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Ecodesign of PVC packing tape using life cycle assessment

Abstract

Purpose

Polymer materials play an important role in the improvement and quality of life. However, due to their persistence in the environment, polymer materials may be harmful to the ecosystems. According to the European Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste, management of these wastes should include prevention of their generation as a priority. The main motivation for employing ecodesign of a product is to reduce both raw material consumption and waste generation through a good initial design.

Methods

In this study, life cycle assessment (LCA) was applied to the design of printed PVC plastic packing tape in order to reduce its environmental impact. LCA software GaBi4.4® was used to determine the PVC packing tape life cycle stage with the highest environmental impacts.

Results and discussion

LCA results showed that PVC film manufacture was the stage with the highest impact. It was therefore reasonable to assume that packing tape manufactured with material other than PVC could have reduced environmental impact, and LCA was used to evaluate this hypothesis. When using Kraft paper or polypropylene plastic packing tape, the weighted impacts were reduced by 36.3 and 39.9 %, respectively.

Conclusions

PVC plastic packing tape has been redesigned with the aim of reducing waste and raw material consumption. LCA results showed that a suitable option for reducing life cycle environmental impact is to use alternative film materials. Kraft paper and polypropylene plastic packing tape were found to give lower values of almost all environmental impact indexes and normalized and weighted impacts.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to acknowledge Valsay Packaging Systems (Tafalla, Navarre, Spain) for the help and data provided. Software and databases for Life Cycle Engineering, PE INTERNATIONAL GmbH and LBP University of Stuttgart, January 2007.

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Correspondence to Alberto Navajas.

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Responsible editor: Roland Hischier

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Navajas, A., Bernarte, A., Arzamendi, G. et al. Ecodesign of PVC packing tape using life cycle assessment. Int J Life Cycle Assess 19, 218–230 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-013-0621-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-013-0621-1

Keywords

  • Ecodesign
  • Kraft paper
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Packing tape
  • Polypropylene
  • PVC