Skip to main content

Ecodesign of PVC packing tape using life cycle assessment



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.


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.


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.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9


  • Afrane G, Ntiamoah A (2011) Use of pesticides in the cocoa industry and their impact on the environment and the food chain. In: Stoytcheva M (ed) Pesticides in the modern world—risks and benefits. InTech, Rijeka

    Google Scholar 

  • Amienyo D, Gujba H, Stichnothe H, Azapagic A (2013) Life cycle environmental impacts of carbonated soft drinks. Int J Life Cycle Assess 18(1):77–92

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Andrae ASG, Andersen O (2010) Life cycle assessments of consumer electronics—are they consistent? Int J Life Cycle Assess 15(8):827–836

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • ARGUS (2000) The behaviour of PVC in Landfill European Commission DGXI.E.3, EU

  • ASTM (2011) ASTM D1974/D1974M 10 Standard practice for methods of closing, sealing, and reinforcing fiberboard boxes. Accessed 1 Jun 2011

  • Blumenthal K (2011) Generation and treatment of municipal waste. European Commission, Eurostat, EU

  • BUWAL (2000) Dokumentationsdienst Schriftenreihe Umwelt Nr.250, Ökoinventare für Verpackungen Bundesamt für Umwelt, Wald und Landschaft (BUWAL) CH-3003 Bern. Accessed 4 Sept 2000

  • Carroll WF, Berger TC, Borrelli FE, Garrity PJ, Jacobs RA, Ledvina J, Lewis JW, McCreedy RL, Smith TP, Tuhovak DR, Weston AF (2001) Characterization of emissions of dioxins and furans from ethylene dichloride, vinyl chloride monomer and polyvinyl chloride facilities in the United States. Consolidated report. Chemosphere 43(4–7):689–700

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Carter WPL (1998) Summary of status of VOC reactivity estimates. University of California, Statewide Air Pollution Research Center and College of Engineering Center for Environmental Research and Technology

  • Daniel JS, Velders GJM (2007) Halocarbon scenarios, ozone depletion potentials, and global warming potentials. Chapter 8 in Scientific assessment of ozone depletion: 2006, vol 50. World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

  • Derwent RG, Jenkin ME, Saunders SM, Pilling MJ (1998) Photochemical ozone creation potentials for organic compounds in northwest Europe calculated with a master chemical mechanism. Atmos Environ 32(14–15):2429–2441

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Directive 94/62/EC (1994). European Parliament and Council Directive 94/62/EC of 20 December 1994 on packaging and packaging waste

  • ENDS (1995) ICI on the defensive over dioxins. ENDS Report 251:3

  • Gabarrell X, Font M, Vicent T, Caminal G, Sarra M, Blanquez P (2012) A comparative life cycle assessment of two treatment technologies for the Grey Lanaset G textile dye: biodegradation by Trametes versicolor and granular activated carbon adsorption. Int J Life Cycle Assess 17(5):613–624

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Guinée JB (2002) Handbook on life cycle assessment. Kluwer, Dordrecht

    Google Scholar 

  • Hans-Jörg A, Doka G, Dones R, Hischier R, Hellweg S, Humbert S, Margni M, Nemecek T, Spielmann M (2004) Implementation of life cycle impact assessment methods. ECOINVENT Center, Swiss Centre for Life Cycle Inventories

  • Hauschild M, Wenzel H (1998) Environmental assessment of products. Volume 2: Scientific background. Chapman & Hall, London

    Google Scholar 

  • Heijungs RJ, Guinée G, Huppes RM, Lankreijer HA, Udo de Haes A, Wegener Sleeswijk AMM, Ansems PG, Eggels R, van Duin HP, de Goede (1992) Environmental life cycle assessment of products. Guide and backgrounds. Centre of Environmental Science (CML), Leiden University

  • Houghton JT, Ding Y, Griggs DJ, Noguer M, van der Linden PJ, Xiaosu D (2001) IPCC third assessment report: climate change 2001: the scientific basis. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  • Huijbregts MAJ (1999a) Priority assessment of toxic substances in LCA. Development and application of the multi-media fate, exposure and effect model USES-LCA. IVAM Environmental Research, University of Amsterdam

  • Huijbregts MAJ, Guinee JB, Reijnders L (2001) Priority assessment of toxic substances in life cycle assessment. III: Export of potential impact over time and space. Chemosphere 44(1):59–65

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Huijbregts MAJ (1999b) Life cycle impact assessment of acidifying and eutrophying air pollutants. Calculation of equivalency factors with RAINS-LCA. Interfaculty Department of Environmental Science, Faculty of Environmental Science, University of Amsterdam

  • Huppes G, van Oers L (2011) Evaluation of weighting methods for measuring the EU-27 overall environmental impact. JRC Scientific and Technical Reports, European Commission. Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, EU

