Life Cycle Assessment of Additives: Methodology and Data

  • Ester van der VoetEmail author
  • Lauran van Oers
  • Tomas Rydberg
  • Jenny Westerdahl
  • Henrik Fred Larsen
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 23)


Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a useful tool to assess impacts of cradle-to-grave chains of products/services. In the Riskcycle framework, the focus is on additives. Additives are usually minor constituents of products, but depending on their specific properties they can be important in the total scope of impacts of such products. In the LCA literature, additives are hardly visible. Most case studies of products containing additives do not mention them. The reasons for this are unclear, but are at least partly due to the fact that information on additives is not included in standard LCA databases. This is true for both life cycle inventory (LCI) and life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) databases. Therefore, it is difficult to conclude whether or not additives indeed are important contributors to environmental impacts over the life cycle.

In the Riskcycle project, we have addressed these knowledge gaps for two categories of materials: plastics and paper (printed matter). Case studies have been conducted for products containing those materials (Larsen, 2012, Case study on printed matter, Hdb Env Chem; van Oers and van der Voet, 2012, LCA case study cushion vinyl floor covering and DEHP, Hdb Env Chem). A coherent attempt has been made to derive LCIA factors for toxicity for a large number of plastics- and paper-related additives (Åström et al., 2012, Are chemicals in products good or bad for the society? – the economic perspective, Hdb Env Chem. doi: 10.1007/698_2012_184). In this chapter, we summarize and generalize these findings and try to establish a coherent framework for LCA studies of products containing additives. In this framework, we distinguish three relevant levels that have to be part of such LCA studies: the product level, the material level and the additive level. We also establish the relation of LCA toxicity assessments with risk-based approaches.


