Chadwick MJ (2005) Ecological footprint and water analysis of cotton, hemp and polyester. Stockholm Environment Institute, YorkGoogle Scholar
- Cortez N, Madeira M (2000) Assessment of nutrient cycling in a Eucalyptus globulus plantation as related to soil fertility management. Vila RealGoogle Scholar
- Crutzen PJ, Mosier AR, Smith KA, Winiwarter W (2008) N2O release from agro-biofuel production negates global warming reduction by replacing fossil fuels. Atmos Chem Phys Discuss 8:389–395Google Scholar
- Dias AC, Lopes E, Arroja L, Capela I, Pereira F (2002) Life cycle assessment of paper production from Eucalyptus globulus—case study of the Portuguese industry. Appita J 55:21–26Google Scholar
- ESU-ETHZ (1994) Okoinventare fur Energiesysteme. ETH ZurichGoogle Scholar
- Fabião A, Carneiro M, Lousã M, Madeira M (2007) Os Impactes do Eucalyptal na Biodiversidade da Vegetação sob Coberto. In: Alves AM, Pereira JS, Silva JMN (eds) O Eucaliptal em Portugal. Impactes Ambientais e Investigação Científica. ISA Press, Lisbon, pp 177–206Google Scholar
- Hauschild M, Wenzel H (1998) Environmental assessment of products. Volume 2: scientific background. Chapman & Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Heijungs R, Guinée JB, Huppes G, Lankreijer RM, Udo de Haes HA, Wegener Sleeswij KA, Ansems AMM, Eggels PG, van Duin R, de Goede HP (1992) Environmental life cycle assessment of products. guide and backgrounds. CML, Leiden University, LeidenGoogle Scholar
- Henriques JR, Carneiro JB (2001) Custo de Execução das Principais Tarefas Agrícolas (mão-de-obra e máquinas). IHERA - Instituto de Hidráulica, Engenharia Rural e Ambiente, LisboaGoogle Scholar
- IDEMAT (1996) IDEMAT database. Delft University of Technology, Industrial Design EngineeringGoogle Scholar
- IPCC (2001) Climate change 2001: the scientific basis. Contribution of working group I to the third assessment of the IPCC. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- IPPC (2001) Reference document on best available techniques in the pulp and paper industry. European Commission and Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC). http://Eippcb.jrc.es/pages/Fmembers.htm. Accessed: July 2002
- Jones HE, Madeira M, Herraez LDJ, Fabião A, González-Rio F, Fernandez Marcos M, Gomez C, Tomé M, Feith H, Magalhães MC, Howson G (1999) The effect of organic-matter management on the productivity of Eucalyptus globulus stands in Spain and Portugal: tree growth and harvest residue decomposition in relation to site and treatment. For Ecol Manag 122:73–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Lindfors LG, Christiansen K, Hoffman L, Virtanen Y, Juntilla V, Hanssen O-J, Rønning A, Ekvall T, Finnveden G (1995) Nordic guidelines on life-cycle assessment. Nord 1995:20. Nordic Council of Ministers, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
- PRé Consultants (1996) BUWAL 250 database. PRé Consultants, BernGoogle Scholar
- Soares P, Tomé M, Pereira JS (2007) A productividade do eucaliptal. In: Alves AM, Pereira JS, Silva JMN (eds) O Eucaliptal em Portugal. Impactes Ambientais e Investigação Científica. ISA Press, Lisbon, pp 27–59Google Scholar
- Stevenson FJ, Cole MA (1999) Cycles of soil. Carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulphur, micronutrients. John Wiley and Sons, Inc, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Stirling A, Mayer S (2000) Precautionary approaches to the appraisal of risk: a case study of a genetically modified crop. Int J Occup Health 6:342–356Google Scholar
- StoraEnso (2002) Environment and resources 2001. StoraEnso, HelsinkiGoogle Scholar
- Tomé M, Ribeiro F, Soares P (2001) O modelo Globulus 2.1. Relatórios Técnico-cientificos do GIMREF. Insituto Superior de Agronomia, Departamento de Engenharia Florestal, LisbonGoogle Scholar