  • IHOBE (2000) Manual on Ecodesign. 7 steps for implementation, Gobierno Vasco, Spain. Accessed 1 May 2001

  • ISO14040:2006 (2006) ISO 14040:2006 Environmental management—life cycle assessment—principles and framework

  • ISO14044:2006 (2006) ISO 14044:2006 environmental management—life cycle assessment—requirements and guidelines

  • Jenkin ME, Hayman GD (1999) Photochemical ozone creation potentials for oxygenated volatile organic compounds: sensitivity to variations in kinetic and mechanistic parameters. Atmos Environ 33(8):1275–1293

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jensen T (1997) Packaging tapes: to recycle or not. Adhesives and Sealants Council. Accessed 1 Jun 1997

  • Luz SM, Caldeira-Pires A, Ferrao PMC (2010) Environmental benefits of substituting talc by sugarcane bagasse fibers as reinforcement in polypropylene composites: ecodesign and LCA as strategy for automotive components. Resour Conserv Recy 54(12):1135–1144

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mersiowsky N (2002) Long-term fate of PVC products and their additives in landfills. Prog Polym Sci 27(10):2227–2277

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mohd Z (2009) Approaches towards sustainability in midstream and downstream rubber industry: life cycle assessment (LCA) and environmental labeling. In: Seminar on Sustainability of Rubber Industry, MICCOS, Malaysia

  • Onusseit H (2000) The recycling of paper and cardboard—challenge of the packaging and packaging waste directive in the EU—will they effect the use of PSA tape? In: AFERA Congress, Cannes

  • Onusseit H (2012) Adhesives and tapes designed to be less detrimental to paper recycling. Accessed 3 Jun 2012

  • Ostermayer A, Giegrich J (2006) Eco-profiles of the European plastics industry polyvinylchloride (PVC) (suspension polymerisation). The European Council of Vinyl Manufacturers (ECVM) & PlasticsEurope, EU

  • PE International (2010) Gabi 4.3 LCA software. Leinfelden-Echterdingen

  • PlasticsEurope (2011) Eco-profiles and environmental declarations. Accessed 1 Jul 2011

  • Putz HJ (1997) Stickies in recycled fibre pulp. In: Recycled fibre and deinking, Chapter 11, vol Book 7. Papermaking Science and Technology. Ed. Göttsching, Helsinki, Finland, pp 458–598

  • Rosenbaum RK, Bachmann TM, Gold LS, Huijbregts MAJ, Jolliet O, Juraske R, Koehler A, Larsen HF, MacLeod M, Margni M, McKone TE, Payet J, Schuhmacher M, van de Meent D, Hauschild MZ (2008) USEtox-the UNEP-SETAC toxicity model: recommended characterisation factors for human toxicity and freshwater ecotoxicity in life cycle impact assessment. Int J Life Cycle Assess 13(7):532–546

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rudnik E (2011) Compostable polymer materials. Elsevier, London

    Google Scholar 

  • Solomon S, Qin D, Manning M, Chen Z, Marquis M, Averyt MK, Tignor M, Miller HL (2007) IPCC, 2007: climate change 2007: the physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment. Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA

  • Stichnothe H, Schuchardt F (2010) Comparison of different treatment options for palm oil production waste on a life cycle basis. Int J Life Cycle Assess 15(9):907–915

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Subic A, Schiavone F, Leary M, Manning J (2010) Comparative life cycle assessment (LCA) of passenger seats and their impact on different vehicle models. Int J Vehicle Des 53(1–2):89–109

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Suwanmanee U, Varabuntoonvit V, Chaiwutthinan P, Tajan M, Mungcharoen T, Leejarkpai T (2013) Life cycle assessment of single use thermoform boxes made from polystyrene (PS), polylactic acid, (PLA), and PLA/starch: cradle to consumer gate. Int J Life Cycle Assess 18(2):401–407

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • van Oers L, de Koning A, Guinée JB, Huppes G (2002) Abiotic resource depletion in LCA: improving characterisation factors for abiotic depletion as recommended in the new Dutch LCA Handbook. Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, the Netherlands, Delft

    Google Scholar 

  • Vezzoli C, Manzini E (2007) Design for environmental sustainability. Springer, London

    Google Scholar 

  • Wernet G, Conradt S, Isenring HP, Jimenez-Gonzalez C, Hungerbuehler K (2010) Life cycle assessment of fine chemical production: a case study of pharmaceutical synthesis. Int J Life Cycle Assess 15(3):294–303

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wimmer W, Mo Lee K, Quella F, Polak J (2010) ECODESIGN—the competitive advantage. Springer, London

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Wimmer W, Züst R, Lee K-M (2004) Ecodesign implementation. Springer, London

    Book  Google Scholar 

Download references


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.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alberto Navajas.

Additional information

Responsible editor: Roland Hischier

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.


(DOCX 37 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

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).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


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