Additives Life Cycle Assessment LCI data LCIA data Plastics Paper 


  1. 1.
    van Oers L, van der Voet E (2012) LCA case study cushion vinyl floor covering and DEHP. Hdb Env Chem (this volume)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Larsen HF (2012) Case study on printed matter. Hdb Env Chem (this volume)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    ISO 14040 (2006) Environmental management – Life cycle assessment – Principles and framework. International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), GeneveGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    van Oers L, van der Voet E, Grundmann V (2012) Additives in the plastics industry. In: Bilitewski B, Darbra RM, Barceló D (eds) Global risk-based management of chemical additives I – production, usage and environmental occurrence. Hdb Environ Chem 18:133–150, Springer, HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Åström S, Lindblad M, Westerdahl J, Rydberg T (2012) Are chemicals in products good or bad for the society? - The economic perspective. Hdb Env Chem. doi: 10.1007/698_2012_184
  6. 6.
    Ross S, Evans D (2003) The environmental effect of reusing and recycling a plastic-based packaging system. J Cleaner Prod 11(5):561–571CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Wollny V, Dehoust G, Fritsche UR, Weinem P (2001) Comparison of plastic packaging waste management options: feedstock recycling versus energy recovery in Germany. J Ind Ecol 5(3):49–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Arena U, Mastellone M, Perugini F (2003) Life cycle assessment of a plastic packaging recycling system. Int J Life Cycle Assess 8(2):92–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Arvanitoyannis IS, Bosnea LA (2001) Recycling of polymeric materials used for food packaging: current status and perspectives. Food Rev Int 17(3):291–346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Madival S, Auras R, Singh SP, Narayan R (2009) Assessment of the environmental profile of PLA, PET and PS clamshell containers using LCA methodology. J Cleaner Prod 17(13):1183–1194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Bovea MD, Gallardo A (2006) The influence of impact assessment methods on materials selection for eco-design. Mater Des 27(3):209–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Eggels PG, Ansems AMM, van der Ven BL (2001) Eco-efficiency of recovery scenarios of plastic packaging. R 2000/119. 2001. Apeldoorn, TNO MEPGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Vercalsteren A, Spirinckx C, Geerken T (2010) Life cycle assessment and eco-efficiency analysis of drinking cups used at public events. Int J Life Cycle Assess 15(2):221–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Garrido N, Alvarez del Castillo M (2007) Environmental evaluation of single-use and reusable cups. Int J Life Cycle Assess 12(4):252–256Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Le Borgne R, Feillard P (2001) End-of-life of a polypropylene bumper skin. Int J Life Cycle Assess 6(3):167–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Duval D, MacLean HL (2007) The role of product information in automotive plastics recycling: a financial and life cycle assessment. J Cleaner Prod 15(11–12):1158–1168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Günther A, Langowski HC (1997) Life cycle assessment study on resilient floor coverings. Int J Life Cycle Assess 2(2):73–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Potting J, Blok K (1995) Life-cycle assessment of four types of floor covering. J Cleaner Prod 3(4):201–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Asif M, Muneer T, Kubie J (2005) Sustainability analysis of window frames. Build Serv Eng Res Technol 26(1):71–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Tiberto F, Nicoleta AS, Marco T (2012). Recycled paper-paperboard for food contact materials: contaminants suspected, migration models and healthy concerns. In: Beiträge zu Abfallwirtschaft/Altlasten. Schriftenreihe des Institutes für Abfallwirtschaft und Altlasten. Technische Universität Dresden. Band 87 Proceedings RISKCYCLE Conference: risk-based management of chemicals and products in a circular economy at a global scale. 8–9 May 2012, Dresden, pp 69–73Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Pfaff K (2012) Re-use of recycled materials in food contact applications in the perspective of consumer protection. Platform presentation (overheads) at the RiskCycle Conference: risk-based management of chemicals and products in a circular economy at a global scale. 8–9 May 2012, Dresden, Germany (
  22. 22.
    Larsen HF, Hansen MS, Hauschild M (2006) Ecolabelling of printed matter. Part II: life cycle assessment of model sheet fed offset printed matter. Working Report No. 24. Danish Ministry of the Environment, Environmental Protection Agency, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Pihkola H, Nors M, Kujanpää, Helin T, Kariniemi M, Pajula T, Dahlbo H, Koskela S (2010) Carbon footprint and environmental impacts of print products from cradle to grave. Results from the LEADER project (Part 1). Espoo 2010. Vtt Tiedotteita – Research Notes 2560Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Larsen HF, Hansen MS, Hauschild M (2009) Life-cycle assessment of offset printed matter with EDIP97 – how important are emissions of chemicals? J Cleaner Prod 17:115–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Rydberg T, Westerdahl J, Hallberg E, Öman A, Andersson PL, Haglund P, Holmgren T, Fuhrman F, Molander S, Tivander J (2011) Emissions of additives from plastics in the societal material stock – a case study for Sweden. In: Bilitewski B, Darbra RM, Barceló D (eds) The handbook of environmental chemistry – Global risk-based management of chemical additives I: production, usage and environmental occurrence, pp 1–12. DOI:  10.1007/698_2011_107
  26. 26.
    Tukker A, Kleijn R, van Oers L, Smeets E (1996) A PVC substance flow analysis for Sweden. Part II: mass flows and emissions by PVC chain section. TNO report STB/96/48-II, TNO, Apeldoorn, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Pacyna JM (2009) SOCOPSE Source control of priority substances in Europe: material flow analysis for selected priority substancesGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Andersen LK, Nikolajsen MH (2003) Life cycle assessment of chemicals at the Brdr. Hartmann A/S. Thesis elaborated at the Danish engineering education at the Technical University of Denmark. Supervisor: Michael Hauschild. Report No. IPL-048-03. DTU, Lyngby, Denmark, 2003Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Huijbregts M, Hauschild M, Jolliet O, Margni M, McKone T, Rosenbaum RK, van de Meent D (2010) USEtox™ User manual.
  30. 30.
    Andersson H, Westerdahl J, Rahmberg M, Rydberg T (2011) Ecotoxicological impacts of emissions of additives in the societal stock of plastic products assessed using QSAR based interim USEtox™ characterisation factors. ManuscriptGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Rahmberg M, Andersson H, Westerdahl J, Rydberg T, Andersson PL (2012) Towards QSAR based USEtox™ characterisation factors for as-sessing ecotoxicological impacts of emissions from plastic additives. Extended abstract, RISKCYCLE conference, Dresden, May 2012Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Huijbregts M, Margni M, van de Meent D, Jolliet O, Rosenbaum RK, McKone T, Hauschild M (2010) USEtox™ Chemical-specific database: organics.
  33. 33.
    OECD (2012) Introduction to emission scenario documentsGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    COHIBA (2012) Control of hazardous substances in the Baltic Sea region (COHIBA).
  35. 35.
    Holmgren T, Persson L, Olofsson U, Andersson P, Haglund P (2010) Predictive emission model for organic compounds added to materials in consumer goods. Extended abstract, SETAC Milan 2011Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Westerdahl J, Rydberg T, Molander S, Tivander J, Fuhrman F, Andersson PL, Haglund P Holmgren T (2010) Emissions of chemicals from the economy wide stock of plastic material – a first model iteration for Sweden. Extended abstract, SETAC Milan 2011Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Ecoinvent (2011) Ecoinvent database version 2.0.
  38. 38.
    Lindeboom R (2009) An inventory and assessment of options for reducing emissions: DEHPGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Jönsson, Å., A. M. Tillman, and T. Svensson (1997) Life cycle assessment of flooring materials: Case study. Building and Environment vol. 32, no. 3, p. 245–255Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ester van der Voet
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lauran van Oers
    • 1
  • Tomas Rydberg
    • 2
  • Jenny Westerdahl
    • 2
  • Henrik Fred Larsen
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of ScienceLeiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.IVLSwedish Environmental Research Institute LTDStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Danish Ministry of TransportHedehuseneDenmark

Personalised recommendations